GOOD

Here's How Your Old T-Shirts Can Create Jobs

When you are done with college you get a degree, lifelong friends, time management skills and a whole lot of t-shirts.

When you're done with college you get a degree, lifelong friends, time management skills, and a whole lot of t-shirts. A t-shirt for the basketball game, for your student club, for a party, or for community service events. They become your scrapbook—representing your highs, lows, mistakes, and triumphs.

This is why it made sense for us last summer to go to a school like Harvard, and propose that we turn all those Harvard branded t-shirts into upcycled tote bags that can be given out to alumni. Not only are the bags not adding more waste to the textile stream, but they're also creating fair wage work in the USA.

Our pitch fell on deaf ears, just like it did at many other schools. They were used to a price that could only be offered in the far east, where the cost of labor is 90 percent lower than U.S. wages. We learned that universities want to be green, but are addicted to fast fashion prices. Instead, at Harvard reunions they passed out a hat, with a big “Made in China” tag on it.

While America’s t-shirt production has almost entirely gone overseas, we at Project Repat saw an opportunity to create fair wage jobs out of people’s sentimentality around their shirts.

There is a lot of talk now about re-shoring, and bringing jobs back to the U.S., but it’s hard to translate broad sweeping policy talk with tangible ways for all of us to help. A lot of times in the very undefined "social enterprise" sector, something that seems like a good idea, isn't something people will actually buy. While it was difficult for us to get universities to pay for U.S. labor, we felt the American consumer would appreciate knowing that their clothes were made responsibly.

We also heard from customers that they wanted something made from their t-shirts. We liked the tote bags option, but it wasn’t something consumers were really looking for. The terms "t-shirt quilts" and "t-shirt blankets’’, however, get more than 70,000 monthly searches. With these items, we found a way to simplify our production process to make them more affordable to the customer.

And apparently there was a lot of demand for a t-shirt blanket—surprising news to two boys in their late 20s. In the past year, we have sold over $750,000 worth of custom t-shirt blankets.




Rather than creating a one for one model, we wanted to integrate our social mission into the business. When someone buys from us they know they are turning some of the six billion t-shirts sold each year—made in the developing world—into fair wage jobs in the USA.

This past winter, we learned that our friend Brenna Schneider, was starting 99 Degrees Custom, a custom apparel manufacturing business with a social mission. Not only would she pay fair wages, but she was also planning to create a workplace that encouraged collaboration in a healthy environment. We felt our customers would appreciate Brenna’s work, and would want to see more textile jobs repatriated, so we partnered. We know how hard it is to get your first investment, so we decided to give 99 Degrees Custom cash up front to kickstart her business.



Now, through our Kickstarter campaign, we're giving you the opportunity to join us, and give her more orders so she can hire more workers and create a stronger middle class. This way you’ll also get a first crack at some of the new products we’re working on. Let’s show that Americans want to support fair wage jobs in the USA.

This project will be featured in GOOD's Saturday series Push for Good—our guide to crowdfunding creative progress.

Add Crowdfunding to your To-Do list here and check out GOOD's Guide to Crowdfunding Creative Progress.

Articles
Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

Keep Reading Show less
Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

This election cycle, six women threw their hat in the ring for president, but is their gender holding them back? Would Americans feel comfortable with a woman leading the free world? Based on the last election, the answer is a swift no. And a new study backs this up. The study found that only 49% of American men would feel very comfortable with a woman serving as the head of the government. By comparison, 59% of women said they would feel comfortable with a woman in charge.

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership, which measures attitude towards women leaders, evaluated the attitudes of those living in the G7 countries as well as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. 22,000 adults in those 11 countries were surveyed on their attitudes about female leadership in 22 different sectors, including government, fashion, technology, media, banking and finance, education, and childcare.

Only two countries, Canada and the U.K., had a majority of respondents say they would be more comfortable with a female head of state. Germany (which currently has a female Chancellor), Japan, and Russia were the countries least comfortable with a female head of state.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture