Online business expands to new brick-and-mortar location in Fort Thomas

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Relavette Williams decided to pursue a lifelong dream a little over a year ago. She wanted to be her own boss, own her own business.

Five of her six children are adults now, and her youngest is 11. She was also grandma to three grandbabies. At the time, she was working full time as a home healthcare worker.

“I was working a regular job, but this had always been my dream. One day my fiancé and I were just talking, and I said, ‘Let’s go for it.’”

And, go for it, she did. Her fiancé, Anthony DuMas, is an artist, and the couple came up with a plan to design and sell printed t-shirts and other clothing with his custom designs. They started on Etsy, but as the business grew, they wanted to branch out and looked for a brick-and-mortar location.

Growing the business

They searched for a place on Facebook Marketplace and found one – a storefront at 1029 South Fort Thomas Ave. that fit their needs perfectly. They moved in last fall but held the grand opening and ribbon cutting for their business, Urban Designs Midwest, at the end of March.

Williams said their families have been key. Their support gave her the confidence to go after her dream.

“I’m very very happy, especially with the support of his family and my family. And, especially, the kids. My brothers and sisters, my mom. They’ve all been so very supportive.”

Still, it’s been a shoestring operation from the start. The couple began working out of their home and financing everything themselves.

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“We have support from our families, but as far as getting loans or things like that, we did this ourselves from paycheck to paycheck,” Williams said.

As her business ramps up, she has been able to reduce her hours but still works outside of the business an average of 30 hours a week.

“It was hard in the beginning but once we got going…Well, I love it. I wouldn’t change anything,” she said.

Custom-designed t-shirts and more

Urban Designs Midwest offers custom-designed clothing from t-shirts to socks, hats, gloves, almost any type of clothing. They have a few racks in the store featuring some of Dumas’ work, but much of their business involves custom designs.

“We have some things here people can choose from, and if they see something and it’s not in their size, we can get that for them…but [DuMas] can do any type of design. You have something in your head, and you describe it to him, he can put it together for you.”

The company does individual and small orders and designs t-shirts and other items for large groups. They do both screen printing and vinyl sublimation (a process that embeds ink into polyester fabric).

“We’ve done bridal shower shirts before, girls’ trips…Right now we are working on 51 shirts for a customer who wants them for his construction business.”

For more on, see the Urban Designs Midwest website or stop by the store at 1029 S. Fort Thomas Ave.

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