Cause of the Day: Stitch Tees That Speak out Against Silence
A simple orange Stitch serves as a purposeful reminder that every voice matters. Choosing to wear this handmade Stitch on your shirt, hat, bag, or jacket shows that you want to support Speak Your Silence, a non-profit dedicated to conquering the stigma of child sexual abuse.
Speak Your Silence was founded in 2012 and has grown with the help and support of Stitch sales, amazing Loudspeaker members and now with the recent launch of these super soft and super rad, Stitch Tees! I discovered Speak Your Silence from my friend Nick a couple years ago and have been a huge fan ever since. I shared my Stitch kits with friends, my HGC team, and we loved them so much, we featured The Stitch in our Fall 2015 shoot!
Below Speak Your Silence founder, Matt Pipkin and I discuss how far The Stitch brand has come, the new classic tee collection and how you can help support Speak Your Silence by looking good, doing good and giving back!
HGC: I love The Stitch/ Speak Your Silence mission and all the work that you guys have done as a team to help change lives. Can you tell me about the counseling programs and how they have changed/expanded since The Stich was founded in 2012?
Matt Pipkin: Aw, thanks, Melissa! I love that you love it! Thanks for featuring us on your blog! Yeah, my counselor changed my life a few years back – he helped me realize my worth. So we wanted to make this possible for others.
We offer in-person, one-on-one counseling nationwide to anyone directly affected by child sexual abuse, regardless of financial means. You can apply confidentially here.
HGC: Growth- new apparel- I LOVE these tees! How did you guys decide to move from The Stitch into apparel?
Pipkin: They’re so soft! And they’re (ethically) handmade by a team of amazing women on Cape Cod. It’s always been our vision to see The Stitch physically worn on clothing. This year, we’re focused largely on partnering with clothing and apparel brands to incorporate The Stitch into their products on limited run, in efforts to reach our goal of 100k people wearing The Stitch. Our in-house apparel line was a step in this direction when we launched it a while back, making it easier for people to wear The Stitch and be a voice.
HGC: Can you tell me a little more about the Loudspeaker members? How can people become a member (if purchasing apparel or The Stitch is not their thing)?
Pipkin: I actually really appreciate you asking about The Loudspeaker because, honestly, it’s been the engine behind all our successes in our first handful of years. Being that 100% of public donations + profits from The Stitch fund our counseling program, we’re left with zero funding for actual mission and growth of The Stitch.
The Loudspeaker is a private donor group that answers this major need and invests exclusively in our growth. Membership is $100+ per month and funds product creation, our videos, website, office, staff, everything. We’re so grateful for each amazing Member. Growth of The Loudspeaker is one of our most important needs right now – so you can learn more about it here.
HGC: What have you enjoyed most about the journey of starting The Stitch?
Pipkin: I’d say there are two parts that bring me the most joy.
1) I love, love, love when people realize their worth. I think it’s one of the most important truths that a person can ever know about themselves.
2) Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to “build something from scratch” – something that matters and is done with excellence. I recently read Phil Knight’s book, Shoe Dog, about his experience building Nike from scratch. I read it like a thriller because I have such admiration for entrepreneurs who build amazing things from simple ideas and get there through pure passion and grit. I love a challenge.
HGC: What has been the hardest part of the journey?
Pipkin: Good question. Speak Your Silence’s mission – to conquer the stigma of child sexual abuse – truly speaks to the challenge of my/our job. It’s such a difficult topic for people to discuss and so close to home for so many that it often feels like the toughest cause on planet earth. When you work on something day in and day out, it’s easy to wonder if you’re making progress, even when it seems apparent to others that you are. But, when I question it all, I’m reminded of just how important our work is, and I’m encouraged by people who I’ve heard say, “The Stitch saved my life.” That’s what puts fuel in the tanks.
HGC: If you weren’t running The Stitch brand, what would you be doing?
Pipkin: Well, I never liked being an employee, so I know I’d be building another business of some sort.I’ve always thought it’d be hilarious to convert an old mobile home into a floating mobile “boat-thru” (water version of a drive-thru) restaurant on a lake in the mountains where people water ski in the summer. We’d serve hotdogs and I think I’d probably customize the trailer to look like a big floating hotdog. And the sweet relish would actually be an AstroTurf (or real grass) rooftop patio where people could lounge in old, faded patio chairs. And there’d probably be a water slide too. Who wouldn’t love that?!
HGC: What can we expect to see in 2017? Projects/collabs/new products?
Pipkin: Our goal is for 100k people to be wearing The Stitch by year-end. We’re currently hovering around 25k. To reach this goal, we’re working hard to build partnerships with clothing and apparel brands, and we have some neat stuff in the pipeline. Each person who wears The Stitch fulfills our mission in their own social circles. So, the more people wearing The Stitch, the more lives that will be changed and saved.
HGC: House of G&C is all about giving back and doing good – while looking good! How do you look good? Do good? and Give back?
Pipkin: I love your mission and your heart behind it. All my clothes come from my wife and mom at Christmas and my birthday, so any time I “look good” can be credited to them. Ash and I talk all the time about how God created each of us with for an important and very unique purpose, and how we want to simply affirm each person’s worth in every interaction. So, we strive to share this truth by simply loving others, which looks different from one situation to the next (which makes it fun).
HGC: Where would you like to see The Stitch in 5 years?
Pipkin: In 5 years, my hope is that The Stitch will have become a well-recognized symbol in the US, worn and shared by millions. Picture it and imagine how much safer people will feel to finally share their stories as a result. I’m excited about how many lives will be changed and saved as a result of each person who boldly chooses to wear The Stitch.
HGC: What is your favorite inspirational quote?
Pipkin: I have a paperweight my mom bought me years ago with a simple quote from Winston Churchill that’s been an encouragement to me a number of times over the past few years: “Never, never, never give up.”
HGC: Amazing! One of my favorite quotes and favorite Churchill quotes too! For more information on how to become a Loudspeaker Member, click here. Love these simple tees? Click here to shop the new Stitch Tee collection. Follow Matt and the Speak Your Silence team on social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
All photos courtesy of Speak Your Silence unless otherwise noted