THE PAST: OUR ORIGINAL STORY
Lori Myren-Manbeck is a geriatric clinical psychologist who founded Inclusivi-tee in early 2017. She started the company as a direct response to the continuing and increasing divisiveness she was seeing and out of a concern that people’s rights were not only being challenged, but directly taken away.
“I heard people saying they didn’t know what they could do to help and I felt a need to make a difference, to give my friends and others something specific they could do, to provide a community and to highlight positive change and action," said Myren-Manbeck.
Lori wanted to develop a project that would promote and support environmental and social justice and kindness. And, because Lori knows the value of art, is partnered with an artist, and understands that artists are often negatively impacted when progress is stalled, she wanted to involve the artist community in her plans.
“We are not going to succumb to paralysis. We are on the right side of history and we will win.”
The result of Lori’s commitment to justice and inclusive diversity is her company, Inclusivi-tee. Inclusivi-tee vows to be a vital part of the growing social enterprise movement for years to come, growing and changing to fit a changing world with beautiful artist-driven wearables, ever-growing donations, and active participation in the progressive community.
THE PRESENT: UPDATES TO OUR STORY
When Lori started Inclusivi-tee, her vision included selling artist-designed t-shirts and bags with themes of kindness and justice and holding community events. In service of this vision, Inclusivi-tee has worked with many talented artists, held inspiring community events, became involved in the worldwide kindness movement, sold t-shirts, and joined a network of amazing social enterprises. Lori has given talks on kindness and is writing a book on kindness, justice, and happiness. It has been an exhausting, fun, challenging three years.
Lori has enjoyed (and been challenged by) the big learning curve of entrepreneurship. She found out that simply having great designs is not enough; that the t-shirt market is glutted; and that people “loving our mission” did not translate into sales. Our customers were drawn to our passion, liked our designs, and enjoyed our events, but had a difficult time seeing the link among t-shirts, justice, and community events. Who were we supporting, why should they buy our shirts, were we a non-profit? We were too many things, with too many goals, and it was confusing.
To succeed and thrive we realized we needed to develop a clear, easily understood product and mission, something our customers readily understood; something they wanted to share; something to tie it all together. So, Lori used her “psychologist” listening skills to learn more about her customers and their needs.
Over and over Lori heard, “I love these designs but…I cannot buy another t-shirt; my closet is full; I just gave away 50 shirts…” She continued to listen and heard non-profits lamenting the high cost of “guessing” which size t-shirts to buy for fundraisers and parents complaining about buying another t-shirt for every event. As Lori looked for eco-friendly material, she noticed that very few t-shirts are eco-friendly. She then looked further at the fashion industry in general and discovered the large negative footprint clothing is leaving on our planet.
About six months ago, fueled with this information, Lori decided to regroup, re-evaluate Inclusivi-tee’s mission, and make some changes. She consulted with her board; her new COO; her husband, an artist who has created several designs for Inclusivi-tee; and several company supporters.
We asked ourselves what we wanted to create, what story we wanted Inclusivi-tee to tell. We quickly decided we wanted to keep our mission and vision statements largely untouched; continue creating graphic designs that inspire kindness, justice, and creativity; maintain our pledge to donate 50% of our profits; and continue working with artists. We also decided that traditional t-shirts were not the path to a sustainable future.
Over the next few months, the idea for Shareables started to emerge. For Lori, it feels like Inclusivi-tee was always heading in this direction---we just didn’t know it.
THE FUTURE: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE
We are really excited about the future of Inclusivi-tee. With the right manufacturing, the best creative team, and skilled marketing, we believe Shareables can take the fashion world by storm. There is literally nothing else like this product.
Once we launch Shareables successfully with a bag and jacket, goals include:
Adding t-shirts, wooden frames, overalls, jumpers, t-shirts, and hoodies to the Shareables collection.
Working with communities to plan additional ten day kindness celebrations.
Offering more kindness-themed keynote addresses and workshops.
Working with other non-profits, corporations, organizations, and individuals to create a world where justice, kindness, and sustainable fashion are the norm. Increasing donations to non-profit organizations that support ecological and social justice.
INCLUSIVI-TEE GIVES BACK TO ORGANIZATIONS
Inclusivi-tee supports local and national nonprofits whose missions include promoting justice and kindness. Click here for more information.