If you buy one of Liberty & Justice’s nice new T-shirts, you’ll be doing a good thing for children in Liberia: sending them to school dressed in a uniform.
Liberty & Justice, a fair-trade apparel maker, has launched UNIFORM, a variation on the 1-for-1 model popularized by Toms Shoes. For every purchase, it donates $5 to $10 to make a new school outfit at the same factory where it produces the shirts. Just a few days into its Kickstarter campaign, the company already sold thousands of units and paid for thousands of uniforms.
See its pitch here:
The New York-based company started the new brand out of desperation, says CEO Chid Liberty. During the Ebola crisis, none of its normal clients wanted to do business with the factory, and it was eventually forced to close it anyway for health reasons. Liberty & Justice was struggling to pay the wages of its 303 workers there. So, it came up with an alternative way of getting orders: direct sales. By buying one of the T-shirts, you’re not only helping the children, but also helping the Liberia economy, which has been ravaged by the outbreak.
There are two T-shirts on offer. The first is a triple-blend of 63% Lyocell (a type of cellulosic fiber), 30% nylon, and 7% silk, which costs $48. The other is made from pure African cotton and costs $28. Deducting $5-$10 for the uniform is a “big chunk” says Liberty, but he rationalizes it as an alternative form of marketing.
“We say ‘why don’t we take our marketing budget and do good in the world’,” he says. “People won’t know us because we have beautiful catalogs, but because we put 6,000 kids in schools.”