Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Not Your Regular T-Shirt Business


One of the challenges for charitable organizations large and small is to get potential donors to feel the need for help in an immediate and personal way. By selling t-shirts imprinted with the stories of the specific individuals in need of assistance, Rosa Loves raises the necessary funds while also giving donors a tangible connection with the people they have helped.

Each Rosa Loves t-shirt is created to help a specific person, family or community, and 60 percent of its sales go directly to providing that assistance. The story of those in need is told on each t-shirt through not just a graphical design on the outside, but also a written description of that story on the shirt's inside, just over the wearer's heart. T-shirts are hand-numbered and created in limited runs; once the needed amount has been raised for a particular cause, Rosa Loves stops printing and selling the associated t-shirt. A series of t-shirts over the holidays, for example, was designed to provide holiday meals to 10 families in the St. Augustine, Florida, area, where Rosa Loves is based. In just two weeks, the shirts sold out and Rosa Loves had enough funds to supply the needed meals.

The site's founders explain: "It's usually thoughts like, 'those people over there,' that perpetuate a sense of complacency and lack of concern. Rosa Loves wants to shed light on the stories around us, to give them a real face, a real name."

Rosa Loves was founded in 2006, and is still operating with just a part-time staff. But there's no arguing with its success stories.

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