What is the goodest t-shirt ever? It’s the t-shirt that gives back! The t-shirt is made by You and Who, a company with a mission to help worthy causes in cities across the country. All t-shirts are made in the U.S. and feature one-of-a-kind designs from local artists. For every shirt they sell, they donate a matching shirt to someone in need.
With their mission to give back to those in need in cities across America, they knew they needed to move their operations back to the U.S. and help support American jobs (Maker’s Row helped them find this U.S. cut and sew contractor!). To make this possible, You and Who recently launched an Indiegogo Campaign.
We spoke with Dan Gigante, founder of You and Who, all about his campaign to help those in need while bringing back ‘Made in America’:
Can you tell us a little about You and Who and what inspired you to start the line?
TOMS was definitely my inspiration for the model – I remember in the fall of 2009 watching a video interview of Blake Mycoskie explaining TOMS and I had the idea immediately for what would become You and Who. In the fall of 2010 I left the Web Development company I had founded 10 years prior to that to jump full time into You and Who and I haven’t looked back since.
How do you pick out the designs you use for the t-shirts?
We’ve had 3 themes so far – one each year. For instance, as You and Who was just getting started, we chose the theme “New Beginnings” for our first delivery of shirts. We then reach out to artists in the cities we work with and invite them to submit their interpretations of the theme. We have been very lucky that some of the most talented artists in the country have their designs featured on You and Who shirts.
Why did you decide to manufacturer in America?
The idea to switch to American-made shirts has been floating around for a while. But, the horrific collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh back in April was really the tipping point. Our shirts weren’t made there, but it really woke me up to the true cost of cheap clothing. Plus, You and Who’s mission has always been to help those in need in the USA. I realized that if we truly want to make good on that promise, then our shirts have to be made here as well.
Where is your factory located?
The fabric we will be using is sourced at a factory in North Carolina. From there, it will go to our cut & sew factory in Allentown, PA then sent to our dyeing factory in Shoemakersville, PA, then back to Allentown to put our tags on. Then to our HQ in Buffalo for printing and shipping out to consumers.
What has been the biggest reward with keeping production in the U.S.?
It really completes us – with our focus being on helping people in the U.S. now we can feel good knowing that we also support US jobs all throughout our supply chain.
Can you tell us the most challenging thing you have faced?
By far our challenge has been exposure, getting the word out. People love our mission and our shirts – the quality and designs, but not enough people know about what we do. (And just wait – our shirts are about to be even better – softer and higher quality!)
What advice could you give to brands about producing in America?
Give yourself more time than you think you need! This actually isn’t specific to producing in America, though there are some cases where it will take a little longer to make sure your materials or services you’re using are produced in America.
Help support You and Who in their Indiegogo Camapaign!