Flannel clothing line first learning how to sew as a young girl, Jodie Bromberg of Pepper Pike has been known to make things over the years.
But it wasn’t until she had COVID-19 pandemic free time that she decided to let her creative juices flow – resulting in the creation of Rad Olive Clothing, a customized flannel clothing company, in March 2021. Bromberg told the Cleveland Jewish News she thought of creating her own clothing company when she was shopping during the pandemic and would find pieces she liked, but didn’t fully love for some reason.
“I went home and pulled out a sewing machine that a friend gave me four years earlier, but I hadn’t really sewn since eighth grade at Orange Middle School,” said Bromberg, who attends B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike with her husband, Seth. The couple have three kids, Evin, Noah and Jules. “But, like riding a bike, I picked it right back up. I made a shirt, other people loved it and wanted me to make something for them too. So, I just had fun with it and ran with the idea.”
Now, Rad Olive is stock in several stores in the Greater Cleveland area, including Luster at the Van Aken District in Shaker Heights, Little Babet at Eton Chagrin Boulevard in Woodmere, Winds of Change in Chagrin Falls, City Goods in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood, Stone & Sage in Richfield and Made in Cleveland in Cleveland Heights’ Coventry neighborhood. Bromberg said she is also working with some stores “out west” to get Rad Olive stocked, and is developing an exclusive line for a to-be-opened store in New York.
Bromberg said the name Rad Olive came from her husband.
“My two favorite foods are olives and coconuts,” she said. “My husband’s least favorite foods are also olives and coconuts. One time, he was leaving the house while I was making a big salad for lunch. I poured an entire can of olives into it. He asked me later how the salad was, and I, of course, said it was good. He joked the olives looked ‘rad’. I had been wondering what to call my business and Rad Olive just felt right. And people remember it.”
Employing creative reuse for a clothing brand was something that kind of just happened, Bromberg said. Before she customized that first shirt, she wanted to get something she could practice on so she didn’t “mess it up,” she said
“I didn’t even own flannels at the time, so I started recycling those items and getting cool T-shirts to customize them with and it just became a thing,” Bromberg said. “And then the hang tags, I was originally using something from China but I figured why? So now, I use the shirt scraps for the tags. With shirts I can’t use, I make them into bags. I am trying to save as much as I can from going into the landfill.”
Since its inception, Bromberg said she and her friends have been doing all of the thrifting together, and the best. Part is going to thrift stores and filling their carts up to the brim with items to customize.
“We always make a scene because we have these large carts that we can’t even see over the top,” she said. “Truth be told, I walk into a thrift store and buy every flannel clothing they have. I don’t even look at them until I get home, wash them and can take a closer look. There are some I can’t bleach or I don’t like the way it sits, so I donate them back. Everything turns out differently, I don’t even know how something is going to bleach until I do it.”
Bromberg said she almost always loves the custom results and “can’t wait” to show people. Along with her in-person sales, she also takes custom orders through her Instagram,
“I sometimes go into these stores when people don’t know who I am to restock and I love. Hearing people gush about it,” she said. “So many people are just so nice. I didn’t expect this. At first, I thought I was just sewing stuff on flannel. But hearing people say they can’t believe they got a Rad Olive piece as a gift is just an unbelievable feeling.