Cameron Means is the founder of BlaCk OWned, an apparel company based in Cincinnati. The company draws inspiration from the founder’s upbringing in what he calls “The Hood” of Cincinnati and his collegiate experience at a predominantly white university.
According to Means, he started his company because he believed cities across America need black-owned businesses because they bring good energy and positive vibes.
“Our Brand thrives at the intersection of Fashion and BlaCk Excellence. Our Mission is to promote BlaCk Ownership, while challenging societal inequities through our garments and storytelling,” the company said on its website.
BlaCk OWned is located in the heart of Cincinnati’s downtown district on 822 Elm Street. It hopes to spark brilliance in all people, that will result in healthier communities for people of all colors.
The brand has gotten a major boost to expand its reach and also demonstrate to the world that black entrepreneurship is possible. BlaCk OWned has secured a licensing partnership with the University of Cincinnati.
The partnership gives Means and his brand the right to produce unique apparel with the University’s brand for sale to the Cincinnati community. The five-piece collegiate collection includes a varsity jacket, a varsity crew neck sweatshirt, a jogger/short combo, and two graphic T-shirts.
In a statement celebrating the partnership, the University of Cincinnati said selecting Means and his company was intentional to empower local businesses.
“We are very intentional in the companies we grant a license to manufacture and distribute products with the University’s brand, and this is a unique opportunity to work with a local company that produces high-quality apparel with unique designs inspired to connect with the community and celebrate their pride and passion for Cincinnati,” Martin Ludwig, associate vice president for Trademark Licensing at the University of Cincinnati said, according to Black Enterprise.
BlaCk OWned has in the past secured licensing deals with the Cincinnati Bengals, FC Cincinnati, and BET. Last year, he partnered with the Cincinnati Bengals on his “Stripes Don’t Come Easy” apparel line, outfitting the team for the 2022 Super Bowl.
The oldest of two children who grew up in a single-parent household, the Cincinnati native always believed that he was born to do great things and effect change.
Means is not keeping his success all to himself. To this end, he is advising black entrepreneurs who want to expand their businesses to learn to build relationships.
“It’s also important to go to the company you would like to collaborate with a plan. Show them that you are capable of producing a quality project using your resources that will add value to their brand and yours. It could also be beneficial to get a few scaling businesses on the résumé before going for a big brand name. Once you have the contract, always deliver,” said Means.