If you’ve ever seen SWΔG stickers around the city it’s because of this guy! Joe Balich is a junior, communications major and environmental science minor who started SWΔG, a Chicago Clothing Company, his freshman year at UIC. Joe says SWΔG is an adopted term “intertwined with a generation’s culture and lifestyle, and manipulated it to further express a global generational likeness.” Though he is now taking a break to concentrate on school, he cannot wait to graduate and start to work on “revolutionary charity sh*t!”
HC (Her Campus): How did SW∆G start? Where did the name come from?
JB (Joe Balich): The idea was conceived my senior year of high school in 2011. This was when swag was a cool word, but I couldn’t think of what it really was. Then I thought, its whatever u want it to be, its a variable. That’s also how the “Delta Factor” came about. “The delta symbol in science and mathematics represents change and in the global society we live in today, change is perpetual.”
HC: What piqued your interest in clothing?
JB: It’s really random actually, the fashion industry is a part of urban culture. I was able to do everything I enjoyed doing. It involves design, manufacturing, business, hip-hop, music, artists, producers, promoters, and event planners! Everything is intertwined and I met a bunch of cool people.
HC: How did you market or advertise your business?
JB: The summer before I started college, I knew a lot of people from different schools in the city. Growing up as a city kid, we know what’s cool before it is cool, so I just marketed to cool city kids. But of course I used social media, word of mouth, and I gave to promotion teams. Oh and stickers! People love people with stickers, so I started giving them out at parties and started sticker smacking everything!
HC: Who is the most popular person you sold to?
JB: One of my crew necks was in a Chief Keef music video, DJ LYVE has a swag strap (bracelet), and Chance the Rapper came to a party I sponsored. I also had the opportunity of working with Chris Smokes, who has been making major moves with his Private Stock Gallery & is doing business with countless big names.
HC: Do you have any role models that inspire what you do?
JB: I don’t aspire to be in his line of work but I have learned so much from him and following his road to success is an inspiration.
HC: Summarize a day in the life of Joe Balich.
JB: Every day is different for me. Some days I get up early, go to school, and work on fraternity stuff. Other days I’ll go to the gym, learn a new instrument, or even take some photos. I’m all over the place waiting for things to fall into place.
HC: Are you involved in any other activities at UIC or elsewhere?
JB: I’m the Vice President of Zeta Psi, I work for CPS, and I’m a Red Bull Photographer.
HC: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
JB: I don’t know where I’ll be… Hopefully I have started a charity or non-profit, or at least out of college with a few businesses. I just want to be successful doing crazy, next level stuff. No plans! I just want that success and happiness!
HC: What is your dream job?
JB: My dreamiest job would be working for myself and being able to apply all my passions and talents at once. I have a charity idea I’m working on that will be amazing.
HC: What celebrity do you think you would be best friends with?
JB: It’s a tie between Ashton Kutcher and Justin Timberlake. They each do so much, so many different projects on top of very successful careers.