Bottom Line Up Front: Ron Augelli used his commitment to learning and helping others to quickly adjust when COVID hit, creating 3 different campaigns and shifting his operations accordingly. In the past month, We Talk Shirty has used their InkSoft-driven campaigns to raise more than $200k. That’s two hundred thousand dollars. We break down his team’s initiatives — and major successes — below.
In every crisis, there are people who rise to the occasion. The people who adapt quickly, who accept the call to action, and who do whatever they can to lead those around them to higher ground.
Today’s feature will be highlighting one of those people — someone who, when the pandemic began, didn’t flinch at the prospect of shifting gears.
Someone who took his longstanding commitment to education and used it to learn about new tactics his team could employ to help others.
And someone who, when thousands of other businesses were throwing their hands up, about to give up, showed up for them — making it easy, and worthwhile, for them to keep fighting.
Today’s Spotlight isn’t just on one campaign. It’s on a man who, using his creativity, his work ethic, and his benevolence, took his capabilities and started three.
Three different campaigns.
Each one raises money. Each one serves a different vulnerable subset of the community. And each one, in its own right, is making a hell of a difference.
So, please join us in celebrating the innovation and the determination of We Talk Shirty’s fearless leader: Ron Augelli!
The right foundation
“I’ve used your platform to raise almost over $200,000 in the last month.”Ron Augelli
“You have to adapt. You have to help people. If I could possibly save a life or help somebody right now, that’s something.”
To Ron Augelli, a Northeastern Pennsylvania native, screen printing hadn’t always been his goal. In fact, the business idea first surfaced in the face of a problem.
When Augelli was in college, he’d ordered t-shirts for himself and some friends — when they arrived, he was dissatisfied with the quality, and the exorbitant price-tag he’d paid. He had a hunch he could do better.
So he tried.
That’s how the We Talk Shirty business started: in Augelli’s college apartment, as a side hustle to his real, full-time job. But as he started learning more about the craft, and as order numbers kept growing, he realized that he was going to have to make a choice.
So he chose We Talk Shirty. Within the year, he’d hired a full-time employee, and within four years, he had a team of 14, a facility that housed two autopresses, and a bustling business.
“I have always embraced the opportunity to learn,” Augelli explained to Screen Printing Magazine, offering a reason for how his capabilities grew so quickly. But he wasn’t just interested in learning from those who’d been around longer — he was interested in spreading his own knowledge, and helping others, too.
“Whether it involves sharing trade info, working with different embroiderers, or troubleshooting problems with equipment, we perform best when we work together instead of against one another.”
That was always Augelli’s — and the whole We Talk Shirty team’s — goal. To create the best result for as many people as possible.
So, when it came to business, things were going great. And that’s when the pandemic hit.
Like most of the businesses in the apparel decorating industry, Augelli and his team saw orders dry up quickly. Operations throughout the state — and the country — were forced to hit the brakes, and with so many companies and schools on pause, nobody was out searching for t-shirts.
But since he was used to constantly learning, adapting, and helping out, Augelli never thought about pausing too. In true We Talk Shirty fashion, he got to work, searching for new ways to be useful.
Campaign #1: Here for Good
When the Here for Good movement first began, the pandemic had only just started to incite national measures, like the closure of non-essential businesses.
We Talk Shirty was one of the first screen printers to jump on board. As early as March 20th, they were in the local news, with Augelli welcoming as many businesses as interested to reach out and get involved.
With no money down and no risk, We Talk Shirty was offering local businesses, both in Lackawanna County and throughout the rest of the state, the chance to open another stream of revenue while their doors — and regular operations — were closed.
So what were Augelli and his team doing, exactly? They were creating individual, custom online stores for every interested business.
Using the business’s designs and InkSoft’s designer feature, Augelli’s team created t-shirts that were then inputted into each business’s store — so their customers had products that were available for purchase.
Then, the businesses could promote their own store — and $10 from each t-shirt purchase would go directly back to them. With Augelli’s goal of 50 t-shirts sold for each store, that meant an easy, risk-free $500 for every business involved.
But what started as a simple initiative snowballed into something so much more.
Campaign #2: Wear the Love
When Augelli saw the success of his team’s Here for Good campaign, witnessing firsthand the number of local businesses in need — and the outpouring of community support that showed up to meet it — he decided to add another fundraising outlet to his roster.
This campaign would be spearheaded by We Talk Shirty from design to purchase, and all items would be available to buy on one online store.
The design was simple: “Wear the Love,” written in the middle of the t-shirt or hoodie, signifying the act of kindness that purchasing one of the six available options was.
In this campaign, $10 from each purchase went directly to a non-profit.
But that’s not all — it went to a non-profit of the purchaser’s choice. The Wear the Love store offered each buyer the chance to choose from 16 different organizations, including the Lackawanna Blind Association, Fight for Vets, and Griffin Pond Animal Shelter, to name a few.
The We Talk Shirty team ran this campaign while it was still operating all of the custom fundraising stores for the businesses involved in their Here for Good initiative, so it’s safe to say their hands were pretty full.
But still, it wasn’t enough. So Augelli reached for more.
Campaign #3: Face Masks
In early April, the CDC came out with a new recommendation: everyone should be wearing a mask.
Essential worker or not, medical professional or not, masks were now necessary — and the sudden demand meant not everyone could access what they were looking for.
Augelli knew his team’s capacity to fill t-shirt orders meant that, with some learning and some adjustments, they could fill mask orders, too. So, on April 1st, We Talk Shirty started making masks.
In fact, they’ve made thousands and thousands.
What started as a way to help out those in the community, and as a way to provide a layer of protection to those who were vulnerable, has blossomed into another campaign that’s affecting massive change and bringing the community together.
At the beginning, We Talk Shirty was selling masks to the public so that they could fund the donations they were making to medical clinics, senior living centers, nursing homes, and food pantries.
The goal wasn’t to turn profit — it was to provide the personal protective wear that was so urgently needed.
For $3.50 a pop, masks were available on a custom online store — and they were available for a few weeks before that CDC recommendation.
But, once the national norm was mask-wearing, Augelli and his team couldn’t keep up with the demand. So they looked to other mask-makers nearby, asking for their help.
At this point, We Talk Shirty’s entire supply chain had shifted from t-shirt making to mask-making, and they were trying to fill all of the orders from the vulnerable — and the public — as best as they can.
Right now, Augelli and his team are making thousands of masks a day — and they’re still working with other local mask-makers to make sure they’re meeting the demand of those in need.
Because, if there’s one thing that Augelli’s aiming for, it’s to be of service to his community.
“All we can do is good,” he explained.
Three campaigns, one massive difference
As you can see, Augelli’s commitment to helping out however he can — and his determination to making the best out of any circumstance — is nothing short of exemplary. And the returns haven’t been small feats either.
In the past month, We Talk Shirty has used their InkSoft-driven campaigns to raise more than $200k. That’s two hundred thousand dollars.
Let’s break it down by campaign:
We Talk Shirty has helped more than 78 local businesses with their Here for Good initiative.
Those custom online stores have raised more than $34k for the businesses behind them, and more than 927 individual orders have come through. That means that more than 927 community members have shown up for the businesses they love, because Augelli has given them a way to.
With the Wear the Love campaign, We Talk Shirty helped raise money for 16 different non-profit organizations that, like all of our nation’s businesses, have been massively affected. With the online store, the team has given community members a way to support these organizations — to show up for them, and let them know that they care.
And finally, with the face mask campaign, the We Talk Shirty team has been making serious headlines.
They’re not only providing crucial protective wear to the general public — they’re donating that crucial protective wear to the most vulnerable portions of their community, too.
And, they’re wrangling others who are capable together, so an even greater impact can be achieved.
“You have to adapt,” Augelli told Newsweek. “You have to help people. If I could possibly save a life or help somebody right now, that’s something.”
If you’re like us, hearing about all of the incredible good that Ron Augelli and his team at We Talk Shirty have been doing has left you inspired.
And not just inspired, but motivated to take action — to use what you’ve got and help those who’ve got less.
We Talk Shirty relied on InkSoft technology to drive every one of their three campaigns. From the custom apparel that was designed through this feature, to the individual online stores that were created with this feature, to the fundraising logistics that were streamlined through this feature, our software made their initiatives possible.
And we are so proud to be a part of them.
If you’re ready to get your own campaign going, or if you already have one that’s underway, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. We’d love to help you leverage the tools you already have to create the best, and most impactful, initiative you can.
Until then, we’re rooting for you. And who knows? Maybe your campaign will be our next feature!
The InkSoft Team
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