FORT MYERS, Fla.- Wear The Fund is a local t-shirt printing company with a unique business plan- a percentage of the profits are automatically donated to charity.
Founder Sam Lewis says screen printing t-shirts wasn't always his dream, but it was to make a difference. "I woke up one night (during college) and couldn't go back to sleep and I had an epiphany that this is what I wanted to do. I want to have a t-shirt company that gives back. I really believe it's the future of retail," he says,
Lewis, who grew up in Fort Myers, along with his brother, began the social start-up company which began in their garage and has now moved into a warehouse. "We give back a set percentage of every transaction we do and it goes back to one of our 11 non-profit partners, and the customer gets to choose."
Those partners include the Foundation for Lee County Schools, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida to name a few.
Angela Katz at Ronald McDonald House says, "when he first presented the idea to us it was pretty unusual, especially someone of this generation as a new business owner, already giving back a percentage of proceeds to non-profits, it's really exciting and was actually breathtaking." She says in the first year, Wear The Fund donated more than $1,000 to Ronald McDonald House, allowing them to house 150 families for a one night stay at the facility.
It its first year of business, Wear The Fund gave back $7,000 to its charity partners. Lewis hopes to inspire other aspiring business owners to adopt a give-back model.
The company sells its own retail brand online, and also does custom screen printing orders. 20% of retail orders goes to charity and 10% of custom screen printing orders goes to the charity partners.
Lewis says the bottom line isn't the profit, it's all about giving back and supporting the charity partners.
For more information, visit www.wearthefund.com.