First, we encourage you to watch our 30 second introduction video below. And then, we can go into more detail.
[Just want to jump in and see all our Iowa-themed T-Shirts? Sure thing. Here you go!]
What’s the Purpose of “Iowa love”?
Most simply said - to support Iowa communities.
How do you go about doing that?
- Offer meaningful and creative t-shirt designs so folks can express their “Iowa love”
- Partner with local artisans to create “Iowa love”-branded goods, which make for perfect gifts through our Made with “Iowa love” program
- Promote locally owned main street retailers through our “Hometown Retailer Partner” program
- Fundraise & donate to local nonprofits and causes. [Thanks to the incredible support of “Iowa love”-ers across the state (and country!) we’ve been able to donate nearly $200,000 to local causes.]
What "Iowa love" products are offered nowadays?
- "Iowa love" T-Shirts
- "For Our Farms" T-Shirt
- Sweatshirts / Hoodies
- Long Sleeves
- And, lots more (accessible on the main menu)
OK, back to your story... So, how'd this all get going?
It all started in the fall of 2018 when William Heathershaw (Hi!) drove into Iowa from Minnesota, and gazing at the welcome sign, recognized that the word “Iowa” looked awfully similar to the word “love”.
When he drafted the "Iowa love" Symbol and showed it to folks, nearly everybody was surprised to see how the two words can be read interchangeably.
Heathershaw then wanted to put it to good use. The Council Bluffs and Sioux City areas were experiencing horrific flooding during the spring of 2019, so he promoted the “Iowa love” T-Shirts as a fundraiser for the United Way relief and recovery fund. $700 was fundraised and donated.
Also that spring, he also set up a partnership with the Iowa Veteran’s Museum in Waterloo and offered the t-shirts within their gift shop as a fundraiser for the museum. And soon thereafter, the Top of Iowa Welcome Center in Northwood began to carry them.
As traction was growing, Heathershaw determined that the business model couldn’t rely entirely on partnering with nonprofits for fundraisers as that would decrease the potential for donations.
He hit the road during the summer of 2019 visiting dozens of towns across Iowa ultimately setting up wholesale partnerships with 30 locally owned retailers in almost as many towns. This would be the best way to share the “Iowa love” while building a business, through the “Hometown Retail Partner” program.
Fast forward to today, and we partner with 60+ retailers across the state, expanded the offering of products to far beyond t-shirts, and have been able to fundraise & donated nearly $200,000 to local causes.
Okay, that is quite the lovely story. What's the newest initiative going on?
We actually just launched our T-Shirt of the Month program in January. You have an option to become a Member!
Awesomeness. Oh, and do you have a formalized Vision & Mission Statement?
Yes, yes we do:
Iowa-based businesses, artisans, and nonprofit organizations are able to thrive, in-part, thanks to our providing of opportunities to folks not only statewide, but worldwide, to support their vitality.
“Iowa love” is a mission-driven clothing & goods brand that supports a community of folks that love their hometown, Iowa small businesses, artisans, and nonprofits.
This is accomplished through the partnership with Iowa-based vendors and artisans to create apparel and gifts featuring the "Iowa love" Symbol.
Once the wares are brought to communities statewide through a network of locally owned “Hometown Retail Partners,” 50% of quarterly profits are to be donated to causes that experience an immediate need.