Business as usual


Students performing in the recent assemblies have sported the Avvo t-shirts during dances. The t-shirts each have personalized designs and are made unique for the individual who buys one.

While some students start clubs, others start businesses. Senior Dylan Cunningham and sophomore Rose Kula-McGough came together and founded Avo, an organization that makes and sells hand-crafted, made to order t-shirts. Avo was generated in early 2016, and its mission is to produce quality clothing with a new and unique style while encouraging young entrepreneurship and philanthropy in the community. The idea of the business started with McGough’s intricate t-shirt designs and Cunningham’s experience with business. The two brought these skills together, and from this Avo and the desire for spreading entrepreneurship began.  

What makes Avo different from other businesses is the creativity and individuality each shirt holds. The t-shirts are made with a combination of fabrics, mainly from Ghana. Due to the different blends of fabric in every shirt, this is what gives each tee its own individual character. No two t-shirts are alike. The designs of the shirts are limitless, ranging from the continent of Africa to simple pocket tees.

Avo creates their t-shirts by taking a plain colored tee and placing a multi-fabric symbol onto the shirt through the process of sewing and ironing. The intricate multi-fabric symbol on the shirt requires the most time. Thin strips of differently colored fabric are cut and sewn onto the symbol cutout that is then sewn and pressed onto the original plain t-shirt. The customers can chose what color t-shirt and what symbol they would like on the shirt, but the arrangement of the different colored fabric that is placed on the symbol is all done at random.

The mission statement of Avo has a focus on a unique style of clothing, but also on young entrepreneurship. Cunningham is apart of the Youth Entrepreneurs Academy, and being apart of this academy requires starting and running your own business. Seeing McGoughs designs gave Cunningham an idea on a business idea that seemed to be able to create a great output. He was able to pursue his entrepreneurship and business skills out in the field of work and create a sustaining organization, while at the same time being able to start and run a business. “Young entrepreneurship is important because it is really the future,” Cunningham said. “Being an entrepreneur gives you a bunch of skills and these skills are important for everybody. If you are able to take these skills and start a business that’s incredible, and if you are able to let others besides yourself profit off of that is even better. Being able to take an idea you started and make it help others is really why I think young entrepreneurship is important.”

Even though McGough handles the creative aspect of the business, she is interested in business and entrepreneurship as well. She has expressed that she wants to continue the business in years to come, but also has the desire to start other businesses. “I have other business ideas as well that I believe will be wildly successful,” McGough said. “The clothing trends will change overtime, but people’s desire for fashion and style that is locally made will always be there and so will we.”

Avo is currently being supported by the Youth Entrepreneurs Academy via the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, and is being assisted by The Youth Philanthropy Initiative to expand their mission. Avo plans to continue running their business in the future, with Cunningham continuing to deal with the business aspects and Gough with the t-shirt manufacturing and creation.