26 Shirts is ready to take the next step.
What was originally conceived in November 2013 to be a one-year, Buffalo-minded community service project, has taken on a life of its own and raised over $219,000 for needy families and foundations in three different cities.
As this website continues to NOT be a t-shirt website that helps people, but a website that helps people through t-shirts, we've come to a tipping point. We're at the point now where, if we want to continue to follow the path that appears to be so obviously laid before us, we need to start thinking bigger.
As you know, we currently operate in Buffalo, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and (almost) Cincinnati... But did you know that we've also been reached out to by people in Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Kansas City, NY/NJ, Oregon, Philadelphia, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington, DC?
The national demand is there, and we want to meet it. There's people in need that can benefit from our unique fundraising model of selling sports-related tees that give back to the community and we want to implement it for them.
But this "next step" is about more than just expansion into new markets. We know we can do a better job of getting the word out about what we do in the four cities we're currently committed to. So many people -- even here in Buffalo, where we're based -- have no idea we exist. That needs to change.
But if 26 Shirts is going to undertake any kind of growth, we're going to need resources to do it.
That's where you come in.
Tomorrow, we're launching a campaign called "March Forward" to raise money towards expanding our operation.
For five consecutive weeks, we're going to offer a unique, limited edition product that will serve as a fundraising device to help us obtain the funding we've identified that we need.
We'll unveil each product when its given week arrives.
Our Week 1 "March Forward" product: 26 Shirts logo hats. We've partnered with New Era and they'll be available as 3930s or 5950s. Here's the cool part... 35 random customers will have their hats arrive signed by one of the following athletes:
- Joe Delamielleure
- Jim Kelly
- Pete Metzelaars
- Fred Smerlas
- Darryl Talley
- Thurman Thomas
- Eric Wood
We still have a few asks out there waiting for replies, so if any other athletes get added to the above list during the week, we'll be sure to let you know!
That's the kind of angle we're going to take with these 5 different products. Each one will have a fun element of randomness to it.
Please keep in mind, we're not suspending operation for a month while we do this. We'll still be raising money to help families in Buffalo, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. Don't stop purchasing those shirts! We're hoping you'll go above and beyond and, basically, INVEST in our operation so that we can make a bigger difference in more people's lives.
I always say that the reason 26 Shirts has been successful is because so many people believe in and play a part in its mission. It's not just Dan and me. It's every customer, artist, sponsor, and social media friend helping spread the word. So, from the bottom of my heart: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I love you guys.
Now let's March Forward and continue to change the game. Together.