We all know how clothing stores work. You go in, find your genderâ€™s section and shop within those parameters. Logan Manford, owner of BLÅFISH Clothing, is looking to upend that norm and change things for good with what he calls, â€œthe worldâ€™s first non-gender-specific clothing company.â€
BLÅFISH, which is currently operated online and out of Manfordâ€™s home, offers hats, tank tops, t-shirts and bracelets that are designed for both men and women alike. â€œThe easiest way to describe it is, imagine walking into a clothing store, and, instead of worrying about menâ€™s and womenâ€™s sections, everybody buys the same stuff,â€ Manford explains. â€œThe fit is an in-between fit, basically.â€
Although the clothes are remarkably comfortable and stylishly minimalist in design, itâ€™s the ideology behind the product that makes it truly stand out. â€œOur slogan is all for all,â€ he contends. â€œSo basically, no matter your sex, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, anything â€“ we just believe everyone should have the same opportunity and be treated equal.â€
While Manford is currently in the thrall of success and rapid company growth, the concept of BLÅFISH had an unlikely genesis. He finished his undergraduate career at Bellarmine University before working in construction for several years. He then returned to school and got his MBA from Bellarmine and finished in January of this year.
While on a cruise last year, one of his female friends was lamenting the fact that she didnâ€™t have any clothes that fit her. To Manford, she said there should be a company called Boy Fit that made this kind of product, but he thought she said â€œBlow Fish.â€ Thus, the idea was born and there was no turning back.
Later that year, Bellarmine sponsored a contest called The Search for the Next Big Thing in the style of the television show â€œShark Tank.â€ In just one week, Manford, with the help of his friend Brooke Willoughby, brought the idea of BLÅFISH into reality, and it was a hit at the competition. â€œEverybody loved us, but they said we were too young â€“ and honestly we were just a week old,â€ Manford remembers.
From there, he and his group of volunteers â€“ Manford remains the only employee of the company â€“ circulated different festivals and events promoting and selling the clothing. As BLÅFISH visited several pride festivals, the gay community quickly latched onto the concept. â€œItâ€™s just such a tight-knit community and everybodyâ€™s so supportive,â€ he says. â€œThey just really picked it up and helped us run with it.â€
Now, a little more than a year after the competition at Bellarmine, BLÅFISH is finally on its feet. â€œThis past month, weâ€™ve sold almost more than we did all last year,â€ Manford reveals. While the companyâ€™s overwhelming success certainly is at least partially due to its product and concept, it could also be due to its philanthropy. â€œMy overall view is I want to give back,â€ Manford asserts. â€œMoney is important to me, yeah, but 10 percent of our sales go straight to a charity that we rotate every month. Not profit. Sales.â€
For a start-up company, thatâ€™s a hefty amount to be donating away, but Manford sees it as integral to BLÅFISHâ€™s identity. â€œI want to be able to give at least $50,000 to $60,000 to charity every year,â€ he says, with hopes to increase that number significantly. But that isnâ€™t his only ambition. His two-year plan is to have three locations: one in Louisville, one in Nashville and one in an undetermined location. And beyond that, â€œthe five year plan is national.â€
His first location is slated to be up and running by the end of the year, possibly located in NuLu. From there, he plans to continue his wildfire success. â€œItâ€™s always been my dream to give back to people and to own my own company,â€ Manford contends. And thanks to BLÅFISH and its principles, itâ€™s clear he is indeed living his dream. VT
Follow BLÅFISH on social media @blofishclothing or visit their website blofishclothing.com to order with free shipping.