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Motor City Match awardee empowers local entrepreneurs

Jan 9, 2019

Trellis Mercer wasn’t satisfied launching his own successful fashion company in Detroit. The local entrepreneur is now helping others start clothing brands in the city as well. Mercer is owner and founder of Love Life Swagger, a premium streetwear brand offering high-quality clothing with in-house design and light manufacturing.

Next month, Mercer will be teaching an interactive course for up-and-coming local entrepreneurs interested in starting a fashion/textile business. In this accelerated 5-hour boot camp students will learn what they need to get started in the industry, including business plan writing, funding, manufacturing, wholesaling and distribution. At the conclusion of the class, one lucky student will receive a free e-commerce website hosted by Shopify and designed by Love Life Swagger’s own in-house design team.

DEGC helped Mercer on his journey from vision to open. He was a Motor City Match Round 6 winner, receiving a $30,000 cash award. Since then, Mercer has opened a store at 227 Gratiot Ave. He also runs an active online clothier at

Helping others is part of Mercer’s DNA. Last year, his company hired three interns as part of the city’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent initiative. The program paired 33 interns with 22 Motor City Match businesses for a six-week paid internship. Not only did the internships provide young Detroiters with good paying jobs, but it also addressed two critical issues – helping business owners find and keep staff and creating interest in small-business ownership among young Detroiters.

Mercer is a great example of the pay-it-forward mentality of many of Motor City Matchs’ winners. A number of these businesses, such as PizzaPlex, SpaceLab, and Slyde, host educational workshops for their communities or mentor other entrepreneurs through programs like SCORE. Others, such as The Commons, serve their community by providing an open space for residents or various community group meetings and gatherings on Detroit’s east side.

Mercer said he is proud to give back to the neighborhood and is committed to helping build a thriving retail landscape in Detroit.

“The city is filled with talented and creative young entrepreneurs that just need a little help getting started in business,” said Mercer. “The bigger our retail community gets, the better it is for owners and shoppers.”

Love Life Swagger Boot Camp

  • Feb. 2, 2019 – 9:00 a.m.
  • 227 Gratiot Ave, Detroit MI, 48226

Five things you should know about the DEGC:

  1. On Jan. 15th, DEGC in partnership with Chemical Bank will host a Pre-Rehabilitation Opportunity Session (PROS) for Detroit-based contractors seeking construction opportunities in the city.
  2. MCM Awardee, Dymond Designs Beauty School is now accepting applications for full-time and part-time cosmetology classes. Apply here.
  3. Michigan Economic Development Corporation recently received Business Facilities Magazine’s Deal of the Year bronze award for Ford’s acquisition of Michigan Central Train Station. Congratulations to all involved!
  4. Detroit cracked the top 10 on W Magazine’s list of 13 destinations to visit in 2019. We’re one of only two U.S. cities featured!
  5. Motor City Match Round 15 and Motor City Match Round 7 applications are open through Jan. 11.

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