PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (WBTW) — Connor and Ella Fata are hoping to expand their brand, XL-Ant Life, into stores along the Grand Strand. 

XL-Ant Life started as a pandemic project. Stuck inside their homes and overwhelmed by the negativity on social media, the Fatas decided to do something positive. 

“I just didn’t understand why there was so much negativity,” Connor Fata said. “I saw it as an opportunity for Ella and I to pursue this mission of trying to spread happiness and make people smile and make the world a better place.”

They launched their apparel brand, XL-Ant Life. The mission of the company is “to inspire happiness and positivity through playfulness and lighthearted humor.”

“It’s just a whole company about spreading positivity, uniting people and just helping everyone be happy and live life to the fullest,” Ella Fata said. 

The name is a play on words. The phrase “excellent life” has always been an inside joke in their family. 

“Our dad always said, ‘You should start a brand name, excellent life and inspire positivity and happiness,’” Connor Fata said. “Ella and I…were naturally positive in life and had a really positive outlook that was very contagious around the people we hung out with.”

From the phrase “excellent life” came the brand name ”XL-Ant Life.” Their logo design includes an ant. 

“You have the extra large ant, so it’s this big, buff ant who loves to go do whatever activity, and he is always happy, always smiling,” Ella Fata said. “Then we thought…XL-Ant. That just sounds like excellent.”

It started with t-shirts and hats, and now it has expanded into something bigger. 

“It’s really exciting seeing the growth. I never dreamed of selling anything more than shirts and hats,” Connor Fata said. “We’re looking into getting sweatpants soon. Maybe some shorts or swimming trunks next summer.”

After seeing the online store experience so much growth, they are hoping to expand their brand into local stores. 

“Our other goal is to get into at least three in-person stores,” Connor Fata said. “Three years from now, I wanna get into the retail stores like Target and Macys.”

They said they found the saying, “don’t go into business with family,” to not always be the best advice. 

“Growing up, my dad said never go into business with family and sure enough, Ella and I went into business together,” Connor Fata said. 

They both said that the adventure has done nothing but strengthen their relationship as siblings.

“I think my relationship with Ella has blossomed ever since we started,” Connor Fata said. “It’s made us so much closer and we appreciate each other so much more. Now, not only are we brother and sister, but we’re business partners.”