Souldier announces merchandise partnership with Notre Dame

Published 5:26 pm Thursday, December 28, 2023

NILES — A local lifestyle brand is partnering with the University of Notre Dame to produce a new merchandise line.

Souldier, a Niles-based manufacturer, has announced its production of ND-branded merchandise, including bags, belts and guitar straps. The new line of merchandise will be available at the Notre Dame Bookstore in South Bend as well as Souldier’s new flagship store at 223 N. 4th St., Niles beginning next month.

​​Founded in 2005 in Chicago, Souldier produces custom goods including fretted instrument straps, dog and cat collars, saddle straps, purses and more using primarily upcycled materials. 

Souldier has reached an international audience, with recording artists like Chris Stapleton, Taylor Swift, Tom Petty and Panic! At The Disco sporting the brand.

“It’s a complete honor to be making products for Notre Dame,” said Souldier owner Jen Tabor. “I am honored that they find our products worthy of carrying their brand. There is a level of quality associated with Notre Dame and we’re happy to be part of their family.”

The initial merchandise launch will consist of:

  • Two recycled seatbelt messenger bags – one green, one navy blue
  • Two guitar straps – one featuring the classic ND logo on navy, one similar to a hockey jersey
  • A leather belt with the ND logo
  • Two leather bags – a “Stadium Clutch” (small carry-all with ND lining) and a full leather messenger bag with ND lining and exterior branding.

Tabor approached Notre Dame about licensing three years ago and has spent the past year and a half co-designing products with the ND licensing team. Souldier plans to work with ND to expand the merchandise line and create new collections in the future.

“I knew that we were going to be establishing roots in the area and wanted to solidify relationships with the local university and businesses,” Tabor said. “Everything is hand-cut, sewn and finished in our shop in Niles.”

Tabor purchased the Star Building from Leader Publications in October 2022. The building currently houses Beauty Bar 201, Groove School and Souldier’s manufacturing facility and will soon house Souldier’s flagship store that will sell those items and more. Tabor hosted a sneak peak of the store earlier this month and is excited to see her dream for the building take shape.

“It’s great to see progress happen,” she said. “I have a big vision for this space and the brand. We’re still working to achieve that. Progress creates more encouragement. This flagship store is a dream 18 years in the making.”