By: Trevor Potulski
mrly (pronounced MAHR-lee) was founded in December 2016 by Abercrombie & Fitch alums, Kyoko Seki and Trevor Potulski, and will be launching this Summer. This Columbus-based toddler brand will cover ages 1-5 with pieces suited for both genders. In an industry filled with bright colors and quirky patterns, mrly stands for high-quality, everyday clothes that allow a kid’s personality to do the talking. All items are made from the finest textiles and manufactured right here in the USA. With each item purchased, mrly will be donating a portion of proceeds to cover one load of laundry for a family in need at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio.
Kyoko and I met as colleagues in 2013 at Abercrombie & Fitch. In early 2014, the company restructured and we were both assigned roles on the Hollister team as counterparts in merchandising and design. Over the next few years, we forged a very strong relationship and a deep level of trust in one another. Every triumph and struggle at work finally led us to a conversation in August of 2016 where we discussed our career and life aspirations. It didn’t take long for us to realize that we both wanted the same thing– to start our own business. Finally, after numerous conversations that coincided with the arrival of my newborn daughter, we decided to combine our passion for clothing, experience in fashion retail and love for our children and build a kids clothing brand. One of the first decisions was to pick a name and we ended up choosing mrly which is an acronym for our kids’ names. Soon thereafter, we agreed that we would partner with a local charity that helps kids in need. We discussed a few options but quickly landed on the Columbus Ronald McDonald House because we both felt strongly about the mission and have heard many great things about the organization After visiting the house again this past January, we knew that we had made the right decision and could not be more excited to become more involved in this wonderful charity and community.
Some additional background about the founders:
Trevor was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Euclid High School in 2004. He moved to Columbus in 2004 and received his degree in Marketing from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business in 2008. He now lives in Gahanna with his wife, Lauren, and their two kids, Madden and Leighton.
Kyoko was born in Kagoshima, Japan and moved to Columbus in 1998 when she was fifteen. She graduated from Thomas Worthington High School in 2001 and received her degree in Fashion Design from Columbus College of Art and Design in 2005. She now lives in Columbus with her husband, Keita, and their two kids, Yui and Rin.