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Eye on Miami: Josie Wenzell starts conversations with her clothing line

Well Being Apparel sells jewelry in cute bags.
Well Being Apparel sells jewelry in cute bags.

Mental health has been a prominent topic in the media since 2018. According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, the rise of social media platforms has led to an increase of anxiety and depression within young adults — which has been proving itself to be detrimental, as the suicide rate in 2023 was the highest it has ever been on record.

Enter Josie Wenzell. Wenzell is a senior marketing student at Miami University with her own clothing company, Well Being Apparel.

“Mental health has always been extremely important for me in my personal life,” Wenzell said. “I wanted to put education regarding mental health in the forefront with my brand.”

Photo by Josie Wenzell | The Miami Student
A model for Well Being Apparel poses in a skull graphic tee.

Wenzell started the brand in January 2020, just months before the start of the pandemic. She sells T-shirts, funky jewelry and artwork in the form of stickers and canvases.

“After COVID hit, people started getting more into the self-care aspect of life,” Wenzell said. “COVID impacted my digital brand in a lot of ways. I launched the business in 2020, and it sort of just blew up through COVID since everybody was at home and using social media more.”

While digital art is popular nowadays on websites like Redbubble, Wenzell uses digital art in a more tangible way. She draws out most of her work in pencil and paper or watercolor before transferring it to digital platforms to print on clothing.

The prints Wenzell has created all follow themes of wellness, individuality and inclusivity — and it is not just for show. Wenzell has created specific designs and collections that depict causes that are meaningful to her. Then, her proceeds go toward those philanthropies. 

“I made some collections for Black Lives Matter, women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ+,” Wenzell said. “I went to some protests and sold items inspired by that, and I was proud to contribute in that creative sense.”

Claire Donohoe is a junior English student at Michigan State University and has worked with Wenzell on a joint zine entitled JuJu.

“It was really fun  to see how much fun Josie had with it. She motivated me to come up with ideas for her to work with,” Donohoe said. “I think us being friends made it just really fun and easy to work together, but just in general Josie’s really smart. She knows what she’s doing.”

Being a full-time student and owning your own business can be hard work, but Wenzell balances her life by putting herself first. She only sells in-person through Advancing Women in Entrepreneurship, and makes a personal connection with other students when she sells her products.

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Photo by Josie Wenzell | The Miami Student
Wenzell’s shop aims to improve customers' mental wellbeing.

Wenzell is set to graduate this May and has plans to move to Washington, D.C., for her job — but she won’t abandon Well Being Apparel.

“Well Being Apparel is my baby, but what I really want is to open a café. I’d love to have what I’ve created as merch for my store,” Wenzell said. “I want the café to embody the vibe of Well Being Apparel and for everything to work together.” 

Through Well Being Apparel, Wenzell not only creates clothing with a purpose, but also welcomes and encourages dialogue surrounding meaningful issues. Though students at Miami may be in the thick of it with classes, Wenzell and Well Being Apparel serve as a reminder that even in darkness, there will be light.