State Pride is Big Business for Sota Clothing Company
When the Minnesota State Fair kicks off later this week, Sota Clothing Company will be a popular stop for many at the fair.
The fast growing company, formerly headquartered in Golden Valley, sells Minnesota-themed clothing and accessories.
“Hats are definitely one of our more popular items,” says company founder and graphic designer Spencer Johnson.
The 32-year-old Johnson found a way to turn state pride into a top seller with his outdoors-inspired shirts, hats, and accessories that range from camping mugs to water bottles.
Sota Clothing Company Takes Root in College
The roots of Sota Clothing Company stem from Johnson’s college project in 2011 when he was a graphic design major at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
“We had to do a branding project for basically a made up business,” says Johnson.
Johnson could’ve never imagined that project with the original Sota script logo he created, would become the basis for Sota Clothing Company.
“I wanted to design something that reflected my design style, but also reflected Minnesota in the way I saw it,” says Johnson.
Turns out his design aesthetic appeals to others, too.
“I think it’s hometown, it’s Minnesota, it’s Northwoods,” says customer Patt Sizer of Dayton. “It’s everything that I like, that represents our state.”
Company Grows Up in Golden Valley
From its early days, the company got a start with sales online and with pop-up locations, all while Johnson ran the business out of the attic of his home.
Eventually Johnson moved the business to a larger location in Golden Valley, which helped the company expand into more Minnesota store locations.
“Golden Valley was definitely our big stepping stone because it allowed us to have the most space, so it really allowed us to grow a lot more,” says Johnson.
New Store, New Location
This month, Sota Clothing Company made another move with the opening of its first store.
The St. Louis Park store and new company headquarters is located in the historic Walker Building, the oldest commercial building in St. Louis Park.
With a store of its own, Sota Clothing Company is able to connect with customers in a new way, and Spencer Johnson is pleased with where his company stands.
“If this goes well, we’ll see, maybe [we’ll open] one more store, but right now, I think we’re pretty good with where we’re at,” says Johnson.