In the summer of 2011, all the pieces that make a really good idea and a great business came together: passion, philanthropic hopes and a solid business plan. As a Dallas, Texas, firefighter himself, Founder Jim Scano knows a little something firsthand about the emotional side of the business he began. Common in the industry, a firehouse will design a t-shirt that best represents that station and its members. In an effort to assist firefighter enthusiast in procuring these authentic firehouse t-shirts, in June, FireHouseShirtClub.com launched on the internet as a monthly t-shirt club that also found a way to give back to the community it celebrates.
When Jim initially had the idea of starting a Web site where firefighters could “swap” t-shirts with other firefighters regardless of geography, his good friend, Brett Hersley, offered his business knowledge and together, they developed the business model of a t-shirt club that gives back to the firehouses they feature.
Since June, the Web site has been enthusiastically welcomed and is steadily growing in members and fans. Perhaps success has come so quickly because the idea is a straightforward opportunity to give back while wearing the shirt of the firehouse the member actually supports. Members pay $20 a month, and in return they get an authentic t-shirt—the named Featured Shirt of the Month—from a participating firehouse across the country. Designs are chosen based on a multitude of factors such as the design’s uniqueness, the history of the station the shirt represents, as well as the cause or charity the station is working toward. All firehouses are encouraged to submit their shirts.
“I work at Station 10 in Dallas; because we are the furthest north station in Dallas, we call it 'The Last Outpost'. Our logo includes a Polar Bear as a tongue in cheek reference.” Jim says, “Enjoying other firehouse shirts rooted the idea.”
It’s a good deal and even better than that, membership financially supports the charity chosen by the featured firehouse of the month. In an effort to show appreciation and solidarity to the stations for allowing the club to feature their shirt, FireHouseShirtClub.com donates $2 for every shirt back to the station or to a charity of their choice. In September, when Chicago (IL) Engine Company 5's t-shirt was featured, donations went to the Chris Wheatley Memorial Fund for their brother who was killed in the line of duty a little more than a year ago.
To find out more about the company celebrating and making a difference in the lives of firefighters and their families across the country, visit www.FirehouseShirtClub.com.