Courtney Knies and Josh Premuda, both of Jasper, launched Always Indiana last mont featuring their 28 original T-shirt designs. In addition to the new ways for residents to show their pride, 50 percent of the proceeds go to local nonprofit organizations.
The collectible Ts feature iconic landmarks such as Huntingburg’s Old Town Hall and the Dubois County Courthouse as well as fun designs centered around Jasper’s German heritage. There are even even some nostalgic shirts commemorating the area’s old high schools.
Josh, 36, is the owner of Smalley Coffee in Jasper but the Findlay, Ohio native is also a creative with a background in marketing. The Ohio University grad was brought to the area for love – his wife Meghan Hochgesang is from Jasper – and was struck by the offerings here in Dubois County and Southern Indiana.
“When I moved here, I was amazed how much Southern Indiana had to offer,” said Josh. “I wanted to find a way to help celebrate the pride we have in our area. My background led me down the path of designing fun shirts.”
Courtney, 28, is a Depauw University grad and serves as the executive director of Mentors for Youth. She is a sixth generation Jasper native who came back home after college to be part of the community she loves.
“This idea has been floating around in my mind for a couple years,” Courtney said. “When a friend of mine and I were at the Louisville music fest, Forecastle, there was a tent full of T-shirts and posters all about Louisville and Kentucky.”
Courtney and her friend were really attracted to the shirts and posters that featured Louisville’s neighborhoods. “We wanted to go find that neighborhood just because of that one drawing,” she said. “The reality is that it is probably a neighborhood like any other but because they were celebrating it, the two of us, who had no connection, wanted to engage with it.”
Then Courtney and Josh met through the local coworking space, Current Blend. Both found commonality in the county and region’s plethora of offerings and a desire to market it.
Josh, commonly found with a notebook for sketching ideas, had already created a few designs.
As the director of a local nonprofit, Courtney has a pretty tight budget for marketing so she has had to do some on the job training to create branding and marketing. Her experience was limited but she did have an innate sense for what makes the area unique and she was able to turn that into some interesting designs.
“We chose T-shirts because those are a great way to show what a person is proud of; people love to wear their heart on their chest,” Josh said.
They launched the site through an online print-on-demand company but as they grow, they plan on printing the designs locally and expanding into more items.
“Down the road I can see kids shirts, sweatshirts, koozies and totes and more,” Josh said.
Since launching, Always Indiana has already shipped shirts outside the area to natives who want to showcase the pride they have in their Indiana home. “I think one of our first orders went to Georgia,” Courtney said.