campaign: One Hundred Apparel
raising the money: Alex Mark
raised so far: $2,530
mission statement: “I realized that helping to solve the water crisis is one of the most effective ways to change somebody’s life completely.”
Admit it — there’s probably a t-shirt in your closet that you’ve had longer than you’d care to admit. Don’t worry, we’re guilty too. There’s just something about the comfort of a favorite shirt that can’t be replaced. We caught up with designer Alex Mark who knows a thing or two about making comfy t-shirts that also support his favorite cause.
How did you first hear about charity: water?
Luck and fate. I think I just stumbled upon the website one day when I was researching the water crisis.
What made you want to get involved with the fight to end the water crisis?
There were two main reasons — the first was actually that charity: water’s website made me realize this affected many, many more people than I had ever imagined. Before that, I didn’t know much about the water crisis. I was completely startled. Also, I realized that it was one of the most effective ways to change somebody’s life completely. The second reason applies more to my designer side than my philanthropic side. There were other causes I was looking into supporting, but in addition to the sheer importance of water, I loved the way the symbolic nature of water could be represented so easily and simply.
How did you settle on using a clothing company as the vehicle that drives your campaign?
I actually had the clothing company idea before I knew what cause I was going to support. While I was in college, I saw people selling shirts to raise money for all sorts of charitable organizations. The problem was, these shirts were poorly designed and poor quality. So I realized, why not make well-designed shirts, with some kind of branding theme, and use them to support the organization instead? Wouldn’t people rather wear that? So it morphed into this awesome social business idea, and I had to run with it.
How long did it take you to get the website and business launched?
I toyed with the idea for almost my entire third year in college, just thinking of strategies and business models. When my fourth year rolled around, I decided it was time to take the plunge, and I started working on getting everything together. I did the main groundwork throughout the winter of 2010, spring and summer of 2011. Our official launch date was July 25, 2011. So it’s been a long time coming!
Tell us about the clothing. Do you design the shirts yourself?
I do all the designing as of now, which is something I’m proud of. I try to always keep everything simple and clean, and reflect water in as many of my designs as possible. We have six shirts right now, but in a few months we are releasing a whole new line and more than doubling our offerings.
What’s your favorite t-shirt? The longest lasting?
I don’t pick favorites, but I probably wear the “Strikethrough” shirt the most just because it goes with everything! And it’s so incredibly soft. In terms of longest lasting, all of my personal One Hundred shirts are still in excellent condition after repeated washings, but I do have an old high school shirt I work out in that probably counts.
Can you tell us a little about the business model?
The business model is something I’m extremely proud of. I don’t think any other business out there has a model like this. One Hundred’s main goal is to donate 100% of all profits to charities that help people get clean water. Our model works like this: A specified amount is donated right away after each purchase (there’s more information on the website) then we pay all of our expenses, including website, hosting, etc. After that, we donate whatever is left over.
How many shirts do you personally own?
Way too many. I have all my shirts obviously, most of the shirts I used to have before the company, and then tons of samples of new products. I’m trying to figure out a good way to recycle all the old ones right now actually.
Are there any future plans for other articles of clothing?
I am actually releasing a new line this month and I’m really excited about it. It’s going to have a couple of hoodies, about five new shirts, a water bottle, and even some stuff without any designs for a cleaner look. And of course, some stuff for the ladies! It’s definitely going to look amazing.
Finally, do you have any words of advice for anyone out there that is thinking of starting their own campaign?
Absolutely! If you ever have a great idea that you know will benefit a cause, don’t be afraid to do it! It might take a lot of work, but it’s the most rewarding thing you can do with your time.
Design new clothes, skydive, get your school or church involved; you can do anything to fundraise for clean drinking water. Learn more here >
Learn more about 100 Apparel here>