Alta Gracia One Year Later: Doing Good IS Good Business!


Guest blog post by Joe Bozich, CEO and Donnie Hodge, President

Just over a year ago, we launched Alta Gracia, offering students, their families and alumni, for the first time, the opportunity to give the workers who sew their college logo t-shirts and hoodies a living wage and, thereby, a pathway out of poverty. A year later, we are proud to say that Alta Gracia is growing so that it can continue to provide students with apparel made with respect for the rights and dignity of the people who make it. We’re living up to our slogan by making it possible for students to help “change lives one t-shirt at a time.” Thanks to the thousands of students who have embraced Alta Gracia, the women and men who make it are able to take care of all of life’s necessities, not just for themselves, but for their families.

When we launched, The New York Times called our business model a “high-minded experiment” and now, a year later, we can say with confidence, that doing good IS good business. And that yes, students DO support the brand because it is socially responsible. We launched at 250 stores, and now, just over a year later, we’re supplying over 400 college and university bookstores with “living wage/union made” t-shirts and sweatshirts. We have learned that when students are aware of Alta Gracia at their school, they buy Alta Gracia.

Alta Gracia has sold remarkably well at schools like Duke, NYU, Notre Dame, UCLA,  Georgetown, Penn State, Yale, and Florida International, where bookstores not only made a commitment to carry the brand, but have used Alta Gracia’s signs and given it prominent placement within their stores.

Thanks to student support, the entire community of Alta Gracia is thriving. Not only are families doing well – nutritious food, healthcare, better housing, and education – but new jobs are being created as business open to serve the factory and its workers.

A year ago, we asked the question, “can you change a life by buying a t-shirt?” and we now know the answer to that question is yes. Not only can you change a life, but you can change a family and an entire community.  We need your support to continue this experiment in a new, more socially responsible business model. Here are some ways that you can help:

  • If you haven’t already bought an Alta Gracia t-shrit or hoodie, please do so! And while you’re at it, think of your parents, your friends, or your colleagues. Alta Gracia clothing can make a great gift for a birthday or the holidays.
  • Spread the word. If we have learned one thing over the last year, it’s that people support Alta Gracia once they learn about it. Talk about us with your friends, in the classroom or at a sporting event.
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. And while you’re at it, upload a photo of you and your friends wearing our gear.
  • Let your campus bookstore managers and staff know that you appreciate their carrying Alta Gracia and displaying it prominently.
  • Check out our Get Involved page to learn about other ways you can support Alta Gracia.

Thanks for an incredible year!


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