On March 3, 2020, Sarah Riggins was surfing Facebook when she noticed a post from her friend in Tennessee that simply said: #NashvilleStrong. Riggins immediately hit Google and learned about the devastating tornadoes that had touched down in the middle of the night.
At 1:50 a.m., a violent and devastating tornado tore a path nearly 50 miles long through downtown Nashville and its surrounding suburbs while thousands of people slept. “I was moved to take action,” says Riggins, who’s director of operations at DesignAShirt, an online design decorating company that grew out of a Tempe, AZ-based screen-printing shop. “In 2011, dozens of tornadoes touched down where I lived in North Carolina. Then, in 2018, a tornado ripped through my hometown of Marshalltown, IA. These unpredictable events are simply devastating to residents and businesses, and the recovery takes years.”
In 2018, Riggins created a shirt design to raise money for local relief efforts in Iowa. The campaign was very successful, with shirts selling across the country for people whose “hearts were in Iowa.” “Since we had previous success with this type of fundraising—and knowing that T-shirts help provide a sense of community during disaster recovery—I decided to launch a store for ‘Nashville Strong,’” she says.
Riggins launched her “Nashville Strong” store using InkSoft Stores. For a few years, the DesignAShirt team has used InkSoft Stores, popping up stores for teams, groups, clothing lines, and nonprofits. “I proposed the Nashville idea to my team at 9:26 a.m. and the store was up by 9:44 a.m,” she says. “Without Inksoft, it could have taken hours to build products and publish pages. We’re a very small and lean team, and we find great value in the ability to move quickly without involving expensive web developers.”
A division of DesignAShirt.com, “My Heart is in Nashville” is dedicated to raising money toward relief efforts for those affected by the March tornadoes. The store includes a selection of men’s, women’s and children’s T-shirt and hoodie styles with “My heart is in Nashville” text designs. Another design is a simple white outline of Tennessee, with a heart over Nashville. “It was amazing, because after creating the store we acquired the domain MyHeartisinNashville.com, which currently points to the InkSoft store,” Riggins says.
From each shirt sale, Riggins and her team will donate $5 to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, which benefits the lives of individuals and families affected by local disasters.
“As a team, we have decades of screen-printing experience driving our site, averaging over 10 years of experience for each DesignAShirt employee,” Riggins says. “That’s why we’re capable of handling almost anything the industry can throw at us.”
Visit the “My Heart Is in Nashville” to support the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.