When Erik Nordin got a call from The…
We’ve Got Spirit, Yes We Do!
When Elisa Cohen’s twin daughters, Samantha and Sydney, now 22, were accepted to Indiana University, she was thrilled for her soon-to-be Hoosiers and wanted to send them off on their adventures with some school spirit.
But as she began helping them pack, she realized that there weren’t a lot of options of T-shirts with their school name on it.
“I thought they were all so plain,” Cohen says. “I wanted something different from the big T-shirts all the boys wear.”
So she began playing around with different designs. Working with basic university logos, Cohen began to create different backdrops on which to display them. She sent her girls off to college with her first design, a tee that zips up the front — and their new friends went nuts for it.
She soon launched Eee’s Tees — “E” being her nickname — and the collection spread like wildfire, all by word of mouth with the help of Instagram. She started doing some shows at friends’ homes, and, she says “it kind of snowballed.”
Now based in Delray Beach, Fla., Cohen grew up in Southfield, attending Camp Walden and graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in communications.
“But I’ve always been interested and involved in fashion,” she says. She opened and managed the first Kenneth Cole store in Birmingham and worked at Roz & Sherm in Bloomfield Township. After moving to Florida with her husband-to-be, Seth Cohen, who attended law school in Miami, Cohen completed a management program at Burdines department store before becoming busy raising her children.
Now, she’s come full circle — letting her inner fashion designer loose while inspired by her children. Cohen continues designing new styles, often with the help of her youngest daughter, Spencer, now 18 and heading to IU herself.
“One of our most popular tops, a zip-back halter, was designed by Spencer,” Cohen says, adding that it, along with the original zip-front tee, has become so popular that other companies have “borrowed” the look. She has added tube tops, lace-up tees, sweatshirts and long-sleeve flannels, skirts, denim jackets and more — and plans to add accessories to the mix.
She offers a collection of rock band flannels and tees, emblazoned with vintage-style imagery of Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead. She also has created a specialty line of vintage tees she’s collected applied to the backs of flannels and denim.
Cohen also accepts custom orders. Although she stocks most colleges and universities, including U-M, MSU, Indiana, Syracuse, Wisconsin and more, she’s created tees for Harvard, Stanford and Yale for customers from Chicago to Los Angeles.
“There’s really nothing like this around,” Cohen says. “The pieces are feminine, funky and cool — not just a simple men’s shirt. And I love hearing what the girls have to say — I want to hear their input. I cater to them and want them to feel good in what they wear, from the quality of the fabrics to the fun designs.”
Her customers love being able to share their excitement in their finds. Cohen hosts an Instagram page (eeestees) where a growing group of followers clamor to place orders.
“Every Sunday I make a collage of girls wearing Eee’s Tees to tailgates from the weekend and post them on Instagram and the girls love it,” she says. “And I love seeing everybody. I get a lot of enjoyment out of it. It doesn’t seem like a job — I really have so much fun doing it.” *
Eee’s Tees are sold at Guys N Gals, West Bloomfield (248-851-1260) and can be viewed on Instagram (eeestees). Prices start at $55.
By Lynne Konstantin, Arts & Life Editor