In 2017 Nicole Jowett printed 10 tshirts with the word FEMINIST emblazoned on the front. She did this for no other reason than seeing one on pintrest. Not being able to find one locally, she decided she could make it herself. Those 10 t-shirts became the T-shirts for Change initiative, a profit for purpose business which aims to raise funds for charities by selling custom slogan tees and apparel. In her first year of business, Nicole has designed a range of slogan t-shirts, vests, hoodies, swimsuits and phone covers which has allowed T-shirts for Change to donate over R49 000 to charities supporting women’s rights, education, animal welfare, and LGBT+ rights.
In its first year of business, T-shirts for Change has donated over R49 000 to charities supporting women’s rights, education, animal welfare, and LGBT+ rights.
How old is the business?
What inspired you to start it?
Women’s Rights issues being in the forefront of the media made me want to express my alignment with women rights in a fun and new way, and I thought a t-shirt would be a great way to do that and to express myself.
What is Your Favorite Part of the business?
Seeing customers post pictures of themselves wearing the product to social media, seeing the face behind the order, how people style their t-shirts, and seeing what the causes mean to them personally.
What is your favorite t-shirt that you’ve created and why?
One of my favorites is START A REVOLUTION tee, not as popular as the sellout FEMINIST tee I originally created, but this tee is special to me because of the meaning behind the slogan. That every small act of kindness makes a difference, that if we come together as individuals we can create change. But that said, I’d have to say that the FEMINIST tee will always be special to me as it marks the beginning of this wonderful journey.
What inspires new product and the logos that go on them?
Suggestions from customers, social trends, social movements, collaborations with other social entrepreneurs.
What is the best way to style the OG Feminist Tshirt?
With your favorite jeans and sneakers! To make the style relevant for spring you could pair yours with 90s-inspired kick flare ankle grazer jeans, and a classic sneaker or brogues. For a more polished look you could add an on-trend mule and blazer.
How do you select the charities you work with?
We like the charities we work with to share our mission of empowerment, which most in South Africa do, and we also try to support lesser-known charities so that they can benefit from our multi-faceted model of raising funds and raising awareness through our very engaged social media following.
What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in starting T-Shirts for Change?
Working capital has been our greatest challenge, we overcame this by taking out two business loans which enabled us to order higher volumes and bring down our costs in the long run. Also negotiating rates with suppliers and our retail partner Zando has helped us make the finances work for the business.
What is the Best piece of advice you’ve received?
Don’t pay attention to the things that go wrong, focus on the things that are working. As long as something is working, that is a reason to carry on going.
What is your Beauty Obsession at the moment?
Environ intensive hydrating oil capsules, I’ve needed these to get my skin through the dry Joburg winter!
What is your Go to easy meal?
A quick salad, or a soup.
Never leave home without
Lip Balm, and an SPF hand cream.
After a hard day I..
Take a hot bath and watch my favorite show, or go out to dinner with friends.
Product that changed my life
Not so much a product, but the comeback of sneakers as a trend has really changed my life, gone are the days of suffering for fashion. I hope this trend becomes like denim and never goes away.
Favourite way to move your body
Running, boxing, yoga, mountain biking.
Best budget tip
Lately I’ve been setting a weekly spending limit for recreational spending, I draw that money in cash at the beginning of the week and having the actual cash on hand makes it much easier to keep track of my spending.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstein.
Favourite Healthy eating spot in your city
First is always Fresh Earth in Greenside, second is Corner Cafe in Craighall and I really want to try Lexi’s Healthy Eatery but haven’t had a chance to yet.
Zissy is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to make things, do things and wear things.