These third years have launched a new ethical and environmental clothing line
UEA students making the world a better place one t-shirt at a time
Often when making a donation to charity, we wonder how much of our money is actually making a difference to those who need it most. This issue is something that two third year students at UEA have set out to solve. Setting up their own company, Theta Alpha Sigma, the students set up a clothing company which produces environmentally friendly products and, for every item sold, provides stationary to schoolchildren in Cameroon.
Nick Hartshorn, a third year PE students and one of companies founders, stated: “Like many people, we’ve made ethical purchases and wondered how much of our money actually went to the charity concerned. As part of his International Development degree, my co-founder Fabio Falter visited Cameroon, where he volunteered in the Self Reliance School for orphaned and vulnerable children and saw that many of the pupils, aged 8-21, had no basic educational equipment.
“On his return, we came up with the idea of selling T-shirts and donating a rucksack filled with stationery for every purchase made rather than cash. That way, our customers know that they’re making a direct difference with every T-shirt that they buy.”
The two young entrepreneurs have received support from UEA’s Student Enterprise steam in setting up Theta Alpha Sigma. “They helped us to produce a business plan and a brand as well as providing initial funding of £500 to enable us to buy stock and develop our website, thetaalphasigma.co.uk, which launched in December,” said Nick.
UEA Enterprise Development Officer, Finbarr Carter, said: “Fabio and Nick saw a need and used their energy and initiative to fulfil it, so we were delighted to support them. It’s an inspiring example of how students can make a difference through enterprise.”
Each long sleeved T-shirt also saves 7 kilograms of greenhouse gases from its manufacturing compared to standard production and all items are made in accordance with the Fair Wear Foundation, which guarantees fair wages and a safe and healthy working environment.
“So far, our customers have mostly been fellow students who like our product and want to support the cause, but we’re hoping that the launch of our website means that we can widen that base and help more children in more schools,” said Nick. “It’s very rewarding to make such a direct impact.”