Learning about cool new products and brands has been one of the most exciting parts of being a blogger, but when I come across a company that has found a way to create ripples in their community that spread outward into the world, it never ceases to inspire me. Today’s Impact post is about t-615, an organization doing just that, and I’d love to have you let Meredith (our newest S&P contributor!) tell you all about their work below.
Click through to see me wearing some of my own t-615 favorites below, and for the full story of how this company is seeking to change the world through style and design…
This post is part of our new “Impact” series, and was written by S&P contributor Meredith Mohr.
A typical day for Emily Landham and Lauren Carpenter starts at their kitchen table, over coffee and notepads, with pens in hand and ready for some serious brainstorming. Sometimes Lauren’s husband plays guitar in the background as they talk about their business plan, making tweaks and coming up with fresh ideas. These two are the brains and the heart and the melody behind t-615, a Nashville based t-shirt and jewelry company.
Their every day norm as small business owners is about much more than sales and customers… In Emily’s words, they “use fashion and design to change the world.”
With every purchase, 25% goes to safe houses around the world where “rescued victims are loved, protected and empowered to embrace their freedom” from human trafficking.
The girls at t-615 talk candidly about the truth behind their passion: “The numbers are still astounding: over 27 million slaves around the world, approximately 20,000 in the United States. Half are children. When we first learned of this atrocity we knew we were meant to do something, yet the evil seemed insurmountable and we felt helplessly small. The victims need rescue, protection, medical aid and psychological council. None of these things we are equipped to give. But we do love fashion, creativity, entrepreneurship and… talking.”
They constantly remind themselves that “The victims must remain silent to survive, so we must do the shouting. We will use our creativity to share their story. Specifically, we will wear their story.”
And that’s exactly what they do every day.
Top to Bottom // Vintage coat, handmade skirt, Marc Fisher loafers // * notes a gifted item
Emily says that they knew they would be joining a formidable army of entrepreneurs doing this kind of work, but they didn’t want this project to be something they waited to do until they were “ready.” Instead, they felt the need to plunge head first into their new venture, fueled by the thrill to pursue change in the world and the deep satisfaction of pushing forward through the many challenges.
“It didn’t take long for us to realize that waiting until we felt more ready or more qualified or more rich was simply not an option,” Emily said. “This issue needed attention and it didn’t need us to be anything other than what we were: willing. We built a business plan and started doing a little work every day. We are learning new things with every new project, we make mistakes and we have successes, but we do it all with the desire to advance the abolition.”
“Early on in the process I was reading a biography of abolitionist William Wilberforce and came across this quote, which we promptly framed: “We are too young to realize certain things are impossible, so we will do them anyways.”
As we grow as a fashion line, we also want to grow as a community. A family of people who may not know each other, by name but we know that by wearing these products we’re all in this together,” Emily said. “It conveys this in the people we have met along the way, the moments we have had, the pots of coffee we have consumed, the designs we have discovered, the mistakes we have made.
“It’s not just about having a thriving company, it is about making a sustainable change. We have said from the beginning, when creativity and community collide, we can change the world.”
As they continue to “change the world with style,” Emily and Lauren hope to see their company grow with more involvement and more community and awareness about what is the heart behind their business. They also seek to be philanthropic in the production and distribution of their products by supporting local businesses and artists.