Logan and Christie Wallace moved to San Francisco in 2004 to pursue new career opportunities, but what they found was a reason to return to Cincinnati. When they first settled in California, Christie took a job at a consignment clothing store. “It was one of those things that, when I started working there, I just knew that was what I wanted to do,” says Christie, a 2000 graduate. “I worked there for about six months, and decided I wanted to move back to Cincinnati and open up a shop of my own.”
Soon she started researching possible locations and shopping for inventory, which she shipped back to her family in the Queen City. She also began designing copper clothing racks to display her wares. She and Logan moved back to Cincinnati and opened The Mustard Seed Boutique in Clifton. “Once I decided what I was going to do, I was just all for it,” she says. “I didn’t look back, and it was just like, ‘Boom, boom, boom,’ and it was very fast.”
Since then, the boutique, which carries everything from new designer jeans and T-shirts to vintage Chanel, was named “Best Non-chain Clothing Store” by CityBeat newspaper and “Best Consignment Store” by Cincinnati Magazine. “People think Cincinnati isn’t this fashion- conscious city, but you come into my store, and customers are like, ‘Are these people from out of town?’ ” she says. “These are all local people who bring things in. It’s great.”
Meanwhile, Logan, who worked at a wine merchant in San Francisco, took a job as a wine rep for a little more than a year until he decided to devote more time to a new venture, Alternative Motive. “After coming home from work everyday frustrated and unfulfilled, I decided to start a company that was based on art, clothing and philanthropy,” says Logan, a 2003 graduate. “I want to change the world a bit with T-shirts and apparel.”
Furthermore, Logan donates 5 percent of all T-shirt sales to a designated charity. After a year, Logan has seen positive results, with sales for the first half of this year more than double from last year. Logan sells his shirts online at www.alternativemotive.com, at The Mustard Seed Boutique, Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center and small stores around the city.
The couple’s business savvy not only netted profits but also a nod from Cincinnati Bell as well. The telephone company cast them in a TV commercial. “They loved the fact that we both had our own businesses, and we were from different sides of the city and having met in the middle at Xavier,” Logan says.