The most millennial idea ever

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Home Free Tees

The most millennial idea ever. 

I’m kind of an idea kid. My friends make fun of me because every time they come to my house I say “New idea let's (fill in the blank.)” I’m sure I am exhausting to be around, I have tried to change but I can't. Through all the coming and going of random ideas a few made it, a few have failed, and most have been forgotten. 

Then there's this idea. An idea that has been stirring, morphing, and growing over the last 5 years. I have tried to let this one go but it always seems to come back to me - like a stray dog you found and fed for a few days. You kind of want to keep it but also kind of want to pass off to someone else because being a dog owner is a lot of work. But then you think about how fun it could be to have a dog and you end up naming it, getting attached, and keeping it forever. 

So I started a business and I named it Home Free Tees. 
The idea is a clothing company that designs shirts that truly reflect the adventurous, Montanan, sometimes dirtbag, climber lifestyle that we live. 

My mission is to make Home Free tees as authentic to my everyday values as it can be. That is why the shirts we sell retail will all be printed on previously owned or thrift store shirts. This is for two reasons. One, I rarely buy new clothes. Most of my wardrobe came from a thrift store. Why would I ask people to buy something I would not buy or could not afford for myself. Two, because I deeply care about the mistreated people on this planet. Fast cheap fashion has devastating consequences to the people that are employed at the bottom. When I came face to face with the facts, there was no way I could, in good conscience, start a clothing company that was part of that problem. Rather, I wanted to offer a solution. Watch the movie “The True Cost”, people. It’s like one of the health movies on Netflix but about fashion, that leaves you glad that you are now informed on the issues, but kind of upset because now you feel responsible to make better choices. Now, I walk through Target (my favorite store) and know I would feel guilty if I bought unethically made clothes. 

Here is the thing about my ideas: they don't just stop at “Let’s start a clothing company.” They are more like when you played with your friends when you were a kid and were halfway through playing house and someone went “And then...” Soon enough, you are president of the moon. That’s what my ideas say, they always keep excitedly saying “And then… And then…”

And then.
Right now there are a lot of “And thens” for this dream of Home Free Tees. What if it moved past a neat idea and became something that could truly add value to a person's life. What if it could become the means of income for a woman in a developing country who needs a job to feed her family and send her kids to school. What if this dream could use the beauty of other cultures and ingenuity of people around the globe to build a business that helps bring about sustainably by adding value to what we already have rather then always reaching for something new. 
I know it all sounds big and crazy to me too. But like I said, I tried to pass off this thing off, but now I’m attached. My “and thens” always get away from me before I can put them on a leash. Too many puppy metaphors? I don’t know. 

So that’s my idea. 
And I’m sure you have a lot of questions. But let me answer a few. 
Yes, I am running this out of my bedroom at night and on the weekends while working a full time job. 
No, I did not go to school for business. 
No,I did not go to school for art. 
Yes, I spent the time I should have been going to college traveling the world. 17 countries and counting. 
Yes, I consider my education all the business podcast I have listened to. 
Yes, My first investor was the man who wrecked my car because I’m using insurance the money to start a business, while driving around a ‘97 Volvo station wagon with a dented fender and mirror duct taped on. But we used black duct tape, so it looks classy. 

And yes, I realize this sounds like the most millennial idea ever. 
But after a lot of prayer, research, and talking to actual business people I have decided that if I give this enough work, grit, and believe it is an idea that belongs to me for a reason. it might just work. And if I fail, I lose nothing, but rather, I gain the knowledge about how to start a business and learn about my passions along the way. 

So, here we go. 
Home Free Tees. 
I am busting my butt to get this thing off the ground. 

Join me. Pray for me. Send me advice. Send me coffee. Buy a shirt. Tell a friend. 
However you want. But join me. My favorite thing is to rope people into crazy ideas with me. 

 

Anika Erickson