I’ve always wondered why someone hadn’t taken the Tom’s Shoes idea then enhanced or expanded it into other areas. Silly me…doubting the veracity and ingenuity of Okies, eh?
Enter: Tyson Baker, founder of Reach Clothing located in Collinsville. I thought perhaps for your Black Friday moment of pause, (that exists, right?) you might want to learn about a cool story. A story cool enough to potentially guide your holiday shopping. Here are his own words…
In April of 2010 I heard about a third grade student who was being bullied for wearing the same shirt to school every day. Still in high school at the time, I knew bullying went on at the upper levels, but never realized it stemmed down to such a young age. Admiring the TOMS Shoes business model of “buy one, give one” I thought: Why could I not take this same simple business idea and put it to clothing to help kids in the U.S?
With 16 million children considered homeless within the U.S. and 1 out of every 3 kids projected to be bullied at some point, we are trying to break that cycle. If I can give a child a new stylish shirt to help the bullying, or a new sweatshirt to stay warm in the winter I know I am doing my job.
How Reach Clothing gives back – After every 250 shirts we sell, we then partner with local non-profits to distribute the clothing from their area. In 8 months of business we have donated 500 brand new shirts to children in need, and we have met our next goal so in December we will be donating another 250 to an OKC non-profit. I am just trying to change the world.
Our products are now in Whole Foods Market, the OKC store and the Tulsa store. We are working to place inventory in Texas stores in the upcoming month.
My last donation drop was an amazing and emotional thing for some of the volunteers at Reach Clothing. Check out the new blog about my experience there:
http://blog.reach-clothing.com/?ci=23323 (Editors note: I strongly encourage you to read the story – it’s a cool, cool thing).
Now… Another comment from me. Is this true? Do children get bullied because of their clothing? As a researcher, a teacher, and as a child who was bullied at times because of her hand-me-down clothing, the answer is “yes.” Why would children be this cruel? I’m sure the reasons are many, but mostly it’s because of their own insecurities.
I recall stories from my student teaching days at Douglas High School where students would wear the same clothing three days in a row. When asked about it, they would either blow off the the question, or sometimes respond with a statement of fact: “Because I’m sleeping in my car, okay?” Domestic situations caused students to tune out life by not even going into their house at night. Wearing the same clothes was the least of their worries.
But for others, it’s a genuine issue. A really tough issue. When there is no money, there are no clothes…plain and simple.
So, if you have the time or the inclination, Reach Clothing might be a perfect alternative to that otherwise no-purpose shirt from Macy’s you were planning to pick up.
So check out their website, shop at Whole Foods, or spread the word. But do something…and know that the world is a better place because you did.
P.S. I almost forgot! Want an even better way to get going with Reach Clothing? How about a special deal?? Coupon code BLKFRBR will enable you to save 25% on items, PLUS one of the new hoodies is available for pre-order! So…go to website, plug in code, and shop!