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ELIJAH AND ELISHA HILL (Photo by Xavier A. Thomas)

Twin brothers and business owners, Elijah and Elisha Hill, are pounding the pavement as they bring “Levels Agency” to new heights as they take on new business ventures.

Their next upcoming event is the “Fashion at the Mueller” Pittsburgh Premier Fashion Show, happening July 28 at the Heinz History Center.

But what is the story behind their brand, and how did it come about?

Elijah and Elisha Hill, both 23 years old, were born and raised in Wilkinsburg by their mother, Anna Hill. Welcomed to the world five minutes apart, it’s Elijah who is the oldest. The two inseparable twins were known for their athletics.

“The basketball was practically glued to their hands,” Anna Hill said of her sons. “They loved basketball and were natural born stars. They still are stars, just now they are holding contracts and business deals in comparison to holding Spalding.”

Elijah and Elisha were stars on Wilkinsburg High School’s basketball team. Elisha told the New Pittsburgh Courier that in 2011, their team advanced to the semifinals of the WPIAL playoffs and the semis of the PIAA playoffs. Both Elijah and Elisha were 1,000-point scorers at Wilkinsburg.

“Towards the end of high school Elisha started applying to colleges/universities,” Elijah told the Courier. The twins graduated from high school in 2012. “He was accepted to Slippery Rock University, and the school offered my brother a full ride academic scholarship. Later when the school met up with my brother to accept the offer, they wound up offering me a full ride academic scholarship as well because we’re twins and we expressed wanting to go to college together.”

ELIJAH AND ELISHA HILL earned their undergraduate and MBA degrees from Slippery Rock University. The twins are pictured with their mother, Anna Hill.

The two went on to Slippery Rock University, still having full intentions of joining the university basketball team in pursuit of living their basketball dreams. The dream became blurry when the two decided to quit the team.

Elisha told the Courier that upon arriving at Slippery Rock, “it was just too much, balancing the team and going to school, and our grades were slipping.”

While Slippery Rock’s coach, Kevin Reynolds, never explicitly said it, according to Elisha, the young freshman felt that Reynolds didn’t view Elisha as having a sizable role on the team. “No bad blood or anything, it was our first semester, so we didn’t have a chance to establish a strong relationship with the coach. We kind of just walked,” Elisha said.

It was Elisha who left the basketball team first, then after a few more practices, Elijah left the team.

With collegiate basketball out the picture, the twins focused exclusively on their academics. Their grades improved. They came to learn the ins and outs of college life—something that, at first, was hard to navigate.

“In the beginning, it was hard because it was a cultural shock—going from the city to Slippery Rock, it was like going from a place with a bunch of buildings to more like a country town,” Elisha said. “And the schoolwork. It was more difficult. We weren’t used to that heavy workload. After our first year though, we breezed through the rest of the years.”

That also meant their first taste of partying—with no parents around, of course. But the twins took it to another level, attempting to throw their own party at Slippery Rock University a few years ago. They thought it would draw “50 people,” Elisha said.

Instead, it turned out to be more. Many more.

“Out of boredom, my brother and I decided to throw a party at the Ivy Club House. The party was a hit! It was the best party we experienced our whole time on campus,” Elijah said.

“Over 2,000 people showed up, it ended up turning into a big block party,” Elisha said. “We need to turn this into a business,” he told his brother, and after hearing a Meek Mill song entitled “Levels,” the name of the business was born—“Levels Agency.”

A MODEL walks the runway during Levels Agency’s “Fashion at the Foyer” show last year at the Carnegie Museum of Art. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

The twins have effectively “doubled” their impact—they soon graduated from Slippery Rock with undergraduate degrees in July 2016, while still growing their Levels Agency business. Taking it a step further, Elisha and Elijah enrolled into Slippery Rock’s MBA program and recently finished with their Master’s in Business Administration—Elisha has more of a marketing focus, while Elijah’s is more general-based.

Levels Agency’s first fashion show was held at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater (2016), followed by the Carnegie Museum of Art (2017).

To date, Levels Agency is now a team of six individuals. The upcoming fashion show at the Heinz History Center seems to be bigger and better than the previous year, as the July 28 event will feature 60 models, 12 designers, and near-sold-out ticket sales.

Tickets can be purchased at fashionatthemueller.eventbrite.com or at the door the night of the event.

“My brother and I, we’re strong-willed people,” Elisha said of their journey from Wilkinsburg, to Slippery Rock, to entrepreneurs. “We had our bumps of course, we had our rough patches here and there, but we had a strong mom who kept us guided and focused.”

And the twins’ advice to young people looking for the path to success? “Trust your struggle. Growing up, you’re going to lose friends, family members, people won’t like you, but the only thing that will remain true is that struggle. It’s something that’s always going to be there, just trust that process.”

 

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