I quit my corporate job to do what I love. Here’s a snapshot into the past, present, and future of York Project.
When I was a kid, my parents always told me that I could do anything that I wanted in life, if I just put my mind to it. I believed them, too, until about seventh grade when I realized that I would never play for the Detroit Red Wings. As I’ve grown up, I’ve tried my hand at so many different things, but the one thing that I always come back to is designing and making clothes.
When I first started this York Project thing back in 2012, I really didn’t know what it was going to be all about. I remember walking into the local hardware store where I worked and buying up a stack of 10 or so beanies. My coworkers were saying to me, “What are you going to do with all of those?”
I told them, “I’m going to start a project where I’ll sell these hats and then subsequently donate a hat to a homeless shelter in Detroit. Just like TOMS Shoes, but right here in our community.” I was originally going to call it the, “Detroit Hat Project.”
I think they all kind of half believed me, but I bet if you were to ask Mitch, Matt, or other Josh today, they’d be just as surprised as I am how far it is come. Back then, I only wanted to do this as a fun little thing in my spare time in order to give back to Detroit. I truly never thought that it could become my real career and that I would dedicate my life to it. But now five years later, that’s exactly what’s happening.
You see, York Project is everything that I want in life. It affords me a creative outlet, the use of my business education and acumen, and most importantly, it allows me to work with my family and closest friends to create a positive change in our community. I love helping people, and I love that York Project provides a way for the important people in my life and me to be able to help others together.
I recently quit my full-time job at Abercrombie and Fitch to move back home with my parents and pursue York Project full-time. This fall is shaping up to be a very busy and exciting time for the company. We’ll be opening our first ever brick and mortar store in 12 Oaks Mall, of Novi, Michigan, and we’ve got some really cool collaborations coming up with brands like Shinola and other local names. Most importantly, we have an incredible team of 8 members, which will allow us to have a presence at all of the events that we need to be at in order to properly share our story with the world. This team consists of some of my closest friends and even family members. They range from a senior in high school, to a NYC digital advertising professional, and everywhere in between. All in all, we have some of the most talented people at their given crafts, and we’re ready to take this company to the next level!
With that, I am writing this post not only to give a quick update of where we’re at in 2017, but also to share our initial plans for 2018.
York Project is going to run a Kickstarter campaign to raise $30,000 online and then an additional $20,000 outside of the KS platform. This money will fund Phase II of our York Project journey. We may be changing the name up for this new phase, but that will be decided later. We will be setting up garment manufacturing in Detroit where we will hire an individual from a shelter that is looking to re-enter the workforce. I don’t know who this person is yet or what their story is, but we want to provide the second chance that someone needs to change their life around for good. We are going to train them in industrial sewing and garment manufacturing, and we will begin producing all of our clothing in the city, as well as building the blank garments for other clothing lines and companies that want to be made in Detroit. We feel that there is a gap currently in the wholesale apparel market — there are only a couple main players, and they make their garments overseas. We plan to bridge that gap by offering top quality wholesale blanks, that are made right here in our community.
So where do you come in?
We will need all the help we can get in spreading the word about our 2018 fundraiser. Beyond just spreading the word, we will need direct support in actually raising the funds.
With as little is as $25, you will be able to support the campaign with the purchase of a T-shirt. Not only will this purchase help us raise our monetary goal, but purchasing through the campaign will also help provide 7–10 weeks of work for our newest team member, if we hit our goal. You’ll play a direct role in positively impacting the life of a person in need, and you’ll be part of our exciting new business from the ground floor.
I’m giving it my all to making this company a success. I’m being the change that I wish to see in the world, and I hope that you follow along on my journey. We’re excited for the end of 2017, and even more excited to take the journey into Phase II come 2018.
To receive updates for our 2018 Kickstarter campaign, Click Here.
To view the York Project webstore, Click Here.