Peanut butter loves jelly, and designer t-shirts love representing something special. Combine some of our favorite charities with our favorite celebrities and you have an awesome shirt in your hand from Upperatus. Upperatus.com (pronounced Uh-per-ah-tus) is figuring out ways to make us all stylish and selfless at the same time.
Upperatus is a t-shirt company based in Los Angeles, CA. Launched in November of 2012, they have decided to focus their business model around making a difference. Most of us have tossed a couple of dollars in a donation jar, but centering your entire business model around that donation jar is something special.
Each month Upperatus teams up with a designer and a passionate celebrity advocate to create a campaign for a hand-picked charity. These campaigns produce stylish t-shirts for consumers along with donations and focused awareness on the selected charity.
Speaking with Jeff Kudishevich, Co-Founder of Upperatus, he said that the “success of a campaign hinges on the relationship between the charity and the celebrity.” He emphasized the importance of pairing a celebrity with a charity they are truly passionate about. Jeff said there is much more interest and engagement for the campaign when the motivation is authentic.
What I love about Upperatus is their noticeable transparency. Clearly stated goals and progress meters allow potential donors to visualize the success while getting a cool shirt. Are you donating and getting a cool shirt or getting a cool shirt that donates? Who cares – everybody wins.
Upperatus has a more philosophical style than literal. The utilization of different designers and the charity objectives drive how a particular shirt will look. They were kind enough to send over some sample shirts for me to experience first hand.
The design of this “Heal the Bay” shirt is subtle yet specific. The lettering on the front is clean with a distressed touch. I love how the wildlife surrounding the message appears so stylistic. This is a shirt that has purpose and style. Combining those two things into a wearable product is difficult to do. Often these kinds of shirts have a short shelf life because they date themselves. This “Heal the Bay” shirt is something that could be worn year ’round.
I would pin their target market towards young adults in the 18-35 year old range. In all honesty, their audience is anyone who wants to do something good for others.
Upperatus prints their designs on made-in-the-USA organic cotton shirts using quality water-based inks. The shirts are soft to the touch, and the printing on these shirts is just short of masterful. I can’t yet comment on how the patterns (or shirts) will hold up over multiple washings, but fresh out of the package these shirts are well built.
Custom labels are a tricky business for a lot of brands. To do it right is complicated, but the final product offers additional elements of style and comfort. Upperatus includes unique information about the shirt using soft inks that do not bleed through to the other side (or itch).
Upperatus ships via USPS to the US only (international shipping coming soon). All shirts ship within 2 business days, and regular shipping usually takes 2-7 days based on destination. They offer 2-3 day priority shipping for those who want to get their swag sooner. The shipping bags are made from biodegradable plastics that extend their commitment as an earth friendly organization.
From the notification of shipment to shirts in hand was exactly as promised. This isn’t one of those “buy a shirt today, get it 6 weeks from now” kind of operations. They are clearly on top of it.
Upperatus has a few options each month for the designs they are selling. As Jeff put it:
“In November, we had 5 different cuts. For women: wide V-neck, raglan pullover, and racerback tanktop. For men: crew neck, and classic thermal. The general concept is to have a standard top for men and women, and then a warm item for both as well.”
The prices are determined at different points depending on the blank they are printed on. This month, their organic men’s crew neck is $24.00. If we stopped there, that really is a fair price to pay for such a well produced shirt. What we have to consider is that $11.00 of that goes towards the charity (Habitat for Humanity GLA) and the $3.95 standard shipping charge is flat. Meaning, if you buy 5 shirts, you are still paying $3.95 for standard shipping. Printing limited run shirts can be expensive, and this is a great deal for all things considered.
Some things to note – they do offer returns or exchanges on merchandise that is unworn and unwashed within 30 days of purchase. The donation portion of your purchase is non-refundable as that heads to the charity automatically.
I asked Jeff if they planned on selling these designs after a campaign has ended. He indicated they were currently looking into that, but needed to figure out the best way for implementation without cannibalizing donations or creating a logistical nightmare.
In a world where being greedy is much easier than being an advocate, you have to salute entrepreneurs like Upperatus. They are making an awesome dent in our social fabric – one t-shirt at a time.
Are you a designer interested in donating your talents to Upperatus? Are you a charity looking to get a campaign running? Contact Upperatus at one of their channels below!
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Upperatus.com is a team with purpose – a mechanism for a positive impact. They believe that anyone and everyone can take part in making the world a better place.