Coming off a successful stint in Gordon Square, the edgy Cleveland-based clothing and accessory shop iLTHY has moved to a new location at 15613 Detroit Road in Lakewood.
Founded in 2009 by artist Glen Infante, the popular brand is stretching out, so to speak. The previous shop at 6602 Detroit was 800-square-feet, just a fraction of the roomy 3,600-square-feet in the new space.
"Last year, we were handling online orders, manufacturing, and customer service at our warehouse in North Royalton while retail, management, and design was handled in our Gordon Square space," says iLTHY co-owner Kumar Arora, who joined the operation in 2011. "We were constantly having to shuffle between two locations to get things done. Now we're able to bridge two distinct parts of our business."
Renovations on the new location started in July and included new flooring, plumbing and electrical work. Features include an expansive showroom and large storefront windows to attract the high foot traffic generated courtesy of neighboring hotspots such as Jammy Buggars, Lakewood Public Library's main branch and the Merry Arts Pub and Grille. The shop held its grand opening in October.
"Being right on Detroit in Lakewood provides opportunities for us," says Arora. "We felt that a move to Lakewood better aligned with our long term goals," which include elevating the brand to the national stage.
Machine Gun Kelly and LeBron
The shop's street-smart offerings include items such as the Cyclops Snapback hat, which features an unusual interpretation of a usual local suspect, ladies' swimwear, a host of accessories and prints that blend funk, doughnuts and fine art. High profile fans of iLTHY merch include LeBron James, Joe Haden and Machine Gun Kelly.
That celebrity exposure has contributed to the brand's unprecedented growth, which Arora estimates at 30 percent annually. Other factors he cites include ongoing product development, the buzzing local sports scene and Cleveland's overall renaissance.
"It doesn't look like it's stopping any time soon," says an optimistic Arora of iLTHY's success.
The former Case Weatherhead School of Management student's business acumen does not stop at the threshold of iLTHY (an acronym gleaned from I Love The Hype). He is also the founder of the innovative Rogue Eyewear. Moreover, his website enumerates his litany of eclectic ventures, which range from entertainment management to nanochemicals.
Arora's energetic entrepreneurial style is a perfect fit for iLTHY as well as Northeast Ohio.
"I like to think that all of us can create change or make something to make a name for Cleveland. Cleveland was known for certain things in the past but what's to say we can't be known for fashion or streetwear? Who says that we can't do it? Who says that we don't have the resources?"
"That's kind of my belief."