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Turning adversity into adventure: This clothing company celebrates its Illinois roots, connection to family

Turning adversity into adventure: This clothing company celebrates its Illinois roots, connection to family


Turning adversity into adventure: This clothing company celebrates its Illinois roots, connection to family

Peoria, Illinois, business owner De Ingles enjoyed a childhood surrounded by family, campfires and the “simple pleasures of life” while growing up in rural Germantown Hills.It was that life that would inspire the creation of a clothing and merchandise brand, Wild Routed Mercantile.De Ingles’ childhood, coupled with her husband, John’s, job loss in 2019 and a subsequent family tour of the country’s national parks, birthed the ideals and themes of Wild Routed Mercantile, the Ingleses’ nature- and family-centered business.  Wild Routed Mercantile sells stickers, T-shirts, sweatshirts and bandanas, all designed by De Ingles, a graphic designer by trade. The products the duo create can be bought at their website or in person at Bush Baby and Urban Artifacts. They also sell their products Wednesdays from 4-7 p.m. at Keller Station Market and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon at the Peoria Riverfront Market.’This is my full-time job’: How Twitch became the go-to platform for creators to make moneyWhere to live: Peoria is the most affordable mid-sized city in the U.S., according to this surveyDe and John Ingles say they’re not just making products to make products. Rather, their mission is to make products that mean something to people.  “We’re asking a lot of our users, ‘Is this something you want?’ Because we don’t want to just put products into the world. The world has enough products,” De Ingles said.  The couple takes pride in the fact that all their products are made in the United States. Their stickers get made in Colorado, and their bandanas are done by a seamstress in the Quad Cities. Their aim is to expand their product line with other U.S.-made products. They’re exploring plans to make trucker hats, and John Ingles has turned the family garage into a woodworking studio where they hope to do wood and leather branding.Boosting your brand: How to stay in front of your customers with newslettersWild Routed: From adversity to adventureThe merchandise Wild Routed sells features images inspired by De Ingles’ childhood in Germantown Hills. An owl is often depicted throughout her designs, a symbol she drew in honor of her grandfather, a retiree from Caterpillar and “man of few words” she said taught her and her family “more than he realized” with his stories. “We tried to tribute to him and all grandparents who share stories with us that make us whole,” De Ingles said. “And to encourage people to share those stories and write the stories down before those people are gone.”It is possible the business might have never come to be had ill fortune not befallen the family in 2019, when John Ingles lost his job of 31 years at Multi-Ad Services in Peoria. Build your skills: These simple sales tips can make even an introvert a sales superstarWith very little plan in mind, the Ingles family spent the five weeks after John Ingle’s job loss visiting 17 national parks, which served as further inspiration for many of the nature scenes depicted in De Ingles’ designs. The company’s slogan, “Planted in community, with wings to wander,” is a call back to the family’s central Illinois roots and their willingness to explore the nation.  “When we got back home, we thought that was a way to make something that really wasn’t great, amazing,” De Ingles said. “To remember everything, I drew images of what we experienced. All the graphics you see in our store are mostly from that trip.” Wild Routed Mercantile donates 10% of its proceeds to national parks. 

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