The standard dress code for my husband's line of work is... jeans, stylish shoes, and a clever and often geeky tee. Layer hoodies and/or long-sleeve undershirts as needed.
In other words, there is very little difference between the way my *almost* 40 year old husband dresses... and our 4.5 year old son. The only possible exception being that my son doesn't usual grimace when I eagerly show him the cool, new shirt I just bought him.... ahem! ahem!
It's either over done, features the wrong super hero, or is not clever enough.
For this reason, I forewarn shopkeepers and store clerks that I'll probably be back, and if so, "what exactly are the terms of your return policy again???"
I am also forever on the lookout for clever enough, though not necessarily geeky, but certainly high-quality (because, you better believe that when my husband finds something he actually likes, he wears it forever and ever) shirts.
This is how I happened to meet Nathan and a meek, but mighty t-shirt company called Goodjoe...
Perusing Valley Fair Mall in San Jose with my kids, my eye caught a kiosk full of unique and unusual shirts. Unlike the other vendors at the mall, Nathan, the young guy running the kiosk, wasn't jumping out in front of shoppers or calling attention to himself.
In fact, he was almost zen-like as he arranged his display and politely greeted shoppers going by. Yet, there was a way his face lit up when I asked about his shirts that I could tell I had just stumbled upon something awesome!
Begun by a few friends from college in the Bay Area, Goodjoe is a community-based T-shirt company with a passion for doing GOOD in the world and inspiring others to do the same. Nathan is the co-founder and admitted dreamer of the bunch.
But the shirts are only a part of the story.
Goodjoe started as a vision of running a fun and sustainable business that helps artists inspire others. So each week, Goodjoe hosts a design contest on its site.
Anyone and everyone, professionals and amateurs artists alike, are encouraged to submit a design that has a positive, impactful, or inspirational message. Humor and cleverness is a plus.
The public votes and every Monday, the staff selects a winning design. The winning designer receives a cash prize and the winning design gets printed and featured on the site.
Even if you weren't born with an ounce of artistic ability, Goodjoe believes there's creativity and good in everyone. Recognizing that all great things come from a single idea, anyone can submit a design inspiration for an artist to develop and see it come to life.
Once a month, Goodjoe runs another design contest called "for the Greater Good Series". It's a way to create exposure and provide a sustainable fund-raising avenue for nonprofit organizations with otherwise limited resources.
A nonprofit organization is selected from a list of nominees and the design theme is based on their mission statement. At the end of the contest, the organization selects the design that best represents them.
Once the shirt is printed and available for purchase on the Goodjoe site, the nonprofit organization earns up to 50% of the proceeds of each shirt sold.
Everyone who buys a shirt, votes for a design, or nominates a nonprofit organization is helping to make the world a little bit better.
I bought my husband two Goodjoe shirts that day and they did NOT need to be returned. (Win!) He gets lots of compliments and asked where he got them.
"Did you tell them? Did you tell them?", I eagerly ask before launching into Goodjoe's inspiring story once again.
There are many companies, both large and small, making a contribution to society. I still shop at Target for the essentials. There's a terrific online company who delivers diapers to my doorstep in 2 days or less, and my family's toilet paper comes in bulk.
Now that the holiday season is in full swing and finances being tight, it will be difficult to resist those much flasher, louder, BIGGER stores vying for my bucks.
But somewhere between Black Friday and CyberMonday, stop to consider the Goodjoes of the world-- the small, local businesses creating jobs, boosting the economy, and preserving neighborhoods around the country each and every day.
This Saturday, November 27th, 2010 will be the first ever Small Business Saturday.