If you’re anything like me, you own a lot of Detroit T-shirts. But who benefits other than the T-shirt companies?
Recently, I noticed a website that was working with Detroit Soup. It was creating these great Soup shirts, and I wanted one. But it also got me wondering – who was behind these cool designs? Who was Hold onto Hope and why were they making shirts together?
Luckily, Abbey Ehn took pity on me and agreed to describe the founding company (Live Love Michigan), its offshoot (Hold onto Hope) and its work with Michigan non-profit organizations such as Detroit Soup. Now, I’ll be able to say that when I’m wearing my new togs, I’m giving back. I’ll be the proudest suburban mom with hipster credibility on the block.
Q: What is the basic description of Live Love Michigan?
A: Live Love Michigan is a clothing company designed at showing how much we (and our customers) love this great State! LLM was started in April 2013, when Jake Prusakiewicz decided to put his love of graphic design to work into a market that would really let him do what he was passionate about: supporting Michigan.
Q: Why did you start Hold onto Hope?
A: Hold on to Hope was started in November when I partnered up with Jake to achieve his dream of creating “feel good clothing” that gave back to the communities and organizations that put their mission to work every day making Michigan a better, stronger place. The best part of Hold on to Hope is that through the sales of the shirts, we are able to give back 50 percent of our profits to the organization we are partnered with, from each of the campaigns we run. It’s our way to support and help sustain some really great organizations that truly are making a difference in the lives of Michiganders one person at a time.
Q: Who is using it so far? Are they all here or around the country/world?
A: So far, we’ve run campaigns with Toys for Tots (the Lansing chapter), The Life as a Zebra Foundation, Excellence for Detroit and currently, Detroit SOUP. We have more partners, and will run their campaigns later this year, in the Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association, The Ann Arbor Hands On Museum, and the Baldwin Center. We are ALWAYS looking for new non-profits to partner with! Each of these organizations will get a two-week campaign with us where they will earn 50 percent back on their sales. They are also given the opportunity to partner with us for the year where they will earn 25 percent back year long in their custom store on our site. Because our mission is to support Michigan, we only want to partner with non-profits that have an immediate support base in our state. It can be a national non-profit, but we want to make sure that the organization is supporting locals.
Q: Why do such a program now?
A: Why not!? We’re a new company and we want people to know what we’re all about. We’ve had success with Live Love Michigan and that has allowed us to fund this Hold on to Hope Campaign so early, but Jake always has had the idea of a company set out to give back and participate in the small business/shop local market. This is the perfect way for us to do both. We can be that small business that creates clothing designed to show our Love of Michigan, while we give back to organizations that support so much of our state.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish?
A: I think that you’ll get a different answer when you as me, or Jake, but for myself, I hope to make a difference in the world. I love nothing more than Michigan and helping people. And through this campaign, I’m able to do both by reaching out to our communities and people who do some serious work for different groups of people, and I’m able to offer them an opportunity at a little extra money for their organization so that they can continue their fight to make the lives of individuals and Michigan better.