With time to spare between graduating from college and starting a full-time job, Nick Yoder decided to kick up his feet and spend a lot of time catching up on sports. But the novelty quickly wore off and boredom set in.
“I got sick and tired of watching 'SportsCenter' all day, so I started reading a lot of fashion blogs,” said the 25-year-old, who graduated with a degree in marketing.
The more he read, the more he learned about several small, independent apparel brands based in the South, whose clothes epitomized and celebrated the Southern lifestyle. But he noticed there seemed to be fewer retailers geared towards a Midwestern experience. So he got to work creating his own company: Flyover Press.
“I saw all these great things from Southern brands that were really cool, but didn’t necessarily resonate with me,” Yoder said. “I don’t know anything about growing up in a cotton field.”
What he did know about was growing up Midwest, where a lake was never more than a few miles away, where a pick-up game of basketball could last the afternoon and where big cities still feel like small towns. Yoder decided the Midwest needed a brand of its own to show what was so great about living in a flyover state.
“When I went to college, that’s when I really started realizing how much I loved being from the Midwest and how much it was really something I was proud of,” said Yoder, who grew up near South Bend, Ind., along the Michigan border. “I really wanted to make things to show people that pride.”
Indiana Nights: Inspired by a lyric in Tom Petty's song, "Mary Jane's Last Dance." "But she grew up tall and she grew up right, with them Indiana boys on an Indiana night."
HOMES., an acronym Yoder's teachers taught in grade school to help students remember the Great Lakes
"Midwest, the land I love best"
Last spring, Yoder launched his company with a line of prints, t-shirts and koozies, all made in the U.S. and designed to give Midwesterners a way to show their pride.
“It’s something we have a hard time showing,” said the Butler University graduate. “I think we’re all brought up to be very humble and we don’t necessarily brag about ourselves.”
Thanks to Yoder, Midwesterners now have a classy way to show off.
Stay tuned as Yoder rolls out new prints, sweatshirts and baseball caps in the coming months, including one of the designs below! Vote for the print you'd like to see Yoder create next. When you do, you’ll be entered into Modern Midwest's giveaway to win your choice of a print or t-shirt from the Michigan company. You can vote once a day.