George Rhine was living in Greece when he chose to follow his destiny. After seeing the country struggle with unemployment and a bad economy, he came back to America and, using his love of tattoos as inspiration, created a clothing line called Ink Up Ltd.
Rhine, a former IT engineer based in Asheville, was surrounded by tattoos growing up. "Tattoos and tattoo art has always been a way of life for friends, my family, and me," he said. Using Facebook for research as well as the work of a tattoo artist friend, Rhine eventually found a graphic artist and screen-printing company to help make the designs a reality.
"To us, this is not just about a T-shirt, but creating the process from beginning to end to give the consumer the feel of wearing an actual piece of art," Rhine said. The line uses organic materials in making the shirts and they retail between $15-$25. Each shirt is also special in its own way. All drawings are original and hand-drawn by selected tattoo artists. Rhine and the particular artist personally select which articles of clothing will be made.
This labor of love might sound tedious, but it's exactly how Rhine wants it and sees the line as a way of making a difference in his community.
"I would like to see profits at Ink Up Ltd. be used to participate in helping young teenagers struggling in dysfunctional homes and give them the opportunity to have choices in their lives," Rhine said of his hopes for the business.
Now that's wearing your heart on your sleeve.
Ink Up Ltd. Website