Sunday morning, many of us woke to news of Hurricane Harvey’s extensive damage to the Texas Gulf Coast. Brittany Frey, mom of three, received a text from her friend, Mary. The text read, “watching the news and could just cry, it’s so horrible. P.S. I think God said to make a shirt to raise funds for Texas.”
Brittany, the owner of Truth Ink Apparel, a faith based clothing company in north Texas, sat down at her computer and designed a T-shirt with the words “Sweet Home Texas” sketched across the state’s outline. The words and state outline were white; the shirt was maroon.
At 6:30 pm that same day, Brittany posted the shirt to her Facebook group, letting her followers know that 100% of the proceeds were going to Hurricane Harvey victims. Brittany’s computer dings every time her website makes a sale, and at 7:30 pm it started dinging–and didn’t stop. Comment after comment popped up as people shared the post and ordered a shirt.
By the time she woke up on Monday morning, Brittany had over five hundred orders for her Sweet Home Texas shirt. Mary, who serves as Truth Ink Apparel’s marketing manager, shared the shirt with The Boutique Hub, a Facebook community of boutique owners located across the United States. Boutique owners began to share the shirt on their own sites, and Brittany and Mary decided proceeds from the sale of the shirt would go specifically to small business and boutique owners who had lost everything in the natural disaster.
By Monday afternoon, however, there were literally thousands of orders, and Brittany was concerned about being able to keep up with demand. She and Mary discussed ending the fundraiser early but decided to pray first. Says Brittany, “Mary and I just started praying. We said, we need help. I don’t know where it’s going to come from.”
Shortly after that prayer, Brittany got another text from Mary. Brittany recalls, “Mary said, ‘You’ll never believe it, but we’re getting help from this amazing woman-owned boutique in Idaho called Cheekys.” The giant boutique offered to print and ship all orders, a lifesaver for Brittany and the fundraising efforts. Brittany explains, “they were an answer to prayer! We couldn’t have continued to do it without them.”
Cheekys and over fifty other boutique owners began listing and selling Brittany’s Sweet Home Texas shirt, and by Thursday morning, had raised an incredible $160,000 in less than five days. Latest stats put the figure at $200,000.
Money raised by the Sweet Home Texas shirt will be used to assist Houston area small businesses and boutiques who lost inventory, stores, and homes in the still ongoing flooding. Funding will be used to provided boxes of supplies, gift cards, and clothing that can be sold to restock inventory, and funds to help restore families. Cheekys will continue to list the shirt on its website, where it is available to purchase.
The way the entire online boutique community has rallied together to become a “boutique army” is a powerful picture of women helping women. Brittany explains, “even if no one knew our names, it’s totally fine, because we’re all in this for one purpose. We’re just thankful to have a small part in helping get some people back on their feet. I can’t imagine not having a place to come back from or losing the business that provides for my family.”
If you’d like to purchase a Sweet Home Texas shirt, you can go here.
Find Truth Ink Apparel here.