Georgetown grads start philanthropic apparel company
Recent Georgetown graduates Zack Schwab (COL ’11) and Calvin Andrews (MSB ’11) have launched Givons, a start-up that promises well-made Oxford shirts with a philanthropic edge. The socially-responsible e-commerce apparel company donates one shirt to charity for every two shirts purchased, said Schwab in an email to Vox.
Having graduated from the Hilltop and entered the real world, the founders of Givons found themselves wearing a formidable number of Oxfords at their office jobs. They were consistently disappointed, however, by overpriced and poorly-made shirts.
Schwab and Andrews thought they could do it better. Eighteen months of research and development later, the Givons Oxford was born: “Our shirts have a bit more room in the chest, shoulders, and upper arms but slim down through the waist for what we call our Modern American Fit,” said Schwab.
Being an online enterprise, Schwab and Andrews realized they could give back: “Since we didn’t have to deal with any of the costs associated with a brick-and-mortar store, we could build a philanthropic aspect into our business model,” wrote Schwab.
“It took 18 months from conception to final product, and at times we were not sure if we would be able to pull it off,” Schwab told Vox. “In October 2013, we approved a prototype and put in our first shirt order, at which time I quit my job and moved to NYC to prepare for the launch of the company. We opened for pre-sale in late November, and we just received our inventory a few weeks ago, so we have now officially launched.”
This autumn, Givons will send out their first batch of donation shirts. The shirts will be donated to Hospitality House, which serves homeless in San Francisco, and Career Gear, a New York-based company that offers professional attire and advice for disadvantaged individuals interviewing for jobs. Schwab and Andrews chose charities that operate in cities they call home. They are interested in expanding the list charities that Givons works with and look to their customers for ideas.
“We’re always open to partnering with other organizations, and we love to hear about them from our customers,” wrote Schwab.
Available in blue, pink, and white, the Oxfords all have one green button. “We chose the green bottom button because we think it looks cool and makes the shirts subtly unique. It’s also a great conversation starter,” Schwab said.
Girls have not been left out of the fun. Givons has an Oxford for self-identifying females, the Boy Friend. The best part is that the Boy Friend is the exact same shirt as the Oxford just photographed on a female model, proving that Givons knows their marketing.
As for the company’s name, Schwab names their muse as a character from the show Justified: a “well-dressed, good-looking all-American US Marshall” with the last name Givens, wrote Schwab.
Well-dressed, good-looking, all-American? Sounds like good ol’ Georgetown to Vox.
Photo courtesy of Givons