What happens when two childhood friends put their heads together and develop a clothing line aimed at athletes and artists, guys and gals, and just about anyone in between? Johnny Fly Clothing Co. is born. Huntersville resident John Freeman and his buddy Brandon Hinson of Mooresville launched the Cornelius-based clothing line in March, and it’s been a wild ride for the two entrepreneurs every day since. With their new venture, Freeman designs the clothing, looking for simple but iconic images—think the battery hazard light on a car dashboard or a stylized pair of headphones—that speak to people. Freeman also makes sure the artistic images go on fabrics that are both eye-catching and comfortable. “I’m so anal when it comes to the material,” says Freeman. “It has to be high quality and soft to the touch. When you rub your hand over the artwork you should barely feel it there.” The two friends both come into this new partnership with plenty of business experience. Freeman manages the family-owned Freeman’s Car Stereo in Charlotte, and Hinson has worked extensively in the motorsports and entertainment industries. Both say their individual talents complement each other. Johnny Fly Clothing Company—which sells T-shirts, hooded jackets and hats—made a big splash at the Las Vegas Magic Fashion Show in February, considered one of the most important demo events in the apparel industry. “Magic was an eye opening experience for us,” says Hinson. “Everyone loved the name and loved the concept. Visiting the show gave us some reassurance that we’re on to something really cool.” The company launched its website in March, and Freeman says they’re generating buzz and gaining customers through Twitter and Facebook. “Social media has definitely impacted our business. The company completely went viral.” Both Freeman and Hinson have big expectations for their clothing line, and hope to roll out new products and expand into other markets in the near future. “We’d love to see our line in a national chain like Urban Outfitters, but don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves,” says Freeman.
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