As you walk the streets of Baltimore, the word “Cashland” will reveal itself to you, on shirts, hoodies, and even skullies. What does the word Cashland mean? What does it represent for the city? What does it mean to the streets of Baltimore? Currently there are two Cashland stores, the flagship store on Pratt St. and the newest store in Security Square Mall. I visited the Cashland store at Security to not only find out what Cashland stood for, but to also find out how it got its beginnings. I had the pleasure to sit down and speak with Jon Cash, owner of Cashland apparel.
Cash is a firm believer that “economic self-sufficiency breeds confidence.” His mission is to create a positive community that will make it easy for everyone to succeed, a community where everyone can “express [their] own individual creativity – a community where we all can prosper.” That’s the definition of Cashland. Cash was once a program director at the Baltimore Urban League. There, he ran life skills and job readiness programs. While he was at the BUL, he was also a part-time GED instructor at Baltimore City Community College where he taught a few college readiness course there as well. He eventually became BCCC’s GED program director. Through education & job readiness, Cash has helped a multitude of people learn how to become economically self-sufficient.
When he came out of college, he became a teacher for the Welfare to Work program. The process of helping people finding jobs, getting an education, and no longer relying on someone else to provide for them is crucial, said Cash. He has changed a lot of lives with his commitment to serve the community and provide them with the knowledge they need to become successful in life. To this day, Cash is thanked for his service to the community.
Cashland started in 2001 and has since moved from Cash’s basement, where he was making everything by hand, to a kiosk at Mondawmin Mall, then the store on West Pratt street. In the beginning, he was buying clothing and putting the Cashland logo on it. Now he makes the fabric, has it shipped to New York or New Jersey, it’s stitched and sew together, then it’s ready for sale. The clothing being sold now is not only unique, but quality. “People appreciate it, so they don’t mind paying $250 for a sweatsuit: two three years down the line they’ll still have it,” said Cash.
Cash’s favorite pieces are the luxury items in his line, featuring an elastic-like material. He likes his raiments to be stretchy because it adds to the comfort level of each piece. An outsider looking in would say that Cashland has changed the fashion of Baltimore, but in reality Cashland just listens to the streets of Baltimore and adopts to what the consumers say they would like to buy – supply and demand. “It’s about interpreting what the customer wants and knowing how to interpret what the customer wants and then selling it to them. The people of Baltimore changed the fashion, they’ll tell you what they want to wear – it’s either you make it or you don’t sell clothes to them.”
Cashland isn’t Cash’s first business. He started with his own GED program, where he worked with the department of human resources to help foster kids. He also worked with Johns Hopkins’ staff to provide them with the education they deserved. “The goal was always self-sufficiency,” said Cash. When the time came to transition into clothing, he brought with him the clientele he had already been working with for roughly 10 years. Because Cash has helped so many people in the past, he found that people were excited to support him, which in turn made the growth of Cashland an easy feat. “The name of the company was Cashland, so I didn’t change, I just transitioned how I did things,” said Cash. In a way, he is still teaching, but he’s just using his clothes to do it. His company has been successful, but Cash knows he still has more expansion to do. “They’re inspired. I hear it everyday everytime I go places, people thank me for having a company,” Cash said.
Cash says the next step for Cashland is wholesaling garments to sell to chain stores all across the country. “Everybody knows about Cashland across the country. I went to go visit family in Seattle for spring break. I get up there, talking to them, and they [said] they see people with Cashland over there…My [friend] goes to Rhode Island, he a boxing promoter, he had on a sweatsuit and like two people walked up to him as [were] like’ yo, you from Baltimore?’ They like ‘Cashland – we know about that.’ You go to New York and it’s the same thing.” For years, people have told Cash how they’ve seen his brand in New York. “I definitely think it’s bigger than what it appears to be, but the fact that it is as large as it is in Baltimore is kind of the indication of how it is outside of Baltimore. If it’s that strong here, it’s just weaker out there, but it’s out there.
Cash says the first step towards making money is to embrace our own individual creativity.“If you find your creative niche you can hopefully use it to create a lifestyle for yourself and create a brand for yourself, whatever it is you’re trying to do. Everybody has their own gift that can get them where you want to be in life you just gotta find it.”
Shop Cashland at shopcashland.com