Clothes for a cause are a time-honored trope on the Web. The mass production of garments became synonymous with exploitative labor in the 20th century, but the tone has changed in the 21st. Now that the Web has reduced the cost of retail and made international, 24/7 business possible, clothing companies can use their spare change to do some good.
Sevenly is one such company, and it uses the Web with aplomb. It has only been around since June, but it has raised over $175,000 for charities so far. Sevenly chooses a different charity each week, and it sells limited-run t-shirts and hoodies for that charity for seven days only. The hype is driven by Facebook and Twitter. "About 85% of our sales come from social media," Palmer says. The campaigns work by putting the cause right at the top.
For every shirt purchased, Sevenly donates $7 to the weekly charity. This week, it's clean drinking water for kids in Peru. The t-shirt costs $22, and the hoodie costs $35. The Causes page keeps track of all the campaigns by category, and it shows each shirt with the charity and amount raised. The Mission page makes clear that the causes are Sevenly's focus, and that shirts are just an effective solution to raise money and solve problems.
Sevenly co-founder Dale Partridge tells the story this way: "Sitting in my office after an 8 hour discussion on the topic of fighting poverty I realized... the problem is not the millions of people who go in need everyday, It's the billions of people who watch it happen and do nothing about it." Sevenly allows those people to keep shopping for clothes, as they're wont to do, and diverts some of their resources to good causes.
It's not a new idea, but it's an excellent execution. Sevenly has its act together. It's transparent and data-driven, and it employs great design. But that's just the Web geek's take. Sevenly is raising lots of money for great causes. And you don't want to ask me about fashion, but I bet you'll like the shirts. Check them out at Sevenly.org.