Bo Gilroy and Matt Thornton believe in sharing. The two friends, students at Samford University, have a vision for sharing stories and working for a greater cause. Combined with a passion for clothing and fashion, the two started We:, a nonprofit clothing line aimed at bringing people together through their passions and stories.
“I was in a World of Business class, listening to the professor talk about entrepreneurship,” Gilroy said, when the idea came to him. He had been researching TOMS at the time, particularly the idea of social entrepreneurship. “The fact that you can help somebody through your business,” he said. “It was fascinating to me.” Their initial idea was to sell t-shirts with a purpose. He knew people would respond really well to the idea at Samford. Gilroy proposed the idea to his friends who jumped on board with brainstorming and ideas. “We all wanted to bring our different stories to the table,” Thornton said. “As I thought about my own personal story, I realized that I wanted to give back to that specific area in a way that would encourage others.” And thus, We: was born.
Headlining as a clothing company, We:Wear’s main slogan is, “Wear to Share,” encouraging people to share their stories via the their We:Wear shirts and apparel. As people see the causes being represented, others can join in, creating a mass movement of action for a cause or an organization. “I think sometimes it’s hard for people to be involved in certain causes or communities,” Gilroy said, “We just want to give people a way to do that through what they wear.”
Samford University’s Your School Your City event was one of We’s first events. It gave students a chance to get connected and the team at We to get their message out to the public. They are still working with those individuals, personally investing in them to help them achieve their goals. We: is unique in that it allows individuals to personalize their action; it connects people based on intimate emotions and passions. “People usually buy clothes for the look,” Gilroy said, “We want to increase the value behind the connection.”
The website, set to launch in the next few months, will provide a virtual community for sharing information and connecting with people over shared interests or experiences. The site will contain updates on how much money has been put towards what cause, where money is needed in specific areas and how many people are involved. “We want people to find their friends and allow it to be a conversation piece,” Thornton said, “We want people to ask, ‘What’s your story?’”
How exactly does it work? It’s simple, really. Once you buy a We:Wear product, the We: team will get your contact information as well the cause, organization or even broad field of interest you want to be a part of. If you don’t know for certain where you want to give your time and money, team will help you narrow down your interests to a certain organization via the follow-up email. We: is all about personalization – it’s what makes them stand out, and it’s also what will make them work.
As you raise money for your cause through events, marathons or other fundraisers, the We: team will be there, at the event, supporting you. “We want to go to the event, encourage them and be there for them,” Thornton said. In addition to the money raised through individuals, a percentage of the money from the sales of the products will go directly to that cause. “Ultimately, it’s not about me or Bo or our stories, our organizations or our products,” Thornton said, “we just want it to be able to run and help do what it does.”
We: eventually intends on taking 99 percent of product sales and putting it directly toward causes. “We want to be faithful in as many areas as possible,” Thornton said, “We’re using organic shirts, so if someone is passionate about being green, we’re being faithful there.”
As far as future plans, the team anticipates expanding the current clothing line consisting of two different styles of t-shirts, stickers and buttons to include wrist wraps, tanks and v-neck shirts. The team wants to hold an event every month, letting people know about ways to get involved. The more people involved, the bigger impact can be made when you “Wear to Share.”
Go to www.facebook.com/weartoshare or follow on Twitter at @wearwe for more information.