Every year, California swallows thousands of newbies alive. The dreamers imagine they'll become the next big star after getting off the Greyhound in North Hollywood, not realizing their destiny as a waiter is just months away. Yet a Newport Beach-based clothing company found a way to capitalize on the eternal romance of the state, no matter how unintentional.
"CA Limited actually began so I could fulfill another dream," says Brandon Sowers, its young, ambitious owner. "I run a tech company called Blabber. It's a new way to experience the web with your friends. But we needed more funding. So in 2013, we began by building a Facebook page called 'We Love California' to draw in an audience."
CA Limited now has hundreds of thousands of followers, many of whom idealize California from states or countries far away. "People want to come here to start over or be an actress or a musician," Sowers says.
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But Sowers and his business partner and wife, Elaina, don't represent the glamour that many of their followers believe they'll find in California. They run the business entirely out of their home. Their roommate is a graphic designer who helps Elaina craft typography from a home screen printer.
The company has four lines: Camp, Coastal, Concrete and Cosmo. Each shirt plays with a classic symbol, from a take on the long-gone grizzly bear to a psychedelic poppy to an In-N-Out inspired design. Everything is available on the CA Limited website (calimited.com), as well as at Love and Whiskey, Toes On the Nose, and Balboa Surf and Sport.
Ultimately, the Sowerses hope to support indie musicians. "We can give them apparel for out on the road," Brandon says, "or use our huge network to raise money for their EP."