Local business gives back to children impacted by substance use disorder

Sadie Helmick
Jon Linville, co-founder of The Future Clothing , graduated from Marshall University in 2010 before going to South America where he and his friends found inspiration for creating the company.

The Future Clothing, a new online clothing store based in Huntington, West Virginia, was founded to help and inspire children affected by the opioid epidemic.

Upon graduating from Marshall University with a degree in applied mathematics and physics, Jon Linville and his friends traveled to South America for six months in hopes that experiencing more of the world would help inspire their professional lives.

“I graduated with my undergrad from Marshall in 2010, the bottom of the recession,” Linville said. “I couldn’t find a job, so me and my buddies said, ‘Hey, let’s leave the country for a while. When we come back everything is going to be ok.’ We were only gone six months, and everything was not okay when we got back.”

After returning from their time in Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, Linville said he and his friends found inspiration in the people they met.

“We really didn’t have a plan,” Linville said. “We just went, but while we were there we ended up seeing a lot of third world situations. The people there were so enchanting, honestly. Just so captivating that almost immediately we thought we could open up a business down here or we could just go back to the states, open up a business and try to help these people, try to help these kids out.”

Before Linville left in 2010, the opioid crisis in West Virginia was worsening. He said he hoped the situation would have improved in his absence.  

“We were at the part in the opioid epidemic where the streets are running with OxyContin, Percocet, whatever you can think of,” Linville said. “I hoped that leaving for a while and coming back that that would be a little better, but it’s 2018 now, and we are not seeing a regression. Huntington’s overdose rates have been slowing down, but overall the whole epidemic is not slowing down.”

Linville, inspired by the need to help people locally and internationally, started The Future Clothing company to help children locally and hopefully expand.

“We definitely want to impact Huntington,” he said. “We vision our organization as almost an umbrella or a funnel. We are trying to make connections all across the country, all 50 states. We will use technology, marketing and internet, and we will try to funnel all the interest and resources and spread it out all across the country. There is not a national organization right now that focuses on kids affected by any type of substance abuse. Our long-term goal is to become the biggest, most effective organization for children affected by substance abuse.”

Although Linville is not using his degree in applied mathematics and physics, he said he has utilized his skills in other ways.

“Those degrees are all about problem solving,” Linville said. “Every single day I realize how this is an enormous problem. It might be a social problem, it might be an economical problem, but I don’t know how my degrees are going to apply for what I am doing now. I just know that there are a lot of problem solving and we got problems to solve.”

For every item sold, The Future Clothing’s business model allows them to donate proceeds or items to a child affected by the opioid crisis. The company’s merchandise features colorful shirts with inspirational messages to remind children of their future. 

“We want to let these kids know that they do have a future,” Linville said. “Many of them think they don’t because of what they seen and what they have been through. So, we send that message designed in to the clothing.”

So far, the company has partnered with Lily’s Place in Huntington, as well as NECCO, a child fostering organization that serves West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Georgia. If someone makes the purchase in West Virginia, the resources from the proceeds goes to a child in West Virginia.

“We are partnered with Lily’s Place,” Linville said. “We are really trying to focus on them first. I think we have the same attitude as them, if you are going to make a difference in a child’s life, why not start from the very minute they are born.”

Sadie Helmick can be contacted at [email protected].