OBC's Innovative Designs is one of many hand-selected vendors at the Vintage Market Days "Bloom" event coming up April 16-18 at the Greene County Fairgrounds & Expo Center. Learn more and get your tickets here.
Back in February 2011, Jen Curtis wanted to find a solution to a problem. She couldn't find the styles of custom clothing she wanted and as a competition cheerleading coach she needed more when it came to her spirit wear.
Now, a decade later, she is the founder and owner of OBC’s Innovative Designs, a business that creates custom clothing and spirit wear for schools and small businesses as well as design items at shows and events.
"I founded OBC’s Innovative Designs because I couldn’t buy what I wanted and decided to figure out how to make it myself," says Curtis. "In 2011, I was literally the only person on Etsy selling custom clothing and signs for cheerleaders. I also signed up to sell at some events and started to sell to local sports organizations. By the fall, I was designing and making custom spiritwear for a cheer gym in Texas and things took off from there."
Spiritwear for cheerleading teams is no longer the main focus of OBC’s Innovative Designs, but it still inspires her designs, she says. Today, she has more vendor events across the region and a bigger variety of styles and sizes, and even some spirited home decor pieces.
"In 2016, I added home decor items to what I offered," she says. "I made new items such as pillows and blankets, and I also repurposed vintage items to give them new life. I personally love mixing new things with vintage in my own home, so it only seemed natural to incorporate that into my business."
When you shop OBC’s Innovative Designs, you’ll find that Curtis carries a variety of items from the traditional to modern and edgy. "I am usually a bit ahead of the trends, especially as an Ohio maker," she says. "'Extra' is my vibe because I tend to be a bit extra in my creative process. It requires extra steps to create a custom product - like mixing three paints together to create a custom finish or pressing multiple pieces of vinyl on a shirt design to make it special."
She says that her requirements for materials tend to be a little extra, too. "Yarn from Europe, high quality felt, nice quality hardwoods, Annie Sloan chalk items, and super soft blankets and clothing are all things I buy to create special items."
The inventory at OBC’s Innovative Designs include custom clothing and home decor. She says the clothing she sells is soft, comfortable, andhigh quality. "I offer original college designs as well as other on trend designs like drink local, coffee, dogs, plants, and holidays," she explains. "My home decor is a mix of original, handmade items vintage, and specialty items that all mix well together. I sell home decor items that I would and do personally use in my own home. I like to create a curated look that is on trend but still has unique and vintage elements."
In 2020, a year unlike any other, Curtis says that she felt the small businesses love. "I appreciated the shoppers who came out to the markets that actually happened," she says. "And I felt fortunate to have loyal customers reach out to me to place customer orders."
However, she says, the restrictions from COVID did make 2020 a difficult year in terms of design and creativity. "I have things I like to do when I want to spark my creativity and get new ideas," says Curtis. "With all of the COVID restrictions, I wasn't able to go out and do the things that made me feel inspired. I’m finally at the point where new ideas are flowing again and it feels very good."
Current best sellers in the OBC Innovative Design’s shop include cozy sweatshirts, soft sherpa blankets, and small home decor accessories. "I expect these items will continue to be popular since people are still gravitating toward comfortable clothing and home renovation projects," she says.
With brighter days just around the corner and the reinstatement of in-person events, OBC’s Innovative Designs will be participating in Vintage Market Days' spring shopping event. "I've been a part of Vintage Market Days since its inaugural event here in 2017."
Curtis says that she enjoys attending Vintage Market Days events because of the shows organizers and their attention to detail in creating a truly special event experience. "Tonya and Kyle really work hard before each event to make sure everything runs smoothly and is organized," she says. "The vendors all work really hard to create exciting spaces for the shoppers. Some customers come and shop for hours, visiting my booth, and then come back a couple of hours later to see if they missed anything the first time. It’s a combination that just creates a positive atmosphere, which is wonderful."
Curtis is particularly excited about the April Vintage Market Days because it’s her first event in 2021. She also says that she enjoys it so much because she’s had time to create a special shopping space and showcase new products.
Vintage Market Days "Bloom" event is coming up April 16-18 at the Greene County Fairgrounds & Expo Center. Three barns will be filled with hand-picked vendors featuring vintage, boho, industrial, modern MCM greatness. Make a day of it with food trucks and vendors, live music, a comfortable sitting area, and free parking. Hours are 10am-4pm Friday and Saturday ($10 admission fee) and 10am-3pm Sunday ($5 admission fee). Children 12 and under free. Purchase your tickets early to get an hour of shopping in before the "buy at the door" ticket line is let in. Learn more and get your tickets here.
Learn more about OBC's Innovative Designs by visiting here.