By Griffin Nelson
In the past decade or so, the small business industry in the Augusta area has grown exponentially. But as we all know, at the beginning of March this year, COVID-19 and the precautionary measures that had to be instituted to prevent its spread threatened to shutter many of those businesses that we have come to hold so dear. Whether they’ve been open since the 1800s or are brand new, many businesses have had to restructure, change hours or availability, send staff home or shut down for the time being.
In an impressively quick and generous response, the team behind Showpony and its sister company Wier/Stewart came up with a genius plan: Design T-shirts for as many local small businesses as they could, sell them online to minimize person-to-person contact, produce at cost using a local screen printer, and give all the proceeds to the business each T-shirt represents. To date, the company has designed 66 shirts and raised more than $75,000 for local businesses.
“It’s just a small way that we hope we can help them out,” says Sean Mooney, director of merchandise at Showpony. “It really is a team effort.”
While Wier/Stewart designed the stunning website for the project, titled “We Give a Shirt,” in addition to each of the unique and modern T-shirt designs, Showpony handles production, merchandising and shipping of the high-quality, ultra-soft, unisex T-shirts.
With more than 150 businesses from as far away as Atlanta requesting designs, and because they want to support as many businesses as possible, the team has to have a minimum of 50 pre-orders of each design before they can be printed. Each shirt design is live on the website for just seven days to allow each business the opportunity to shine. New designs are added every Tuesday and Friday for pre-order, and no extra shirts are being made. That means each T-shirt is limited edition, there is zero waste and every extra penny can benefit the business associated with that design.
As a community, we can’t afford to wait to support the businesses we love so much. Whether you’re ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant, picking up items curbside from retail markets you’d normally browse, or purchasing a T-shirt online through Showpony, now is the time to show our local businesses that we support them and want to see them through this difficult time!
Find each T-shirt design at wegiveashirt.showpony.co, and check back regularly for new designs from your favorite small businesses, including Hildebrandt’s, Funk You Music and Bedford Greenhouses.
Photos provided by Showpony