We had the good fortune of connecting with Ellyse Espinoza and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ellyse, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process behind starting State Line was to create a brand that was inclusive for both men and women with comfort, quality and my love for typography and design. I have always had a love for sports. Growing up my family was big on the Rockets, Astros, Oilers and now Texans. We grew up watching sports and going to games as kids. In 2005, I moved to California to go to design school and my family would send me Rockets tees and Texan tees, but most tees were mens tees and the ladies tees were never my style. After receiving my degree in Graphic Design and working in California for marketing for a few years, I returned home to Houston. Going to sporting events, I still never saw cute, comfy and well designed tees for sports fans in Houston. So I decided to research different styles and tanks and created State Line for sports fans and our awesome Houstonians using my love for graphic design.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Growing up, I always loved art and drawing. One day I actually skipped school to go get a tattoo my senior year of high school. I told my tattoo artist that I didn’t want to go to college and wanted to be a tattoo artist. My tattoo artist actually told me to go to school for graphic design and when I graduated he would give me a job as a tattoo artist. That was my inspiration to go to design school in Los Angeles. I got accepted moved to California with one suitcase and went to study design. I loved typography and thats where my career actually started. I ended up Interning at NBC Universal working in print production and after college got a job at NBC working in International Marketing. After my contracts ended I moved back to Texas. I started State Line as a side hustle and after a year, I was let go from my job in education and continued to work on State Line as a full time business. It was the bet decision to continue to work on my brand and build it to it is today. I have always loved typography so most of my designs are type driven. I use fonts to tell a story and thats what sets my brand apart from others. I think so many brands have something special about them, they are original and known for their own style. It definitely has not been easy. There are so many ups and downs but I have been very blessed to have some amazing supporters. Even now with Covid-19, we aren’t out doing events for the safety of my family, but its been a wild ride. I want the world to know that entrepreneurship isn’t easy and social media tells the picture perfect world of brands, but its not all cupcakes and unicorns. There is a lot you don’t see on social media. I try my best to be transparent and let my followers know that we are people too and usually most brands are people that have a team of one doing the website, marketing, social media, production , shipping, we do it all. I love what I do, and I think if you love what you do and create original work for your clients and followers, you can do this for a living. There is enough room for everyone, you just have to learn and educate yourselves on what to do and what mistakes others have made. Research is key to success!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love Houston, and there is so much to do! I love art so would definitely take them to tour some of our amazing artists and murals around town. With social distancing still in order, I love riding bikes and still being able to social distance. During the week there are many social rides, where you can ride with other riders and if you don’t have a bike, you can rent one downtown to join the rides. That has been a go to for my friends and I lately. We would definitely have to eat at my favorite taco spot, La Esquina tacos in East End and a beach day would be something else on the itinerary.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe credit to so many people! When I started State Line, I was also a new mom and was still working a job in education. I started State Line in 2014 as a side hustle. My mom quit her job as a social worker in order to work for me and help me with my son. Having my mom help me with my son was the biggest help that I could ask for. Without her I would have never been able to go out to events and work and help market my brand off social media. She was and still is a huge help in my brand. I also owe so much to all my amazing supporters on Instagram. When I started State Line in 2014, brands were not being represented as they are now. It was a new social media platform that was just to post pics but wasn’t really for marketing. I had to build my brand from the brand up and I used social media to get help from my audience. I asked what they wanted to see and that helped me create for my audience. My followers and supporters have always been a huge part State Line and I can’t thank them enough! Its been a crazy 6 years of business and we get orders from all around the world and its an amazing feeling to know that people show love and support for my brand.