Local T-Shirt Company Supports Nonprofit Efforts
Wearing your pride on your sleeve is a common attribute for many Columbus residents. Spotting someone wearing a tshirt sporting an Ohio flag, Columbus nickname or the outline of our state’s shape is a pretty common event, as there are many local companies that are producing shirts to accommodate that market. But Columbus Love wants your shirt to mean something more than just pride — they want your shirt to represent tangible support for the work of nonprofit businesses in the community.
We spoke recently with Ian Smith, an OSU senior and founder of Columbus Love to find out more about their story:
Q: First, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background as it relates to Columbus Love?
A: I was originally born in Columbus but moved to Cincinnati at a young age and was raised there. I was so drawn to the city of Columbus upon graduating high school that I couldn’t help but to enroll as a student at Ohio State. I love the city of Columbus and believe each resident has their own love story as it relates to the city. Maybe they discovered their true passion in Columbus… maybe they found their spouse here or started a business here… whatever the case may be, I wanted to create an organization that took this amazing spirit and funneled it toward local charities that work behind the scenes to make our city better.
Q: What got you interested specifically in launching Columbus Love?
A: This is my 5th year living in Columbus and I have come to realize the amazing local spirit that resides throughout the city. The people of Columbus truly enjoy supporting one another through buying local and supporting local small businesses. However even in the midst of such an awesome community some organizations continue to go unrecognized and these tend to be smaller non-profits. I co-founded Columbus Love in an effort to provide the people of Columbus an easy channel to give back. Some larger organizations do a great job in raising thousands of dollars to donate to charity, however, this donation normally comes in the form of a check. The vision of Columbus Love is not to write a check to donate but to work alongside these non-profits and charities and create a community project together that will support the city’s growth.
Q: How do the shirt sales support the local community?
A: Out of every t-shirt sold, the majority of profits will be set aside and donated to a different non-profit each month. Each month we are partnering with a different local non-profit to both raise awareness for the cause they support and to raise funds that will be used to support a local community project. These projects will be supported in collaboration between both Columbus Love and the non-profit we partner with. This month we are partnering with the Columbus Community Kitchen and are currently in the planning phase of announcing the details of our local project as well as the date the project will be held. The idea here is that Columbus Love is not simply cutting a check to a different charity each month; we are actually working alongside these charities and using our funds to support their efforts. In this way, a person’s t-shirt purchase may literally be funding the costume of a child in a local community play, etc.
Q: With so many existing Columbus-centric and Ohio-centric shirt companies, how are you standing out from the rest?
A: There is no denying the recent spike in Ohio t-shirt designs and companies. There are many shirts that exist that say “Ohio” on them or have a huge outline of the state of Ohio. We at Columbus Love believe having pride for the state of Ohio is important; furthermore we believe supporting the local community here in Columbus is the most direct and effective way to support our state. By wearing a Columbus Love t-shirt each supporter is making a statement that they not only love their city but they have made the choice to give back and provide direct support towards its growth. Columbus Love is different because we take the funds created from t-shirt sales and work alongside local charities to plan and host projects that will move our city forward. We are the hidden jewel of the midwest and will continue to be that jewel the more we continue to support one another.
Q: Your website only shows one type of shirt for sale — do you have plans to launch additional designs?
A: Yes. We are currently working on launching new designs and different apparel offerings that will aid to the upcoming cold season. At this point our focus has been on spreading our mission, vision and brand… thus we do not plan on bringing our new design ideas to production until our brand and organization has gained traction. However, the seasons of Ohio do move swift and are sometimes overbearing therefore it can be expected that our apparel offerings will expand in the near future.
Q: Are you looking for additional nonprofit businesses to partner with?
A: We are currently looking to collaborate with different non-profits in the coming months and are open to discussion for additional collaboration opportunities. Any non-profits or charities interested in reaching out or learning more are welcome to contact me directly at [email protected].
For more information, visit columbuslove.co.