Introducing... The Minnesota Nice Project

Most people don’t need to look very far to feel overwhelmed by the countless unmet needs around us. It’s easy to feel discouraged, wanting to help but also afraid that some problems may be too big to approach. We wonder where the ordinary person fits in with things like disaster relief, fixing broken school systems, or engaging in the fight against cancer.

One solution we’ve landed on at Sota Clothing is to do whatever it is that you do best, in a way that supports those already in the fight. This is the whole idea behind Sota Clothing’s Minnesota Nice Project. We want to hone in on what we do best, designing t-shirts, to support those already on the front-lines of such issues. To do this we will be debuting our Minnesota Nice Project Tee this June. Although only a t-shirt, we hope it serves as a reminder of a value so deeply embedded in our state: that you don’t need to know someone before caring for them, that all people are worth fighting for.  

Proceeds from the Minnesota Nice Project Tee will continually be going to various charities in our state. Its first stop being Chainbreaker, a two-wheeled grassroots movement chasing down cancer through cycling. Originating in Ohio, they will be bringing their race to MN this summer to raise funds for the Masonic Center at the University of Minnesota. Where there resides a group of researchers on the brink of cutting edge cancer research and treatments. Diligently doing what they do best in order to care for generations to come. 


*Click here to see what else we are doing to support Chainbreaker and how you can join us on the ride!   

May 10, 2017 by Mckenzie Johnson

Superior Goods

Roughly this time last year Superior Goods, a premium American-made line birthed from Sota Clothing, was breaking it’s way into the public. For most its introduction came through our kickstarter campaign, which was our way to fund the first product of the line: the North Star hoodie.

Having design elements inspired by Minnesota winters, this hoodie was purposed for much more then just special occasions. Whether it was down hill skiing or shoveling the driveway, we wanted the North Star Hoodie to be versatile in many conditions. Making it the go-to grab from the coat rack as you walked out the door.

Early January of 2016, the kickstarter video was released. On average only 10% of kickstarter campaigns are successful. We hadn’t the slightest idea how we would fair. Between fabric, working with our technical designer Jeanna Palkowitsch, and hiring sewers, the amount we needed to start breathing life into this project was set at $30,000. Kickstarter operates in an all-or-nothing fashion; if the goal was not reached in its entirety the donors would receive their full donation back, leaving us at square one.  

In just eight days our goal was reached, it was clear that there were plenty of like-minded people who also wanted to see this project come to fruition. Each donation came with some kind of reward. The average donation of $85, called the early bird special, was rewarded with a North Star Hoodie from the very first batch. The largest donation was set for $1,000. This amount was rewarded with a North Star Hoodie as well as a personal lifestyle photo shoot with Spencer. Only three donors fell into this category, one of which was our mother.

Our original plan for production was to contract the work out to the sewers at the women’s prison in Shakopee, MN. It wasn’t until the campaign was completed that the women’s prison realized how technical the hoodie would be, and advised us to seek production elsewhere. 

The funds were raised, the fabric had been ordered, but our sewers were yet to be found. Spencer received a couple contacts for local sewers from our hat guy, Roddy, and Lauren followed up on the leads. One of which got us in contact with Kathy and Houen Seng, both tailors out of Monticello, MN. 

In time, we learned that Kathy and Houen first learned to sew in elementary school in Cambodia. As teenagers Kathy and Hoeun were forced to flee Cambodia to a Thai refugee camp because of the war. After spending two years in the camp, Kathy and Hoeun married before heading to the U.S., where they eventually honed the skills they first learned in grade school and earned their living as tailors here in the states.

After Lauren explained the concept behind the North Star Hoodie and all that it involved, the Seng’s agreed to partner with us in its production. They worked closely with the patterns our designers made to establish each step involved in production. Seng built a 8x15’ table to start in on the various cuts that would need to be made. Each step of production provided challenges of its own. Extensive conversations between Spencer, Lauren, Jeanna, and Rebecca Radduck, one of our consultants, were had over aspects of a hoodie that the average consumer might take for granted; things like zipper sizes, the fit of the thumbhole along the wrist, and how to tweak the cuts for the hood so that one didn’t look like a knight heading into battle. The Seng’s produced several prototypes in each size before the final product was achieved, each time being analyzed for adjustments by our team. The early birds who so generously supported us back in February would receive their hoodie as their size was completed, between August to October of 2016.

Spencer and I went to the shop this winter to get more familiar with the production process. We saw the table Hoeun built to cut the fabric, the sewing machine he uses to topstitch, and the machine across from him Kathy uses to surge each piece of the garment together. Since the final version of the hoodie was established, the Seng’s have produced over 900 North Star Hoodies for this past winter season.

Having come from Sota clothing, Superior Goods has made it a point to design each garment with one of the four seasons in mind. We hope Superior Goods will inspire both the avid outdoorsmen and those reluctantly on the sidelines to take their next step into greater adventures. By providing them with clothes that they are proud to wear because of it’s production, style, and functionality.

Superior Goods has since expanded to include the Split Rock Henley, Two Harbors Puffer Vest, and a line of finely designed graphic tees by 10,000 Designs.

March 06, 2017 by Mckenzie Johnson

Why I Like Sota Clothing

My love for Minnesota goes so deep I think it flows through my blood. From the pine trees of the Iron Range’s Northwoods to the sprawling metropolis that lies in the confines of the 494/694 loop, I can’t get enough of our incredible state. Though there is one problem, I don’t quite love any of our sports teams enough to rep their gear. Don’t get me wrong, I love sitting in Target field and cheering on our Twins, but at best I’m a recreational fan. And when it comes to the Vikings, unfortunately I’ve been seduced by the dark side of football since childhood and the only team I’ll ever have true love for wears the dreaded Green and Gold. 

That being said, for years I had the dilemma of not knowing how to display the pride in where I’m from, without the struggle of defending the merits of whatever team I have on display. And let’s be real, our state is way more than just sports teams. Other states have to rely on their teams to have any sort of cultural identity, but from my experience we Minnesotans have a unity beyond a common team. Just the way we talk causes us to stand out! The amount of times I’ve been called out for being Minnesotan just for stressing the letter “O” or saying “hafta” instead of have to. And even though this caused me to be the butt of some jokes, it never gets to me because I just have too much pride in where I come from for it to ever be used against me. And I’ve seen that as a common attribute of Minnesotans; we have pride in where we’re from, and we’re not afraid to show it.



Which is where sota clothing comes in. Instead of having to represent only one particular team associated with our state, I get to show my love for the whole state. Minnesota love goes well beyond sports, but expands deep into the beautiful nature we are surrounded by. Having lived both in the Twin Cities Metro and the Northwoods I’ve seen firsthand much of what our state and fellow Minnesotans have to offer. And what we have is exceptionally diverse. Our Twin Cities is a hotbed of artistic and cultural energy. We are the O.G. Hipsters. The originality, and creativity of The Cities are exciting to be a part of. But up north the outdoors shape the culture. Everyone is excited by camouflage and fluorescent orange, and that’s a great thing too! So even with such a diverse populace, sota clothing appeals to it all. I am excited to rep my MN Paddles wherever I go. I’ve worn it out camping on the north shore of Lake Superior, fishing for walleye on Mille Lacs, and hammocking in the peaceful pines looking out over Big Sandy Lake. The design connects me to the nature that defines what being a northerner is about. But I’m also more than comfortable wearing it out on the town. Whether I’m just sipping coffee in one of the fine coffee shops of NE Minneapolis, enjoying a show at the Excel, and even screaming my lungs out cheering on our Twins I know I’m expressing what is best about our metro life: We support and care for our own. I have the joy to say that I know the owner of sota clothing, Spencer, and his family, and I know their love for our state, and for creating designs that connect with all of us. And I am proud to support him in his endeavors to continue to give us opportunity to express our deep love for the place we call home.



*To read more from the author visit his website at

February 03, 2017 by Luke Stocker

Let's See How This Goes...

I was walking up the steps to the attic on the 4th floor where Spencer was already on his laptop waiting for me. We had spent a solid two weeks working on the space. Painting the discolored wooden floors a sleek matte black, making desks out of white sawhorses and wood doors, and turning yellowish walls into crisp white ones. It was my first day on the job at Sota Clothing. As I made my way into the attic, where the office and inventory was housed, I was already laughing to myself. I was feeling a mixture of emotions. Overall I was not feeling so sure about adding a third job to my work schedule, or navigating the iffy territory of having my brother as my boss. When I turned the corner into the office space, I noticed we both had this nervous-awkward disposition. Neither of us knew if this was really a good idea.


Attic office - 2015

Since it’s beginning at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Spencer had regularly taken leaps into the unknown with Sota. His latest leap: taking order fulfillment into his own hands, rather than contracting it out to a fulfillment center somewhere else. After dinner one night at our parents house he asked me if I could come by a few times per week to package orders and then deliver them to the post office downtown. Without thinking about it too much, I quickly agreed. Thinking even if it doesn’t work out, I’m sure I will at least learn something worthwhile through it.

Inventory Room Attic 2015

Attic inventory room - 2015

With the uneasiness in the air at the attic office space, Spencer and I decided we would give this at least the month of July. He made it clear that if I didn’t take the job seriously, he would surely hand it off to someone else, like his roommates girlfriend downstairs.

As July passed by and orders came in at a rate we were both pleasantly surprised with, Spencer started to think about other areas of the business he would need help with. Our sister, Lauren, recently moved back from Boulder, CO. Having an extensive experience in corporate retail, she had helped Spencer shortly after he started Sota with planning and analyzing sales, but in many ways it was just something she did as a favor.

Knowing Lauren wasn’t quite thriving in the job she currently held, we started scheming for how we could bring her on as well, knowing she had the kind of experience that would be invaluable to this new stage Sota was in. As September approached, Spencer was pleased with the packaging, shipping, and customer service work I had been doing. And I was enjoying it too! It was looking like this would turn into more than just a part-time job. Furthermore, we had sold enough Raglan Baseball Tee’s and MN Paddle Mesh Snapbacks that it looked like Sota could take it’s next leap: bringing on it’s first Merchandiser/Wholesale-Vendor-Inventory Manager (AKA our sister, Lauren).


Lauren taking inventory - 2015

I still remember the first morning when the three of us (actually four, our mom is regularly at Sota and ready to help wherever she’s needed) were in the office together. Lauren and I rolled onto Humboldt Street simultaneously and our mom pulled in shortly after… with muffins! Spencer was already waiting for us with a pot of coffee made, as his apartment is right underneath this attic office space. We all enjoyed our morning coffee together, verbalizing a rough game plan for what our workday was going to look like.

In so many ways it proves true, that the greater the challenge, the greater the reward. Many people are deterred away from getting involved in a start-up. Especially when the time commitment demands walking away from the day job, which provides the consistency of health benefits and a reliable salary.

Furthermore, many might suggest not adding to the challenge by going into this pursuit with family, a fair caution for sure. As I am writing about these beginnings over one year later, I can recall many instances in which we have certainly been tested. As decisions have been made it has been difficult to make the shift of approaching these situations through our job roles, rather then just three siblings bringing each of their own opinions and feelings to the matter, much like how it was at the dinner table growing up.

But, so far it’s working. And I think truthfully, we are all pleasantly surprised with what has happened and what has been built since Sota’s team of one turned to two, then three, and now four with the addition of our energetic Iowan farm gal who is an integral part of growing sota’s presence as our Event Coordinator.

It is my hope that this post gives insight into what, or rather who, is involved behind Sota Clothing: behind the instagram page, the product, and the brand. We also want to extend a sincere thank you to those who have given us their support over these past couple years. All of you have allowed sota clothing to grow and expand to what we have become, and who we are becoming.

December 21, 2016 by Mckenzie Johnson

We Moved

Hey folks. I know there has been a lot of silence on the blog, and we are hoping to break that… starting now. You can expect fairly regular posts from us a few times a month now. To kick things off we wanted to share our latest happenings with you.

We recently made the move from NE Minneapolis to a fairly sizable office park in Golden Valley, making it Sota Clothing’s third home in one year. As soon as the hustle of the State Fair had wrapped up we quickly switched our focus to searching for a new home, having had only one month left on our lease! With the continual stream of inventory growing larger, and the addition of our Superior Goods line we were growing cramped in our shared suite. 

After hunting and striking out on our own, Spencer contacted a realtor, Collin, to help us find our new space. We were hoping to stick with our friends in NE, where we were spoiled with plentiful coffee shops and breweries, enjoying the unique character of the Thorp building and being in close proximity to our new friends. After learning about what was available, we realized we had to choose between the “sexy” and “functional” spaces. Taking the more mature route, Collin led us down the path toward functionality to a warehouse/office complex that used to house a homebuilding company. It was about three times the square footage we had previously, with three offices, a conference room, kitchen, and a sizable warehouse. Amongst our first look, we weren’t so enthused as it was far from offering the charm of the industrious, old brick building we grew to adore with rustic hardwood floors, Diamond’s coffee shop below us, and Tattersall Distillery on the west end of the building. But, as we learned from our mom who scours decorating magazines instead of the newspaper in the morning, you can bring charm to anything. So knowing this new place would provide the room to grow that we needed, we signed some papers. 

And, nearly eight weeks and a dozen projects later, we are really liking it here. We miss our suite mate Lucy & Co. dearly, and Dan the accordion guy next door, but we know this move was a much-needed next step for us.

Take a look at the rooms we tackled first:

November 23, 2016 by Mckenzie Johnson

Your Fall in Minnesota Staycation Checklist

Staycation to-do List for Fall in MN

 The Fall is truly one of the best times to be in Minnesota. It's no longer unreasonably hot, not yet freezing, and, let's face it: we're foliage spoiled. Minnesota trees look so stunning throughout the fall season, turning vibrant orange, pink and red. You can catch an evening reflection of oranges and reds over a lake or you can bike through a stunning autumn-colored park. If you really want to embrace the spirit of Minnesota in the fall, here are a few suggestions for your fall bucket list. 

 1. Pick Your Pumpkin

Minnesota is home to some awesome seasonal experiences at Apple orchards and pumpkin patches. There's nothing more fall than getting outside, embracing the chill in the air, and walking around picking apples and pumpkin patches.

Minnesota is the birthplace of some of the best kinds of apples, like honeycrisp! Embrace this seasonal, delicious, local fruit. Pick up a peck to bake into pies or just eat slathered in peanut butter. 

 This year, I went to Afton Apple, where you jump on a hayride to go pick your apples and pumpkins. It was great fun but there are orchards all over the place: check out Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake, or Victoria Valley Orchard in St. Paul.

 2. Visit a distillery 

As the weather gets cooler and we retreat indoors, we also reach for a little something to warm us up... and there are so many awesome local distilleries in Minnesota, that that thing might as well be a beer (or a cocktail). 

Most of our amazing local distilleries have bottles available in local liquor stores, but it's so much more fun to pop in and see where the alcohol is made! Many of them have tours on Saturdays or even cocktail making classes, so you have the opportunity to learn a little bit about your favorite libation. 

If you're up in Duluth, let Vilkre Distillery change your mind about gin (unless you already like gin...they'll just confirm that gin rocks). They have free tours daily at 5:30. Down in the cities, check out Norseman, which has Saturday tours and occasional "cocktail laboratories," or Sociable Cider which has tours on Saturdays in exchange for a food shelf donation.

 3. Go for a hike (while you still can!)

 Get outside before it's too late! That sounds dramatic, but, of course, if you live in Minnesota, you know I'm serious. While there are plenty of outdoor activities available to you once the snow hits the ground, fall is arguably the best time to get outdoors in Minnesota.

Is there anything better than wandering around Minnesota's wonderful parks and trails in the fall? Go for a hike, walk, run or jog while you still want to get outside for your workout, because you've got a long winter on the treadmill ahead of you.

 Find the falls at Minnehaha Regional Park, or find a park or trail in your neighborhood--it's probably not far away!

4. Get Cozy at a Coffee Shop

When the temperature drops and it's no longer iced coffee season, all I can think about it wrapping my hands around a nice warm mug of coffee or tea. A mug of something warm is the epitome of coziness.

 Luckily, Minnesota has a ton of coffee shops, so no matter where you live, you aren't far from a cozy mug of coffee. The fall is a great season to check out one of the Twin Cities awesome local coffee shops, like Spyhouse Coffee or Quixotic Coffee. They're as photo friendly as they are delicious. 

 Of course, be green and bring your own mug or stay a while with one of their non-paper cups. 

 5. Find a Lake

 Sometimes, I see "land of 10,000 lakes" as a challenge-- how many can you explore? 

While we may associate our lakes with summer kayaking, swimming and boating, they're still lovely come fall. In fact, catching a sunrise or sunset over a lake is the perfect was to start or end a beautiful fall day. Just be sure to bring your camera, because water reflecting orange and pink sky makes for a wonderful shot.

 What's still left on your fall in MN bucket list? Let us know in the comments and then run out and get it done while there's still time! 

About the writer: Darcy Coulter is a content writer, journalist and the travel blogger behind Sparkle in her Suitcase. When she isn’t writing, she’s probably planning her next trip, or at least her next meal. She loves jalapeños, podcasts, and spending summer days on a Minnesota lake. 

Photo Credit:


November 04, 2016 by Wholesaler Customization

Sota Is Where At The Fair?

Hello Sota people!

We are ONE day away from the Minnesota State Fair! Sota Clothing is so excited to be joining in on the Great Minnesota Get-Together this year, we thought we’d fill you in on some important information regarding Sota and details about the state fair in general. This year, Sota will be offering brand new products made exclusively for the state fair. Below we have listed some state fair info we think may be helpful to you, such as: general information, new foods at the fair this year, and where to find the Sota Caravan!

Here are the basics:

  • The Sota Caravan will be located in the North Woods sector of the fairgrounds, very close to the lumberjack show (on Cooper St. and close to Randall Ave.)
  • The fair will start on August 25 and end on September 5 (12 days of fun!)
  • The fair grounds are open from 6am until midnight
    • The Sota Caravan will be open from 9am - 9pm
  • Regular fair-time admission is $13 for adults, $11 for seniors and kids, and Free for children under 5 years old
  • Discount admission days are on August 25, 29, 30, 31 and on September 1 and 5
    • For a list of discount themes, click here
  • You can find all the new fair foods for 2016 here
  • For more state fair information visit:

We encourage you to stop by and say hello to the Sota Crew!

August 24, 2016 by Ellie Moonen

A Sota Inspired Tattersall Cocktail

As we slide into the first official days of summer, we at Sota Clothing could not be more excited for what accompanies this beautiful weather. The intense sun, the biking and hiking trails, the days on the lake, and the drinks in our hands; we were made for this. Our friends at Tattersall feel the same way. We've decided to team up with Tattersall to create the perfect summer drink that reflects Sota and our love of summer. While Tattersall nailed the cocktail recipe, we’ve taken to Instagram to help us determine the name of this refreshing concoction. For now we’ll refer to it as the Sota Summer cocktail. The recipe is incredibly simple and we’re thrilled to share it with you. Here’s how to make it on your own:


  • 1 oz Tattersall Americano

  • 1 oz Tattersall Grapefruit Crema

  • 3 oz tonic water

  • Combine in a highball glass over ice, stir, and garnish with a lime wheel for best results.


 You can find this drink and the #SotaCaravan at Tattersall Distillery on July 7th from 4pm-9pm for a special Sota/Tattersall pop-up event. We encourage you to come out and have a drink with us! Cheers.

The Sota Clothing Crew

Tattersall Distillery is located in Northeast Minneapolis, at 1620 Central Ave Ne STE 150. They believe in crafting the absolute best when it comes to their product. Their spirits and liqueurs are the result of research, experimentation and dedication to the finest ingredients available. You can learn more about Tattersall Distillery and their many offerings at

June 22, 2016 by Ellie Moonen

The Sota Caravan Origin Story


Hello there!

We at Sota clothing are so excited to be taking a new approach to selling our Minnesota inspired products. As many of you may have seen on our social media pages, Sota Clothing has launched a mobile pop-up shop in the form of a vintage trailer we are calling the Sota Caravan. Sota Clothing is a Minnesota lifestyle brand with a passion for connecting Minnesotans with products they can take pride in. For us, there was no better way to spread our Minnesota love than traveling throughout the Twin Cities in a way true to many Minnesota travelers.


Because we’re so pumped to be making this crazy idea a reality, we want to share with you how the Sota Caravan came to be.

It all started with us wanting to have a unique way to interact with the people that love our brand. Because we don’t have a brick and mortar location, the Sota Caravan is a great way for us to explore Minnesota and meet the people that rep our clothes. After deciding that a pop-up trailer was our best option, Spencer Johnson, the founder of Sota Clothing, fell in love with a completely gutted, 1972 Fleetwing Chickadee in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. After making the trek to SD, Johnson brought the trailer back to his parents’ house in Eden Prairie to get started with the renovation. However, he couldn’t complete the renovation on his own. There were three important bros/dudes/guys/friends involved in the renovation of this trailer; Magnus, Darrin, and Tyler. With their help, Johnson cut a big hole into the side of the trailer that serves as the service window, they ripped out the rotted wood supporting the trailer, and they made A LOT of trips to Home Depot. Upon realizing that a complete renovation over one weekend wasn’t the most realistic expectation, they recruited a family friend’s dad, Maurice, to finish the job. Maurice owns his own construction business called Crevier Craftsman, so we were confident that the final product was in good hands. According to Johnson, without Maurice they’d still be working on the trailer to this day. Lastly, Johnson’s mom helped out with the interiors, both painting and teaching him how to wallpaper.




We hope that through our participation in Minnesota festivals, fairs, and collaborations with other local shops, we can find Minnesota inspiration every location we go. So far this summer, we’ve participated in Art-A-Whirl, anevent at Agra Culture, and Open Streets Lyndale. Follow us on social media for updates on where we’ll be next! For inquiries regarding the Sota Caravan, email us at


Thanks and we hope to see you around this summer!

The Sota Clothing Crew!

West Coast Road Trip

April 05, 2016 by Enrique Bernal