When someone has a rough childhood like Jonah Feehery’s, most people assume that they won’t even be going to college, much less having their own clothing line.
Feehery has defied the odds and is a college student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and he started Arbol Clothing along with a YouTube channel documenting his entire life.
Feehery’s clothes have started to become a trend around UL Lafayette’s campus, as several students have been spotted wearing his shirts, which have quotes meant to inspire people such as “keep grinding, keep growing.”
Feehery’s goal with his personal clothing line is for his customers to embrace the process and inspire them to keep working their way up.
“I definitely think it’s trending in the right direction,” Feehery said. “I’m trying to be as transparent as possible to build a brand to help people that were at the bottom and working their way to the top.”
Feehery started the clothing line in 2017 and got some T-shirt designs under the name “The Successful Minority” listed on a website called Redbubble, where he currently sells them. He’s working on building up his following to keep the trend moving forward and expand the clothing’s message.
“What I’ve been planning on doing is building the audience before I release the quality of clothing that I want,” Feehery said. “I’ve got commercials in mind built around my childhood that are going to inspire people to grind and grow out of whatever situations they’re in. So right now, I’m just building an audience with YouTube and later release high quality clothing with more meaning behind it.”
Feehery’s first idea for a commercial was to talk about the time in which he worked two part-time jobs while in school and having only a bicycle for transportation on top of having to deal with poor living conditions.
“The first commercial I have in mind was back when I was 16,” Feehery said. “The car I had gotten had just broken down on me, so the idea for the commercial is what I was doing in that time period. The first line of clothing I want to be revolved around a bicycle and always with the slogan ‘keep grinding, keep growing.’ That time period was really hard for me.”
Several customers have also worn his shirts at the UL Lafayette Student Fitness Center. UL Lafayette student Jimmy Quary has purchased some of his shirts and enjoys wearing them at the gym.
“I like things that I can wear to the gym, so it had that going for me,” Quary said. “I also really liked the message that he was putting into his clothing. I really liked his message and the slogans like ‘keep grinding, keep growing’ that encourage you to work and better yourself. I’ve also seen other people at the gym wearing stuff from his clothing line.”
Feehery uses his YouTube channel to share his background, which has inspired him to start the brand and keep it going. He now has over 1,000 subscribers, and he talks about the hardships he went through growing up.
“It’s exactly how I imagined it: to be a snowball,” Feehery said. “Essentially, it’s going to take a decade of it trending for people to start looking at me and saying this man’s successful, but that’s kind of why I’m documenting the whole thing. I don’t know any successful person yet today that’s documented their whole life to show how they made it to the top.”
If Feehery keeps the trend going, Quary thinks it could reach beyond UL Lafayette’s campus.
“I just think that he’s going to really accomplish something some day and make something of himself,” Quary said. “It’s certainly showed me that with the right mindset and the right drive, pretty much anybody can make something of themselves and come back from any situation.”