This idea stems from a critical problem that the founders see with charities and your standard for-profit business. On one end of the spectrum, you have a for-profit that is solely focused on making money. Companies will look for any way to cut costs and increase revenue for themselves and their shareholders - regardless of who loses. Their success is measured by the amount of money the owners have in their pocket.
On the other end, you have charities. They remain perpetually dependant on donations and are incredibly inefficient. They cannot stand on their own two feet, and they certainly cannot keep running as a charity without kind invidivuals who care about others.
This is where commonclothing comes in, and where the founders see a real opportunity to make a positive impact. What if a company's success was based not on profits, but on the amount of social impact it has on it's local, national or even international community? What if profits weren't hoarded, but instead spent intelligently and with the goal of sustainability? Essentially what we would like to become is a self-sustaining force for good.
commonclothing is a contest-based online social apparel business. We plan to operate in cycles. Beginning with submissions of cause-related t-shirt designs by aspiring artists and ending with a donation to a school, charity, or developmental project located in the Tampa Bay area.
This is how it works:
Artists submit t-shirt designs that you vote on. After the end of a round(one month), the winner(s) will be
put into print and for sale on the website. If you are an artist, we have a unique payout system to ensure that should your t-shirt be chosen as a winner you earn what you deserve. If you are just looking to help
your community, we will have a special forum through our website that encourages meaningful discussion of what to use the net profits from any t-shirt sold.
At the end of the first cycle, we will take 100% of net profits earned and use it for something good in the Tampa Bay area. We want you to help us decide what that is. :) All suggestions will be carefully examined and through a variety of factors we will determine the best way to use the money. Our number one priority is to use this money as best we can.
What makes commonclothing unique is our business model. We have integrated several aspects of for-profit and non-profit models that have proven to be successful, into a essentially a self-sustaining charity. Through this platform our goal is through collaboration and creativity, to foster a community that helps identify and solve problems that may affect themselves or others locally. We want to put as much power in your hands and allow you to decide what to do with our money.
- Shirts will be reasonably priced at $15 including shipping.
- 100% of *net* profits will be donated (we need to cover costs to be sustainable).
- We believe in financial responsibility and transparency. At the end of each cycle we will post how every cent was spent.
- The first T-shirt contest will last one month. cycles will last longer, and will end when we have decided as a community what we should spend our profits on.
- If your t-shirt is chosen as a winner, we will never "retire" or discontinue your design.
- For the first contest, artists will receive $100 for being a winner, as well as continuing royalties if the t-shirt is popular.
- There can(and hopefully will) be multiple winners for each contest, depending on the response we get.
- We have just three rules for our first design contest:
1) No more than three colors.
2) Your design must be about a cause you feel is important(it can be anything!).
3) And of course, have fun! ^.^
Inspired by the teachings of Muhammad Yunus, we saw an opportunity to make a difference. As two young adults fully aware of the problems we have in this world, we felt that we could be a part of this movement to step up and help. From a small idea on a golf course, commonclothing has blossomed into what it is today.
For us, commonclothing has been an incredible learning experience. What began as a simple senior thesis has culminated into a project that has tested every ounce of our determination and creativity. It would be impossible to name every person that has been of help to us, but professors such as Dr. Michael Fountain and Dr. Scott Ickes; and business professionals Susie Rice and Jonothan Solomon of RMC Property Group have been immense contributors in the focus and direction of commonclothing. Along with many sleepless nights and the support of all our friends and family, our drive to successfully get this start-up off the ground has snowballed into an unstoppable force within our hearts.
Give us a chance, and let us prove to the world that we can start some good!
A little about the co-founders:
Michael O'Rourke is 22 years old and was born in the Dominican Republic - but raised in Tampa, Florida for 15 years. He grew up playing tennis and decided to stay home and go to the University of South Florida and has stayed active with club tennis, and handled being Vice President as well as Treasurer. He is majoring in International Studies with a minor in Entrepreneurship. Fortunate enough to have been able to travel to 5 continents, he has been able to experience many different perspectives that have helped define the person he is today.
David Beardsley is 22 years old and was born in Weseley Chapel, Florida. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor's in Honors Economics. He is an accomplished Eagle Scout as well as a noted member of the Bulls Business Community. His passions lie in the way economies interact on a local and global scale, and how the standard of living can be raised throughout the world.