Clothing company finds inspiration in Cleveland

Cleveland Swag Co., Ohio fashion

Local couple Rory and Brenda Haehn had a hard time finding Cleveland-themed clothing they liked, so they decided to design their own - and Cleveland Swag Co. was created. The duo designs shirts, hats and more inspired by the Cleveland Browns, Indians, Cavs and the city in general. Brenda was kind enough to answer some questions for us about starting an apparel company, entrepreneurship in Cleveland, and finding inspiration - see what she had to say: 

What made you decide to open Cleveland Swag Co.?

Late in the Indians 2016 season, we were getting ready to go to our first game as a family (our kids were four and six at the time). We were looking around for some new gear as we were getting super excited to watch them go deep in the playoffs (and hoping for the World Series). I was having a hard time finding something I thought was worth the money. It was all the same stuff, and  there weren’t many options I liked for women.

My husband bluntly told me, “Well, why don’t you just design something yourself?” I responded, “Well, maybe I WILL!” He looked at me again and said, “Seriously... why don’t we make our own?” And that’s how it all started.

I have a BFA in graphic design and started my own company in 2010 after the birth of my first child (Harper). My husband is also an entrepreneur as well with his own business. We work together coming up with the concepts and I execute the designs. We are diehard Cleveland sports fans and love everything Cleveland.

What advice would you give someone starting a fashion- or apparel-related business in Cleveland?

Don’t be afraid, and be patient. There will be competition all around you... but if you are passionate about what you do, it will come through in your work. Believe in yourself.

Patience... that’s the hard part. Getting your brand out there does not happen overnight. Build a presence on social media, get out there and do events... and most of all – embrace the grind. The hard work will pay off if you don’t give up.

Do you have a favorite design you’ve created, or one with a special significance?

I love the letterman fleece jackets with embroidery and patches. Some fan favorites have been the “I Heart CLE” series as well as our Browns gear. (Believe it or not... they are big sellers!)

How has living in Cleveland inspired you?

Our whole company is based off of how amazing and lucky we are to be living in Cleveland. It’s fun to create things you are passionate about. We’re lucky to live in a city that so many people feel such a deep pride for and are proud to represent.

Where else do you draw inspiration?

  • Vintage-inspired designs and apparel: fedoras, ivy caps, letterman jackets, distressed artwork, etc.
  • Our three kids – two human (Harper, 7, and Hunter, 5), one four-legged (Wrigley, our black lab)
  • Music (playing as well as going to see local bands/musicians)


Learn more about Cleveland Swag Co. at


Friday, March 9, 2018