by Matt DeLaere, Marketing
[Image from http://grouphugapparel.com]
People need T-shirts decorated for a wide variety of reasons, whether for business promotion, charity events, family reunions, sports teams, spirit wear, bands, fraternities and sororities – and the list goes on. One young man, though, decided to use them to raise money for college. From that idea grew Group Hug Apparel, which contributes a portion of all proceeds to charity.
Andrew Banar, now 20 years old, was born with Down Syndrome. A high school student, he plays the drums and loves music, in addition to other hobbies. His love of music leads him to create rock-and-roll-themed drawings.
Deciding that he wanted to attend college, Andrew set about raising money toward that goal. His first idea was for a lemonade stand, but his mother had the idea of selling T-shirts featuring his drawings. The first shirts were popular, and Group Hug Apparel was soon born.
The two now sell T-shirts, hoodies, and other items at festivals, fairs, charity fundraisers, and other events, as well as some retail outlets. A portion of the proceeds from the shirts goes to charities and community organizations in the Windsor, ON area.
The Group Hug Apparel blog has descriptions of some of the events Andrew attends and the charities which he helps, including literacy programs, programs for adults with special needs, and a young cancer patient. One theme sticks out: hugs. In his T-shirts, Andrew has found a way to share his hugs with the most people possible.
T-shirts serve many purposes, from undergarment to fashion statement, from advertisement to show of support. Andrew has managed to make popular shirts that are all of these things, as well as being a way to inspire and give to the community he loves.