Ontario teen starts clothing line, now celebrities are wearing his stuff

CBC Kids News • Published 2020-11-18 15:17

Teen hopes to open store one day

Sixteen-year-old Tyrell Harris remembers what it was like to get a DM back from Jason Mitchell, an American actor he contacted to see if he’d wear his clothing brand.

“I was shocked to see that he actually replied, and that he was interested,” Tyrell told CBC Kids News.

And Mitchell isn’t the only one wearing Tyrell’s clothing — TikTok dancers and even a stylish Santa are in on the brand.

Earlier this year, Tyrell, who lives in Shelburne, Ontario, started a clothing brand called OOFII as a second career option if his true passion — basketball — didn’t work out.

OOFII origins

Tyrell said that he and his mom started by mapping out what the brand would look like, including possible names, materials and what type of clothing he’d sell.

Actor Jason Mitchell is one of the big names supporting Tyrell’s brand. He’s best known for playing rapper Eazy-E in the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton. (Image submitted by Tyrell Harris)

They began brainstorming names, and after some Googling, they came across a word that really stood out.

“We were just thinking of names and researching, and we found the word oofy, which means rich and wealthy. It’s an English word that is from the early 19th century,” said Tyrell.

At first, he wasn’t sure about it.

“I was shaky on it at first but it’s a really catchy name. Nike, Gucci, oofy. I wanted something catchy.”

After deciding on OOFII (subbing in an exclamation mark to make it even more unique), Tyrell sourced a supplier for headbands and then used an online company to get OOFII printed on them.

Two weeks after launching the product on social media, he was sold out.

Tyrell credits his community and family for being a big part of OOFII’s success. (Image submitted by Tyrell Harris)

Next, Tyrell started selling headbands, tracksuits, hoodies, water bottles, T-shirts, crop tops, dress hoodies, hatsd, masks, and even pens with the OOFII brand.

With the help of family and community support, he started getting even more attention.

“Through social media, we had a lot of people wanting to share our business,” he said.

That included Fashion Santa, a Toronto-based fashion influencer with a white beard who wanted to support Tyrell after hearing he was a young entrepreneur.

Fashion Santa, a Toronto-based influencer, supports brands by wearing their clothing. He has more than 50,000 followers on Instagram. (Image credit: fashionsanta/Instagram)

Soon after, he received that DM back from actor Jason Mitchell, one of about 15 celebrities Tyrell reached out to directly.

Tyrell said he tried Mitchell because he’s a fan.

“I reached out to him, and he liked everything,” he said. “We went on the phone and talked a lot. He wanted to support me, so he posted a photo and video on social media.”

Next steps

After all his success in the last year, Tyrell says his next move is to open his own OOFII store and get the biggest celebrities in the game on board.

“I’d love to get Drake. It would mean a lot because we’re both from Canada,” he said.

Unsurprisingly, he said that OOFII is no longer the second option next to basketball — now it’s  No. 1.

But he still plays on his high school basketball team.

Tyrell’s tips for other young entrepreneurs?

“Just stay focused, keep going, don’t stop and be motivated,” he said. “Write down everything, have a social media, plan everything out and be organized.”

TOP IMAGE CREDIT: (Submitted by Tyrell Harris)

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