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IU alumnus is CFO of vintage-style T-shirt company that features IU gear

Oct. 16, 2014

IU Kelley School of Business alumnus Steve Werman serves as chief financial officer for Homage, an Ohio-based vintage T-shirt company created by childhood friend Ryan Vesler. The company sells several IU-branded T-shirts, including 1976 and 1981 championship shirts, one declaring Bloomington the "Basketball Capital of the World" and another featuring the retro "Hurryin' Hoosiers" tagline.

Steve Werman

Steve Werman | PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVE WERMAN

Enter to win

Current faculty and staff using a valid IU email address can enter to win one of two prize packs featuring a vintage IU-branded 1986 NCAA championship T-shirt, a $32 value, and $50 gift card from Homage. The contest opens Oct. 16 and closes 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20, 2014.

Though Werman won't be in town for homecoming this weekend, the 2005 graduate took a few minutes to chat with Inside IU Bloomington:

Q: What brought you to IU?

A: I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and knew that I wanted to attend a big school with great athletics where I could also get a great education. Ohio State met all those criteria; but I really wanted to have an experience outside my comfort zone. IU was a perfect fit because it offered everything I was seeking.

It wasn't until I got to campus that I was able to fully appreciate all of the amazing opportunities IU offers. One of those is the Kelley School of Business. I loved the classes I took and felt the curriculum was laid out very well. Even the dreaded I-Core semester turned out to be one of my most enjoyable and enriching in school -- although it did eat into my social life a bit more than I was expecting!

Q: Will you be back in town for homecoming? If not, talk about your time here.

A: Unfortunately, I won't be back in Bloomington for homecoming. I really wish I could be there. Had I been able to make it, I would've definitely gone to Little Zagreb's for some meatballs and a steak. I would have also had to get my pizza fix from Mother Bear's!

I had so many great professors during my time at IU, including Jeff Fisher and Walt Blacconiere. Unfortunately, I learned of professor Blacconiere's passing a few years ago. Those two professors really shaped my learning experience at IU and I'm greatly indebted to them both.

IU T-shirt

Enter to win this vintage-style IU T-shirt from Homage. | PHOTO COURTESY OF HOMAGE

Q: How did you become involved with Homage?

A: Homage was started by Ryan Vesler in 2007. Ryan and I go way back, as we've known each other since probably kindergarten. When he started the company, I was living in Chicago working at KPMG, which was the job I got through the Kelley School. I worked there for seven years before moving back to Columbus, Ohio. At that time, Ryan's company was continuing to take off and he was looking for someone with an accounting and finance background. It's been such a blast working with Ryan and several other people we grew up with.

Q: How did the company come to make IU-branded items?

A: As Homage expanded its footprint across the Midwest and the nation, we sought licensing partners that have rich histories and loyal followings. IU has so many legendary stories, and that's really what Homage is all about. We don't just slap a faded IU logo on a T-shirt and call it a vintage-style shirt. The Homage team researches the stories, visits the university to dig through old yearbooks and archives, and finds those vintage marks that have been all but forgotten, except for a few people who have hung onto their college t-shirts from back in the day.

Indiana University has such legendary stories, whether it's Little 500 or the great basketball teams throughout the years. We strive to pay homage to the history that makes IU so special.

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