Anderson University alumnus Graham Brown has always been passionate about where he came from. So passionate, in fact, he centered a business on the idea of people being proud of where they came from. Brown’s business, United State of Indiana, is a company that celebrates Hoosiers by selling T-shirts with an iconic image of the state.
Everyone wants to be connected, and in a world where those connections seem difficult to make, Brown believes he has found a solution.
“I think we’re all wondering what commonalities can connect us to the people around us, and the underlying theme of United State of Indiana is that this place we live in — Indiana — is the perfect answer to that question,” said Brown. “We all share it. We all call it home. The most positive outcome of someone purchasing a United State of Indiana shirt is when that piece of clothing allows them to connect and form relationships because of this shared connection to the state.”
Brown designed an image in which the American flag appears and the silhouette of Indiana replaces the field of 50 stars. The goal for this image is to inspire people to think about the state of Indiana and how that unites everyone that lives here. By word of mouth and social media, Brown has had the opportunity to market his brand, not only to the state of Indiana but worldwide.
“The success that Graham has found is simply amazing,” said fellow AU alum Caleb Fiechter. “Graham is a perfect example that when someone works hard and truly believes in their cause, success is possible.”
Brown believes AU was instrumental in the success of his business. While at AU Brown ran the highly popular pancake house, The Flop. “I had the unbelievable opportunity to own a pancake restaurant while I was a student at AU, and more than anything, that experience showed that the most important part of being a young entrepreneur is starting,” said Brown. “Start something. If an idea feels right, I’ve learned to just start running with it. Some ideas pan out and some do not, but my experiences as a student and the encouragement of my professors have instilled in me the idea that regardless of your direction, the first step is the most important.”
As a young entrepreneur, Brown has faced many challenges with starting his business. “While I was at AU, I was surrounded by a lot of business students who really had a mind for paying attention to every detail, keeping thorough records and understanding the financial implications of every business decision. That’s just not me,” said Brown. “I like to dream up an idea and jump into it headfirst. The hardest part for me has been realizing that although those moments of spontaneous creativity may always be the times when my most successful ideas emerge, I have to learn to do the dozens of laborious, detail-oriented tasks to keep that success sustainable and growing.”
Although Brown insists that he cannot deny all the generous help he has received with the startup of his company, Brown handles a large part of the production himself. Brown is responsible for the online ordering, maintaining the website, and shipping the shirts.
Brown’s love for his home state of Indiana is a passion that, through hard work, dedication, and communication with others, he has cultivated into a successful business. His cause is growing more momentum each day. “I hope that in the future, United State of Indiana becomes something much larger than an apparel company and produces a wide range of products that let people embrace impact and take pride in where we live,” said Brown.
— Kimberly Werline is a junior from Anderson, Ind., majoring in communication arts. Werline is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.