By Emily Squance, Blogger
After the coronavirus canceled his summer internship, New York native Conner Branch was left bored at home where he stumbled upon vintage t-shirts his father designed in 1995. That moment sparked an idea for the Ohio University senior to put his own modern twist on his father’s former company.
The origin of the brand begins with Conner’s dad, Daniel Branch, who started as a professional photographer with an interest in trade shows. He often sold his photography at those trade shows but was looking to sell something more. Labradors had always been the family dog he grew up with; therefore, he decided to turn something that brought him endless joy and love into a business.
Daniel used the image and memories associated with his Labrador to inspire his clothing apparel , and thus The Lab Company was born. For Daniel, many of his fond memories included his very own Labs which inspired his slogan, “The Breed Which Carries A Memory For A Lifetime.” He continued to keep up with the business and expand its influence until 2001 when he decided to put it on pause.
Conner grew up with the same sentimental feeling toward Labs considering he had three; Tobi, Bo and Nina. Now, he wants to use The Lab Company to give customers the chance to experience the deep connection he and his family have had throughout the years with their own dogs.
“Labs are the perfect family dog. The brand is about the connection between the lab owner and the dog itself,” Conner says.
The Lab Company incorporates the idea that an image can bring back the same familiar feelings and memories of being home. Although Conner is not at home with his family and beloved Nina, he has lots of support from the students at OU to promote his business and spread the joy and happiness his brand offers. He frequently uses his roommates and friends to model for the brand on the company Instagram.
“I want to keep it local and with people that actually want to do it with me, not just hire outside people,” Conner says.
Conner plans to evolve the brand into something more than just a dog embroidered on a shirt. Eventually, he would like to tie individual products to the stories of individual dogs, like his own. In other words, he hopes to incorporate specific dogs and the special connections they bring to different families. He especially wants college students to have a piece of home with them at all times.
“We’re hoping people wear a Lab Co. shirt and think, oh that’s my dog,” he says.
Although he and his dad aren’t physically together, Daniel continues to help him from Buffalo, New York, by contributing to the management of the company’s website. Since 1995, much has changed in the world of sales, which makes the selling and promoting processes easier and more efficient for small businesses like Conner’s. From attending trade shows to social media marketing, Daniel is mind blown at how much easier it is to get the word out about the business. Conner hopes to continue growing the business, but for right now, he is more focused on the bond it has created for him and his dad.
“The brand is about my dad and I right now. He has always been a big advocate of owning your own business because he owns a photography company. Therefore working with him and having something we can bond and connect over has been really cool,” Conner says.
With the brand, Conner is able to showcase his love for Labs within the product and he anticipates his customers will be able to do the same with their own dogs. Right now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, he isn’t able to do any in-person events but relies on his friends within the OU community to spread the word about his business.
P.S. Stay updated on The Lab. Company’s Instagram for news about their brand new beanie drop coming soon!