Branded t-shirts account for 3.6 billion dollars annually in our industry alone (ppai.org), and whatever the purpose, each is tied to an emotion that stays with the t-shirt long after its initial purpose is over. To show you the power a tee can pack, we thought we’d share a few stories from a few of our promo friends. Heads up – you may never look at one the same way again.
CREATING SOCIAL CHANGE: After the tragedy of 9/11, a few people in Raleigh, North Carolina felt a pull to do something, but they weren’t sure quite what that was. Ultimately, an organization was formed, using live music as their platform to create social change in their community. Every year they select a local non-profit to support, and they raise money for that organization through a variety of channels. They close out the year each summer with a main event; a concert at a local venue complete with a silent auction, good beer and great food from local vendors and breweries, and much more. As it’s grown, over 300 volunteers are needed to make this event happen, and each volunteer receives (among other perks as a big thanks for their time) a branded t-shirt. Since 2001, they have raised over $10 million supporting 18 non-profits. Every time one of the volunteers puts that t-shirt on, or even simply sees it in their closet, it’s a reminder that they were a part of something that helped change thousands of lives because of their efforts.
FIGHTING CHILDHOOD CANCER: Ten years ago, a few Kansas City natives, who just so happened to go on to be some pretty well known celebrities, wanted to use their success to give back to the place they call home. Also the home of one of America’s best children’s hospitals, the not-for-profit Children’s Mercy, what began as a charitable poker tournament with a few of their celebrity friends has evolved into an organization that has raised over $10 million for pediatric cancer research to date. Six years ago, a local KC screen-printer designed a logo for the cause, and those t-shirts are printed and sold to the public for one month prior to their annual main event. 100% of the proceeds from all sales go directly to Children’s Mercy, and at $100 a pop, those sales alone have raised close to $500,000 dollars to date.
GETTING PERSONAL: Just as every t-shirt has a story, we all have our stories, and these are only two of the hundreds of thousands that can be told of how t-shirts are used to raise money for the greater good. Many could argue, however, that a single tee for a single individual can make just as great of an impact; and often, a greater one.
You see a girl in line at Starbucks wearing a kelly green t-shirt with big black letters that read #TEAMJANINE, and most likely, think nothing of it. What you don’t know is that five years ago, 30 people at a local CrossFit gym made these to rally around one of their own when she was diagnosed with cancer. She’s wearing it today because Janine happens to be her best friend, and today, she was officially declared cancer free.
A guy at the bar is wearing a Devner Broncos t-shirt in the middle of April, and to you, he’s just a guy wearing a Broncos shirt. What you don’t know is that’s the tee he wore to the last Broncos game he would ever attend with his dad, and when he put it on that morning, emotions ran high as the memories of that game with his dad, who has since passed, came flooding in.
Somewhere else, in another Starbucks line or another bar in the middle of April, a girl is wearing an eye-catching printed t-shirt; no words, just an imprint. What you don’t know is it’s the shirt she bought when she and 14 of her best girlfriends took the trip of a lifetime to Spain. Some of them hadn’t seen each other in years, and every time she puts it on, those incredible memories are brought to life all over again.
Stay tuned for more of our education series, where we’ll take deep dives into the various art files and coloring systems mentioned, as well as decorating methods, apparel fabrics, and so much more as our capabilities to amplify your image continue to evolve.
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