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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Grad works to craft his way out of office life

Alumnus creates clothing line, hopes to expand business
Peder Cho wears a shirt from his line, Believe in Your Utopia. Photo courtesy of Peder Cho.

Peder Cho didn’t want to picture the rest of his life inside a cubicle.

Using a sewing machine his grandmother gave him, Cho decided to create his own clothes and sell them. What started simply as a hobby to pursue outside office work turned into an expanding small business.

“My brother tells me all the time that if you stay in on a weekend and you’re up until 2 or 3 AM searching something online or doing some craft and all your friends are out, then you have found something that is your ticket out,” Cho said.

Cho experienced months of leaving stores dissatisfied with the options inside. Whether he wanted the sleeves to be red, or a shirt to have a denim pocket in a certain place, he thought he could make it better.

Cho graduated from Marquette in 2014 after studying finance and got a job in downtown Milwaukee. After three years of working, he found that while his job paid the bills, he wasn’t sure he could sustain office life.

In September 2016, Cho began producing his own clothing. He named the company BIYU products, which stands for “Believe In Your Utopia.”

After a while, his friends were interested in his designs.

“They told me I should start selling my clothes, but I didn’t know how that was going to work, because I had no money. I had a job, and all my money was spoken for,” Cho said.

He decided to start by making and selling a single shirt a week. But because he was starting on such a small scale, he needed a unique selling point.

“I’ll make this shirt exclusive, one of a kind, hand-made, where if you buy it, you’re going to own the only shirt like that, ever,” he said.

Cho stands by two principles with everything he makes. His hands must alter the product, whether it is sewing, painting or embroidering something. Secondly, whatever he makes will never be duplicated.

There might be different renditions or versions, but it will never be the exact same colors or stitching. What first limited him eventually attracted people.

It also helped that everything he was making sold immediately. “All of a sudden, it was real. Not only are my friends saying it’s cool, but (other) people are buying this stuff,” he said.

Colin Eschweiler, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, said Cho basing his clothing line in the Milwaukee area was admirable.

“To have a bunch of Marquette graduates making an impact in the surrounding community would be really exciting,” Eschweiler said.

As excited as Cho is to be making progress toward his vision, he is even more excited by the feedback from others.

“The most meaningful thing would be when people would reach out and say that my clothes had inspired them to do their own thing, because I was just a normal guy working some job with no plans to do myself better,” he said. “And I think that people can relate to how real it is to just start one day and follow your dreams.”

Cho still works his nine-to-five job, but hopes to work at his clothing line full-time by 2019. “(My clothes are) mainly street wear. They’re something that you could see a celebrity wearing on a night out. There is always a unique touch and they are always hand-made,” Cho said.

Because Cho makes every product individually, he can’t afford to hold clothes and build up a large inventory, but his recent products can be viewed via the Instagram account or his website.


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