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From Passion to Profits: Serengetee

Saturday Jun 06, 2015 7:30 AM


wear the world


Serengetee

Fashion is a representation of an individual’s own personal style.

Style is an integration of the production and process of creation that in turn is used by the consumer for their own personal identity.

Through the combination of conception and culture is the reality that the clothes you choose to wear not only represent how you want to be seen, but the significance of where those clothes came from as well.

While empowering causes and communities, Seregentee aligns certain artisan craftsmen with charities around the world in order to coincide different cultures together.

With over $100,000 of donations for various causes and $50,000 in purchased fabrics from 300,000 supporters in 32 countries, the inspiration for Serengetee was started with a dedication to create a unique clothing brand while connecting people internationally through various fabrics in hopes to bolster local communities while above all giving back to such cultures.

Serengetee has been able to become innovative clothing company due to their strong fan base and a dedicated mission statement by having the privilege of helping change the lives of people in many different communities from various cultures around the world.

The distinctive quality of Serengetee is the ability to customize the clothes that you want with fabrics form all over the world making it a one of a kind representation of yourself with a wide variety of choices of fabrics to choose from.

Along with creating opportunities for many different communities, each product and fabric is directly linked with a cause or foundation.

Serengetee’s products include:
Jean ShortsiPhone CasesLaptop CasesCrew SweatersBaseball TeesPillows, Backpacks, Cardigans, Crossbody Bags, Crewneck T-Shirts, Travel Cases, Beanies, Headbands, Bucket Hats, Long-Sleeved Shirts, Bracelets, 5-Panel Hats, Tote Bags, Button Earnings, Henley T-Shirts, Pocket Squares, V-neck T-Shirts, Tank-Tops, Thermal Shirts, Crop-Top Sweaters, Crop-Top Shirts, Deep V-Necks, Button-Down Shirts, Pullover Hoodies, and Zip-Up Hoodies.

Serengetee

Serengetee

Serengetee

Serengetee

Serengetee

Serengetee


What makes Serengetee different than a traditional clothing company?

We are a lifestyle brand for the adventurer and world traveler. We travel the world sourcing fabrics from the most remote of places and help bolster economies on a hyper local level by setting up fabric making co-ops and giving back to high impact causes within those same areas.

Who are the driving forces behind Serengetee? Our loyal fans, campus reps and employees. 

When was Serengetee founded?
In fall of 2011, I was studying abroad on a program called Semester at Sea, where we traveled to 13 different countries all over Africa, Asia and Central America. This is where I met my co-founder Jeff Steitz and we began buying fabrics from each of the countries we visited starting with Ghana. We weren’t exactly sure what we wanted to do with these fabrics but we thought they were incredible. By the end of the trip we had a huge collection of fabrics from all over the world and were incredibly inspired by the adventure we had just taken but also felt obligated to give back to the countries we had just seen. We then had the idea to take these fabrics and make them into pockets on t-shirts and that’s when Serengetee was born. We launched Serengetee.com 2 months after getting back to the US when we were juniors in college, which was now a little over 3 years ago.

Your mission is to “wear the world”. What is the main focus of that statement and in what exact ways does Serengetee hope to achieve said mission?
Our mission is to connect the world through fabric. Once you start looking into it, every country has it’s own unique style and patterns that have in many instances been passed down for hundreds of years. Ghana is known for it’s bright and colorful wax prints while Indonesia has an incredible batiking process and Guatemala has traditional back strap weaving. Some of these traditions are dying and we are trying to help keep them alive by bringing creating jobs and spreading their beauty.

Where is your company based out of and in what cities, countries and continents have you distributed your merchandise to, as well as offer help in regards to aid work and/or charity relief?
We are a team of nomads. I live in San Francisco but still spend a large portion of my life traveling. Jeff is based out of New York and travels just as much. The rest of the team is located in the Los Angeles area where our workshop is and all of our products are made. We have fabrics and cause partners in over 35 countries and counting right now and plan to keep that number growing each year. We have had some major success in setting up fabric co-ops to create jobs abroad and plan to keep setting those up around the world. One particular success story is with a woman named Rosa in Guatemala. Since she started weaving fabric for us about 2 years ago now, she has saved up enough money to follow her dream and put herself through nursing school. Her fabric has also gotten so popular that she now has 10 people working for her weaving her pattern! To date, we have raised over $250,000 for our cause partners and fabric makers.

Why should people support Serengetee? Is it more a point of pride behind your brand or what it is the brand is able to achieve that is able to mark its true success?
Every fabric has a story and when you wear a Serengetee, you get to share that story. By supporting Serengetee, you are supporting our causes and talented artisans around the world. This is what makes a Serengetee so much more than just a t-shirt or item.

How did you come up with the name Serengetee? Is there any significance?
I can’t take any credit for this, it was all Jeff. We wanted to name the company after somewhere in the world and we loved the name Serengeti, but it was unfortunately taken by a sunglasses company and we were really bummed out. We went back to the drawing board for a week and just couldn’t agree on anything. That’s when Jeff came up with SerengeTEE since our first products were going to all be t-shirts.

Would you say Serengetee is more than just a clothing company? If so, would you go so far as to say that the company’s focus is on more issues than just clothing?
Serengetee is a lifestyle brand and we try to live that lifestyle each and every day. We started Serengetee to give back to the countries we visited but to also keep traveling and we still do both.

What would you like to tell younger generations about creating unique identities for themselves?
Go for it. Go for that idea and lifestyle you have always dreamed of, you can figure out how to make it work. Find what makes you come alive and do it. And if you are a student, then there is literally no better time to start. As a student you have access to more resources than you know and still have the safety net of school to fall back on. If the idea fails, you now have real life experience and are better off than you were had you not tried.

Is there anything that our readers here at RYOT can look forward to coming out of Serengetee in the near future?
We have some awesome new products and fabrics coming out this summer! Follow us on Instagram to stay in the loop @serengetee.

If you could describe Serengetee in one word, what would that word be?
Empowering

Ryan Westberg (Co-founder, Serengetee)


This article is brought to you by our partners at RYOT. Click here to view the original article on RYOT.org

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