Uniforms might not enhance any athletic ability, but they do add a layer of confidence. Through tryouts and pre-season practices, waiting to take a knee and hear what number your coach assigns you is one of the most anticipated moments in a child’s sporting career. That uniform symbolizes that you’ve earned your spot.
Farm Team Apparel wants to help more kids experience that sportsman’s right of passage. Their mission is to provide under funded youth sports programs with freshly designed uniform-like shirts.
Here’s how it works: Go to the website and pick your favorite faux farm team. Maybe you like the design or maybe the elaborate fake back-story? Whatever draws your support for one team or another, you then buy the high quality t-shirt. For each stylishly silly shirt sold, FTA will then donate a custom-designed shirt (printing a REAL team logo) to a selected youth program.
So, will you be a Kansas City Croutons fan or rooting for the Cheektowaga Thunderweasels? Based on t-shirt sales performance, the Thunderweasels have been dominating the league for quite sometime. They have the broadest fan base, from WNY and across the U.S. to London and Singapore.
This creative concept originally started out as a joke among close friends. As Dan Greene, Patrick Lewis and Ashley Lewis found themselves driving back and forth from New York City to Buffalo for weddings and other homecomings, they had a lot of time to spend in the car conjuring up fantasy farm team names with ridiculous back stories.
Shortly after teams were established, and popularity was growing among friends and family, the three friends found their way back to Buffalo. It was then that Dan, Patrick, and Ashley decided to really invest the time needed to make Farm Team Apparel more than just a running punch line. Since the launch in November 2013, Farm Team Apparel has evolved into a solid do-gooder’s business model.
To-date, they have supplied hundreds of uniforms to youths in many cities, including, a squash and tutoring program in Detroit, a health and soccer program in Chicago, and an after school community center in Buffalo.
What also sets this t-shirt company apart from the many others is the interactive component. What began as an “inside joke” has become a very inclusive and engaging activity for customers.
FTA is currently running their second “T-Shirt Bracket” tournament. Fans can vote for which farm teams should face off against each other to compete for top seed standing. Currently, there are 6 designs (teams) to choose from seen here.
In mid-March, there will be a launch party to share the results and announce the tournament winner (check website for details).
There is no denying that Farm Team Apparel is having fun with their detailed story telling and antics along the way, however, it isn’t to overshadow the fact they’re focused on the bigger picture and seriously contributing to a worthy cause.