A week into its first foray into crowdfunding, local buy-one give-one t-shirt company, You and Who, finds itself in an interesting position. On one hand, you could say the social good company is well on its way to success, having raised over 44% ($11,091 as of 6:00pm on Tuesday night) of its $25,000 goal in just under a week, with almost four weeks left to go. On the other hand, the company has wound up in a bit of a “horse latitudes” (see The Doors) in the crowdfunding cycle. Contributions have slowed considerably, and almost all of You and Who’s “staff” (namely, owner Dan Gigante, his girlfriend Katie, an intern and a few suitemates) connections have already donated.
In case you don’t know, You and Who is a buy-one give-one t-shirt company based right here in Buffalo. For every shirt they sell, a matching shirt (or meals, if the buyer designates) is donated to someone in need. Think TOMS Shoes meets Threadless. They donate to over 90 organizations spread across 40 U.S. cities and have worked with over 100 artists from those 40 cities to design their shirts.
On October 9, they launched a campaign through crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo. If successful, the funds raised will allow them to fulfill a goal set in motion back in April: to produce their own shirt that is cut, sewn and dyed right here in the U.S.A. All the printing and distribution of the shirts happens in Buffalo. It’s really less of a fundraising campaign and more of a pre-sale – a $40 contribution will get you one of the new Made in the USA shirts with your choice from any of their 100+ designs on it. Contribute $75 and get 2 shirts, or $50 for a special shirt only available through the campaign.
In a city that prides itself so much on how much it prides itself, the fact that a company from Buffalo with such an earnest and socially-conscious mission, an owner who is so active in the community, a product as beautifully designed and comfortable (and MAN, are they ever comfortable) as You and Who, should struggle in a project that is so tailor-made (pun intended) for its key publics is unimaginable. Without batting an eye, this city has sent a Buffalo-based documentary and any number of blog posts from local residents professing their love for the Queen City viral beyond comprehension through Facebook and Twitter. Why, then, can’t that same constituency put on their rally caps for You and Who?
The answer is: it can. And, it ought to. So, enough of the guilt trip. Here’s how you can help:
- First, go to: www.igg.me/at/youandwho. This is You and Who’s campaign site on Indiegogo.
- Look around. If you like what you see, you can afford to contribute and you want to, then by all means, contribute!
- If you like what you see and you can’t afford to contribute, but still want to help, then copy the link from #1 and share it with everyone it is within your human ability to share it with.
- As a matter of fact, share it either way. Tweet it. Facebook it. Write a blog post about it. Tattoo it (somewhere tasteful). Anything and everything you can do to help is appreciated beyond all estimation.
- If you don’t like what you see, then thank you for reading this far.
The $25,000 is great, and it could certainly get the ball rolling, but You and Who is actually aiming much higher than that. Crowdfunding campaigns run on hype, so the company that constantly has something to hype about their campaign is the company that decimates their goal. You and Who purposely set theirs low, so that they would hit it quickly. Hitting it quickly attracts attention, and attention begets more attention. Buffalo Rising is doing our part by running this story.