WICHITA — Dwight D. Eisenhower is the inspiration for another business, and we’re not talking about Wichita’s airport.
Eisenhopper is a new lifestyle brand that Wichitan Troy R. Wells recently started to sell apparel and, eventually, other items that he designs or creates logos or sayings for.
“There’s a lot of other brands out there I kind of appreciate and like, but none of them really speak to me,” Wells says. “I want to do something that kind of speaks to where I’m from.”
And that’s Kansas. Wells, who was even born on Kansas Day, is “happy and prideful” to be from here and wants to bring that flavor to his designs.
Another one-time Kansan, actor Dennis Hopper, inspired the rest of the Eisenhopper name.
Wells says other brands have a more East Coast or West Coast angle.
He prefers Kansas-inspired ideas, such as a “Get the Hell Out of Dodge” T-shirt because it “is just colloquial speech.”
“The other thing is, too, people always want to pigeonhole Kansas,” Wells says.
Think Dorothy or tornado jokes.
For now, Wells has only a couple of men’s T-shirts on his website but he says he hopes to grow the company.
“I would hope to grow it into other apparel.”
He wants to stick to men’s apparel.
“I don’t know a thing about women’s wear,” Wells says. “Women’s wear is just so saturated anyway.”
For now, Wells is keeping his day job as a freelance graphic designer and writer, but eventually he’d like Eisenhopper to be his full-time job, and he’d like to have a storefront, too.
“It’s kind of a passion project right now.”
Wells says he’d like to one day manufacture his products, which are 100 percent American made, in the Midwest or – even better – Kansas.
“There are creative people here,” he says.
Wells says he’s such a Kansan, “I don’t even know if I’m allowed to leave.”
He adds, “I wouldn’t want to, to be perfectly honest.”