“There’s a lot of people in the same position we’re in, where they went from a flourishing business for decades… to not really making any money at all.”
That’s the grave reality, described by Matt Doke, that propelled today’s featured campaign into action.
Doke knew that if he did nothing, if he just tried to wait out the storm, everything he’d worked so hard to instill into his business would be at risk. His company, his staff, and his own livelihood were on the line.
So, he came up with a plan.
Like all of the fundraising campaigns highlighted in this series, Doke’s campaign brings a sense of light — of inspiration — when we’re all constantly inundated with stress.
It shows us that there’s always another option. That the only way to avoid the havoc wreaked by the pandemic is to come up with your own creative solution — and to take action.
Get ready to raise a glass for this incredible campaign that’s bringing communities together and saving businesses in three different cities: the one, the only, the Together T-Shirt Project!
Motivated by earnestness
Matt Doke was born into the business.
His family had been running Rhodes Printing since 1986, and as soon as he was old enough, Doke himself was working there full-time.
As the company grew, so did he — until he became the owner. His sole intention? To keep the company growing — and the staff happy.
Doke knew he was blessed to have had the fortune of working for such a strong, family-owned business his whole life, and he wanted to share that opportunity with as many people as he could. And that’s exactly what he was doing.
Until the pandemic hit.
Then, in a matter of days, Rhodes Printing went from thriving with business as usual to struggling. Hard.
With stress and fear prevalent in all corners of the country — and the world — Doke knew his business wasn’t the only one hard hit. So, he took his generosity — his desire to help other people, and other businesses — and combined it with a profitable plan of action.
The Together T-Shirt Project was born
Like the Here for Good movement, this campaign brought Rhodes Printing’s apparel decorating capabilities to local businesses, offering them a way to design custom t-shirts — and sell them — while their typical operations are on pause.
But, different from all the campaigns we’ve featured before, the Together T-Shirt Project didn’t just develop one fundraising store.
It developed three.
Each store represents a different Oklahoma city, and each store helps tighten — and strengthen — the community ties inside them.
By showcasing t-shirts from city-specific local businesses, the Together T-Shirt Project makes it possible for residents to click through and find the neighborhood businesses they want to support.
And, because most of the traffic coming to the store is from the specific city, there will be a higher conversion rate — meaning, the people who visit the store will already have a connection to the businesses involved, and be more inclined to show their support.
When we see the neighborhood businesses we love struggle, when we see our own community flounder, we care enough to act. We care enough to do whatever we can to help out.
With these stores, Oklahoma residents of Claremore, Coweta, and Tahlequah can show up — without really showing up.
They can buy a t-shirt (or 2, or 10) with their favorite store’s logo, and they can rest assured knowing that others in the community are doing the same thing.
Like Doke knew about Rhodes Printing from the time he was old enough to work there, it wasn’t the business itself that made it so special. It was the people behind it.
That same notion is applied to the Together T-Shirt Project — that for all of the local businesses and the local communities involved, it’s not the entities that we’re fighting for.
It’s the people behind them.
Breaking down the specifics
Doke has partnered with 96 different businesses, spanning across the three different Oklahoma cities.
That means there are more than 96 custom t-shirts available for purchase — that there are 96 different ways the community can show up, and show their support.
Each t-shirt is $19.99, and $10 from every purchase is given right to the local business involved.
As for the rest of the proceeds? They go to helping Rhodes Printing continue to operate — through this campaign and after it.
The Together Claremore store just opened, and it’s already raised nearly $300.
The Together Coweta store has raised over $11,300.
And the Together Tahlequah is fast approaching $6,000.
Doke’s goal is to raise $30k for the whole campaign. And, from the looks of it, the stores are well on their way to beating that.
Easy action leads to community reinforcement
At the end of the day, we’re all in this together.
We may have different businesses, and we may be struggling in different ways, but the only way we can overcome the effects of this pandemic is by working together.
Doke took his capabilities and offered them up to other businesses in need.
He offered them a way to design custom t-shirts, to showcase and sell them online, and to feel a sense of community — even when their doors had to be closed.
It was altruistic, but it also helped serve his own business, because it kept his operations moving. It kept his expertise in demand, and his own sense of community strong.
If you’re an apparel decorator, know that you already have the tools to run a successful fundraising campaign.
You already have local businesses around you that have been affected by COVID-19, that are searching for ways to diversify their revenue streams.
And, perhaps most importantly, you already have a community.
If you start the initiative, if you get the online store up and running, they will come. And they will show you just how much they appreciate your business — and all of the other businesses involved — for helping to make the community all that it is.
If there’s anything we at InkSoft can do to help take your campaign to the next step, please reach out. Our team’s always happy to chat.
Until then, we’re rooting for you. We know you can make a difference — and we can’t wait to watch you do it.
The InkSoft Team
Learn how InkSoft can help your shop sell smarter
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