"Iowa love" was founded in 2019 by Waterloo-native William Heathershaw to provide a platform for fellow "Iowa love"-ers to express their affection for their home (or adopted!) state while supporting small businesses and nonprofits.
Although Heathershaw lived in Iowa for the first 22 years of his life, he's spent the last 11 years outside of Iowa - in Beijing, Silicon Valley, and most recently Minneapolis. It is this distance from home that made his heart grow fonder for his home state. This fondness is likely the reason why when Heathershaw was driving into Iowa from Minnesota in late 2018, Heathershaw thought the word "Iowa" on the welcome sign actually said "love".
This is how the "Iowa love" Symbol was born.
The Symbol features a cursive design that uniquely simultaneously spells the words "Iowa" and "love". This design has proven to be very popular not only because of the optical illusion, but because many Iowans find deeper meaning when reflecting on their own interpretation of "Iowa love".
The Symbol sat on Heathershaw's desk for a few months while he considered its potential. He wanted it to be more than a T-Shirt company. By April, it was determined that "Iowa love" would be a social enterprise with the founding mission to partner with Iowa-based vendors and artisans to create apparel and gifts featuring the "Iowa love" Symbol, and to bring the wares to communities across the state through locally owned retailers.
Through the purchase of "Iowa love" apparel and gifts, fellow "Iowa love"-ers are able to express their affection while benefiting Iowa nonprofits thanks to "Iowa love"'s commitment ofdonating 50% of its quarterly profitsto causes experiencing an immediate need, primarily directly positively impacting children.
"Iowa love" T-shirts and apparel are screen printed in Cedar Falls, while operations are based in Waterloo.