First things first, you guys have been amazing. I remember sitting at a Starbucks in Huntington, WV, making the original posts to announce that our store was up and running. I'd posted it as an experiment with the goal of completely subsidizing the cost of a camping trip for 20 kids from Chicago. I knew that if we could do that, it'd give us the validation necessary to pursue the vision further. Before I went to bed that night, you'd already bought so many shirts that we had to expand the trips we sponsored. What started as a sponsorship for kindergarten through second graders ended up expanding to kindergarten to fifth grade before the weekend was over.
From there, we gained massive exposure in what looked like genius product placement. In reality, Dwayne wore our Camp Tee in "Welcome to the 4th Grade," because I mailed it to him when I heard the first rough edit the week before shooting began. There was no seeking him out through an agent or influencer marketing firm. We'd met volunteering as camp counselors with Inner City Impact. Realistically, no marketing firm could've done a better job. Dwayne is an educator when rapping. The partnership fit like a glove.
Within 6 months of our first tee, we broke into the world of cut&sew. For those of you without a fashion background, that is insane growth. It's typically at least 3 years to go from tees to full custom products. The process to make an oxford is so much involved than we'd ever imagined. I never went to fashion school so I had an insanely steep learning curve. Your support made it possible.
To break it down to raw numbers, in our first year
-50 much needed school uniforms were provided to the kids of Cicero Public Schools
-50 pairs of winter gloves warmed the hands of kids from inner city Chicago
And our proudest accomplishment
-100 kids from under-resourced environments went camping overnight because of your purchases!
I want you to know that this is completely abnormal for a company making slow growth decisions. That term means we put in extra due diligence when researching our factories. We follow the trail all the way to the beginning on our sourcing. We investigate any possible partners to an almost creepy level. BUT we do these things because we love you guys! We know you deserve the best possible product. We do not take it lightly when you choose to spend your hard earned dollars supporting our mission.