Students raise money for countries through T-shirt company

UM junior Robert Finn met Claremont McKenna College junior Jeff Steitz  last summer on Semester at Sea, a study abroad program. One night during the trip, while drinking beers and sharing laughs, Steitz turned to Finn and said, “Dude, you got to listen to this idea. I think I’m on to something.”

Steitz’s idea was for a clothing company now known as Serengetee. The company would produce shirts featuring cloths from countries around the world.

After hearing his idea, four of Steitz’s friends, including Finn, jumped on board.

The company is named after the Serengeti desert in Africa and features American-made T-shirts, tank tops, and racer-back shirts, all with pockets sewn on the front. What makes this company original is that the consumer can choose the pocket’s fabric from more than 75 fabrics from about 30 countries around the world.

Fifty percent of the proceeds from each shirt purchased also go to a charity from that country.

“I think the shirts are totally awesome,” said Matt Millman, a UM junior who recently purchased a shirt. “I really like how you can choose by pattern or where you want the fabric from, and how it also is going to a good cause.”

The brand is targeted toward college kids and international travelers who have an appreciation for world diversity.  The shirts can also be customized so that the small Serengetee logo on the pocket can be replaced with any organization, fraternity or sorority name.

“We wanted to target young people who like to travel, but also just college kids who want something different to wear as opposed to the regular T-shirt,” said Finn, co-founder and the marketing coordinator of the company.

The company was launched in February and has taken off more than the group suspected.

During a start-up promotion Serengetee received 1,000 likes in just five days. They also have a Twitter and want to continue to use social media for more promotions, and to spread the word about their company.

“We are really just trying to get the word out there,” Finn said. “I think we are on the verge of something big.”

Shirts can be purchased at