2020 started off with a bang. High hopes for this decade were already laid out for the USA. Everyone loves a leap year, the Olympics were coming up, and the election later in the year gave us lots to think about.
A personal tradition of my own was set to get under way. I am a US Census enumerator and I have worked the last three censuses. I was stoked to get sworn in (it’s a federal job) and start canvasing my neighborhood to help uphold Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution (cue the slow-waving flag and gliding bald eagle).
Then, not a full three months into 2020, the pandemic hits. COVID-19 ignored all of our grand plans for the new decade. It disrespected boundaries and closed down entire countries. The so-called “invisible enemy” emptied the world’s busiest streets, shuttered churches, schools and decimated whole economies from big corporations and mid-sized firms, to small locally owned neighborhood gems.
For many of America’s small companies, getting their businesses right-side-up again will be a slow process. Our latest entry in A Canvas For Good gives us the pep talk America has been waiting for.
An idea from a staff member became the spark Brendan Pape, CEO of Brist MFG. in Bellingham, Washington needed to launch the We Got This, America campaign. He saw his initiative as a rallying cry for how small businesses and non-profits can move forward.
Brendan knew all about the heartache that small businesses endured during the pandemic. When orders for his company slowed down, he laid off nearly all of the staff of his custom textile company. From that experience, the campaign to help other small businesses and non-profits thrive during these uncertain times was created. Brist sold t-shirts touting “We Got This” through a central website and affiliate links. Each business who signed up got their own unique link to share with their community and customers. When someone purchased a “We Got This” shirt, 50% of the sale went back to that local small businesses or non-profit.
SanMar’s early support was very important to helping launch the campaign, which has a goal of raising $1 million, which means they will have to sell 100,000 shirts. Right now, it appears that they are on their way to meeting that goal.
Brist’s campaign is one of many examples we’ve found of people in the promotional products industry finding ways to help one another during the pandemic. Others, like Zome Design’s Stay Strong Together campaign and Simply Seattle’s Stay Strong Seattle, share the same goal of finding unique ways to support local businesses while business is slow for everyone.
We are all hoping to get our lives in a happier and more secure place very soon. It is nice to know that there are companies that put people first when times get rough. Best of luck to Brendan and his team.
Have you heard stories you’d like to share of businesses doing good right now? Are you part of one of those businesses? Share your story on A Canvas For Good, or join the conversation on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.