Business Beginnings

My name is Flahn Manly. I was born in Monrovia, Liberia, in 1988. I moved to the U.S. in 1998. As a child, I was always the creative type. I loved art, drawing, sketching, etc. In high school, I started printing my own shirts, and my classmates soon took notice. I moved towards freelance t-shirt design and printing in 2005, and have been honing my skills and the ICD clothing brand ever since. 

I am a designer with the focus of spreading a positive message to the youth and young adults through clothes. Growing up as a child in Liberia, my dream has always been to live life to the fullest. I live life as if there is no tomorrow, and have come to realize that the life we are blessed with is nothing to be taken for granted - it is something to be cherished. As we pass our world on to the next generation, I ask that we implement the right messages into our communities; I ask that we acknowledge that we all have a dream and they all have the potential to become something. This is how ICD clothing was born. 

ICD clothing is the burning desire to inspire and to be inspired. The ability to realize the possibilities that can be achieved when one believes in positivity. The understanding that life is a progression of designs incomplete designs. Together we are artists, inspirers and dreamers. Our yearning for progression, inspiration and growth connects us. Together we build upon our foundations and recreate our talents and ourselves. Together, we, you, and I are Team ICD.

What services did you receive? What were your interactions with our staff like?

My former boss was also an Elmseed client and he referred me to Elmseed when he saw my vision for ICD Creative Studios. I got in touch with Elmseed where Robert, Adam, Julia, and Joyce helped me set up a business plan, marketing plan, and put me in good standing to be approved for an Elmseed loan. They were very hands-on and I appreciated how they really listened to my ideas.

How has your business grown since the loan was disbursed?

Since working with Elmseed, I have gotten much better about my bookkeeping and I’ve seen a steady increase in sales since June. I have a large social media following on Facebook and Instagram. Also, I just released an app. Through these social media outlets, I’ve been getting much more traffic in the stores where customers can actually come in and see the merchandise.

Would you recommend our services to other New Haven small business owners?

Oh yeah, definitely! Just write everything down as far as what you want to do. Come in with a game plan and you’ll get great advice on how to move forward.