Ali von Paris
Route One Apparel
The closing of a business in College Park led to the opening of a business career for Ali von Paris.
Seven years ago, the then-University of Maryland business student lost her job at the Thirsty Turtle when the sometimes rowdy bar was shut down. Out of work and unsure how she would afford to finish her schooling — or even pay her rent — von Paris designed a T-shirt honoring the Thirsty Turtle and ended up selling more than 600 in a few weeks.
That success inspired her to launch Route One Apparel, a Hunt Valley-based business that makes and sells apparel and merchandise that celebrate Maryland pride. From an initial launch of 1,000 Maryland flag bikinis, Route One Apparel now offers more than 1,500 items, everything from “Girls Love Bad Boh’s” T-shirts and bowties featuring the Baltimore Ravens colors, to Maryland flag crab magnets and baby onesies featuring the slogan “Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O’s.”
The Maryland-born von Paris, now 27, is a state booster in other ways. Her business has helped raise funds for the Maryland chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and for the families of two fallen Harford County sheriff’s deputies, among other local groups.
During the 2015 riots in Baltimore, she released a line of T-shirts with the message, “#BeMore,” and donated the proceeds to needy city residents.
“I like to think that my company helps to foster good will within our communities by allowing people to show how much they love being from Maryland or living in Maryland,” von Paris said.