What would you do if you won $25,000 to to help fun your great idea? Well, luckily Verde Styles doesn’t have to worry about what they’ll do with $25,000 because they came up with a succinct plan that actually won them that exact amount from the Pepsi Refresh Project. Yes, that huge corporation that makes that very popular soft drink that you love to drink gave an independent T-Shirt company $25,000.
So what did CEO and Founder of Verde Styles, Nish Patel, and the rest of the Verde Styles team plan to do with the money? Read on and find out!
Coty: Tell us a little about the Pepsi Refresh Project and how you found out about it.
Nish: I found out about the Pepsi Refresh Project luckily through MTV considering I hardly every watch it. The Pepsi Refresh Project provides grants to individuals, organizations, and businesses to make the world a better place by giving back. The categories of ideas range include health, culture, education, neighborhoods, and the planet. Thanks to our friends and family religiously voting every day, Verde Styles to 8th for The Planet and won a $25,000 grant.
Coty: Why did you think Verde Style was a perfect fit for the Pepsi Refresh Project?
Nish: Verde Styles was founded on the basis of becoming a business with a major social impact. By not only being profitable, but also helping the community at the same time. We make sure all of our products are made ethically and within the United States. Refreshing is a word which I think describes Verde Styles. Our hip and artistic approach to environmental problems is a refreshing outlook in our world today.
Coty: What were some of the ideas/goals that Verde Styles put forth for the Pepsi Refresh Project?
Nish: Verde Styles main goal is to spread awareness about the environment through our tees. With the grant money, we can now travel to other locations around the country to make our nation a “Verde Nation.” Another idea that we can now fund is a “Zero Carbon Footprint” event planned for Earth Day 2011. The event will be powered by energy generated from people pedaling bicycles.
Coty: Some of your ideas are pretty ambitious, like “Host 20 recycling drives around the nation.” Has it been tough trying to accomplish everything you said that you would do?
Nish: As a small company, it is always tough to organize and plan events while taking care of other things. Luckily, we have many of our friends helping us get the job done, from helping us organize recycling drives at college campuses to thinking of new designs for tees and products. We continue to stay ambitious by keeping our website fresh with a new tee every Wednesday along with a fun interactive Blog.
Coty: Verde Styles was awarded a $25,000 grant last August, what’s your progress been like so far?
Nish: We have been working hard to keep the ball rolling. Just this past October, we traveled to West Chester University and University of Pittsburg for two amazing events. Also, we participated in Sustainability Day on Temple University’s campus. For the future, we have started to plan events at music festivals around the country.
Coty: You guys set out to plant 3,000 brand new trees. How close are you to that number?
Nish: After our successful events this past October, we have reached 2000 trees planted. After we have reached our goal, we will continue to plant trees as well as help other causes that Verde Styles believes in.
Thanks again to Nish Patel for stopping by and sharing his story of how Verde Styles was able to accomplish something pretty amazing. For more information on Verde Styles, please visit their website, you can also purchase their T-Shirts there as well!
Verde Styles is also in the running for a huge $25,000 prize in the Pepsi Refresh Everything Good Idea campaign. You can help out Verde Styles by Liking their idea here. They are currently ranked #11 Their goals are:
Have an apparel line of over 25 environmentally friendly products
Plant 3,000 more trees through our current partner – American Forests
Host 20 recycling drives around the nation
Initiate 5 park and beach clean-ups
Partner with multiple charities that represent various causes
Fur Face Boy sent me an insane amount of T-Shirts from their Series 3 Line. I will be featuring the shirts throughout Co-Tee TV Episodes 70-79 so definitely keep an eye out for even more Fur Face Boy in the coming weeks! See Episode 70 of Co-Tee TV for the Fur Face Boy full review.
You can also watch this episode on Vimeo, Viddler, YouTube, blip.tv and download and sync all episodes to your iPod, iPhone or iPad by subscribing for free to Co-Tee TV in the iTunes Store.
The Last Flight by Verde Styles.Pros: Each T-Shirt from Verde Style is environmentally conscious and tells the story of a specific environmental cause. This tee specifically brings to light the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and its effect on ocean animals. The design is printed on an American Apparel tee, mainly because Verde Styles appreciates that it is made sweat shop free. T-Shirt is available in both mens and womens fitted styles so that means girls aren’t left with a unisex tee intended for guys. The best part about Verde Styles is that for each T-Shirt sold, a tree is planted via American Forests. Great T-Shirt for anyone that is concerned about the environment and would like to help out while receiving an awesome shirt at the same time.Cons: I think that Verde Styles could do a little more to make the packaging a little more presentable. Maybe get a little creative with the packaging and run with the recycling theme somehow. Price: $15.99.
“Verde Styles is a clothing line centered on the idea of improving our living environment. The approach that we take as a clothing line is to produce visually appealing apparel by way of artistic design. All of our designs are meant to inspire growth as a society. The designs all stand for growing issues in the world today, whether it is global warming or deforestation. All of the global issues rest in the back of our mind when making a decision that will affect Verde Styles.”
FFBÂ Play Ball by Fur Face Boy. I’m not the biggest baseball fan, so this Fur Face Boy tee doesn’t scream to me like the previous FFB tees reviewed here. However, it does come with all of the bells and whistles as the other tees in the Fur Face Boy Series III line – custom hang tags, custom neck and lower seam labels, printed on a comfy American Apparel tee, individually packaged with sexy FFB stickers. For more Fur Face Boy goodness, check out Episode 70 of Co-Tee TV. Price: $32.
Also mentioned in this episode:
NBA Mega Trades: Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade
I love it when new brands contact me excited about their product because it gets me excited! Rick Waters from new clothing brand, Omunky, recently contacted me about his newest tee, Harry Hippo. Of course, I head on over and check out the Omunky products and am intrigued the offerings. If you read this blog you know that I am a sucker for character pieces. Harry Hippo and Gabe The Gorilla are both characters in the current Omunky line. The best part is that each of the tees come with a background story about the character featured on the shirt. My favorite from the pair has got to be Getaway Gorilla – love that shirt!
Omunky refers to itself as an eco-friendly t-shirt ocmpany. They used organic cottons and pre-consumer recycled preshrunk cotton. Omunky shirts are available now from $20-$22.
It’s 2009 and so why aren’t all cars being run with some type of biofuel? Forget fossil fuels, that was so last century. We’ve got to lose our dependence on oil. The United States must play catch up and start innovating so that we can stop relying on foreign countries for our fuel. OK, I’ll get off of my little soap box now!
You can profess your interest in biofuel by wearing this shirt from our friends at Rizzo Tees. I am sure that many of the readers can relate to that mug of ice cold beer. I think, however, that the design could have featured a corn on the cob and would have made just as much sense, in fact, I think it would have been a much more powerful and insightful shirt had it been a piece of corn instead of a mug of beer. But that might just be me!
You can pick up I Run On Biofuel from Rizzo Tees for $15! Want to know a secret? You can save 10% on your entire Rizzo Tees order by using the coupon code “COTY” at checkout. Score!
In this weeks edition of The Indie Tee Spotlight, I highlight a cool little small business venture led by Steve Orlando, self-described as a reluctant leader, disillusioned romantic and uneloquent philosophaster. Orlando started Robit Studios earlier this year with friend Jeff Gerzseny out of their frustration with graphic tees.Â
I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Steve about the company he founded, Robit Studios, and why he aspired not to be “just another pretentious t-shirt company.” He discusses his love for small-business and why it’s smart (and worth it) to go “green.”
1. How long has Robit Studios been around? What inspired you to start a T-shirt brand?
We launched our website in March of this year. However the original idea and preparations for that launch began a few years ago. The inspiration to start a brand started when Jeff (the other half of Robit Studios) and I were frustrated with the unfunny slogan tees and obnoxious graphic tees that dominate the retail world. This was before we knew about places like Threadless. Jeff had some screen printing experience and a small wooden press from school so we decided to give it a shot.
2. The tagline “just another pretentious t-shirt company” can be found on the Robit Studios site. What do you mean by this?
When we first began brainstorming ideas and concepts for shirts we thought we were going to revolutionize the t-shirt world. However, as we began studying our competition and becoming familiar with the t-shirt blogging scene we realized that a lot of people not only had the same ideas, but were sometimes better executed. It made me realize that we can’t take ourselves too seriously.
3. Many of your tees have some sort of political message associated with it. Did you start Robit with the intention of producing politically inspired tees?
It wasn’t intentional. But, like a lot of people, we’ve been caught up in the interesting political environment we’ve had over the past few years. I also think that there are very few political t-shirts that are subtle in their message. For example, I would never wear a t-shirt that said “Buck Fush”. I think there was an unmet demand for shirts like “Chance of Reign”.
4. Strong ideals seem to be a huge part of the way Robit operates. From using only environmentally friendly inks to printing on sweat-shop free tees to hand printing each shirt. What made you decide to go the “green” route (and market yourselves as such) and why is this so important for Robit Studios considering the higher cost of these environmentally friendly products.
When we first seriously began discussing the creation of Robit Studios we knew we wanted to do it in a socially and environmentally friendly way. Since then I began working on my MBA in Environmentally Sustainable Management which helped us implement those ideas into our business model. I believe that true sustainability is the solution that will allow us to continue living on the planet in a way we’re familiar with. The beauty of sustainability is that it doesn’t conflict with capitalism, but actually complements it.
5. Your about page says “We [Robit Studios] gear our product toward anyone that appreciates the small businesses and creative minds, or the efforts of individuals against careless corporations that pander to the lowest common denominator.” What is it about small businesses, as compared to huge corporations, that gets you excited? What has the experience of owning and operating a small business been like for you?
Small businesses rock, simple as that. Just imagine if your only choice of t-shirt had to come from Wal-Mart. It doesn’t take much more than that to get me excited about the hundreds of small independent t-shirts brands that are available at my fingertips.
The experience of being a small business owner has been great. Knowing that there are people around the world who are wearing something I created feels incredible. This summer we got to do some festivals and I met a lot of amazing people, artists and bands. We’re teaming up with an amazing artist, Sean Madden, for some new t-shirts as well as another project which we’re hoping to launch soon.
6. Two of my favorite tees from the Robit Studios Store are “Chance of Reign” and “Ragingly Inefficient.” What message are you trying to send with these two tees?