Hartford-based idleWilde Printing Co. has partnered with local businesses to raise funds for non-profit organizations. The CommuniTEE Initiative, an online marketplace for t-shirts launched in late April, gives small business owners an opportunity to promote a two-week pre-sale campaign for a custom printed t-shirt. The proceeds from each t-shirt sold go back to the business, with a portion being donated to a non-profit organization of their choice. In the first week alone, the online store has sold more than $10,000 in t-shirts.
“A large portion of our business was focused on selling custom t-shirts and apparel to restaurants, breweries, touring bands, concerts, and events. Beginning in late March, most of our clients put any orders on hold due to the pandemic, explains ” says Connor Millican, co-owner of idleWilde Printing Co.
“We came up with a way to offer a new solution, which enables us to print only the shirts that have been sold and takes away the risk on struggling businesses, while helping them raise funds.”
The pre-sale campaign that sparked the idea for the CommuniTEE Initiative began with Bristol’s Firefly Hollow Brewing Company. The brewery partnered with digital marketing company Wildmint media to come up with a “Pandemic T-shirt” featuring latex-gloved hands and a glass of beer. Over 100 shirts were sold and a portion of the proceeds went back to the Connecticut Hospitality Employee Relief Fund, along with raising funds for the brewery and the artist.
idleWilde has since created pre-sale campaigns for businesses including Blue Earth Compost, Rebel Dog Coffee Company, Dirt Floor Recording & Production, Jaime La Jones, Craftbird Food Truck, The Penniless Wild, and many more. Each business designates a non-profit to donate a portion of proceeds, like Hands on Hartford, Front Line Family Meals, Forge City Works, Community Renewal Team (CRT), and The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
Millican, along with his partner Rachael Guzick, created the CommuniTEE Initiative to support many of the businesses that helped grow the company since forming in 2013. As Rachael points out, many small business owners have adapted to meet new challenges, “We’re inspired by our fellow business owners here in Hartford and we’re proud to be part of such a strong community. We see a bright future for small business in Connecticut and we’re looking forward to continuing to offer creative solutions and support to our loyal clients.”
The CommuniTEE Initiative is open to applicants, with new T-shirts being added each week.