Student-created business collects money for select causes

Reporter and Reporter

For Skyler Rogers, helping others and making an impact has been a lifelong passion.

When he was a junior in high school, Rogers collected money for charity using gum ball machines.

Today, Rogers has taken his cause to the next level.

Along with senior David Cullen and graduate student Wes Parsell, Rogers recently created NiceShirt, a company that donates money to a particular cause or organization by selling apparel inspired by that cause.

In summer 2011, Rogers was involved in the TEDx conference at the University. Rogers met a few students at the conference and after working well together, they realized they all had an interest in social entrepreneurship.

Using a business framework in order to make the world a better place, they began to talk about starting a business.

“A normal company operates on making as much money as possible … maximizing profits and shareholder value,” Rogers said. “Social entrepreneurship focuses on how much good is done to the world.”

In January 2012, Rogers and his two business partners created the company, which sells limited edition T-shirts and hoodies online.

The focus of NiceShirt is finding a nonprofit organization, studying its cause and creating a campaign for it, he said. The apparel is then designed to support a specific cause; with each item sold, $8 will be donated to that cause.

“We realized there was a need for both nonprofit organizations to raise money and fundraisers in communities,” Rogers said. “If someone has been diagnosed with cancer and there are unexpected medical bills … they are in need of support … and if there is a website online it can make their life a lot better and raise more money.”

An application is available on the business’ website,, where anyone can submit a cause or organization in need of additional funding, Rogers said. This helps the company reach out to the cause and become aware of it in order to create newly designed apparel.

A team of designers from across the country is working with the company on a project basis to create different T-shirts or hoodies for each cause, he said.

“Each campaign we do typically runs between one to three weeks,” Rogers said. “After that we have a new campaign with different apparel for a different cause.”

NiceShirt has campaigned for the Chardon High School shooting and worked with the University’s chapter of Alpha Xi Delta sorority to launch a new shirt campaign released Wednesday to help support the families affected by the March 2 car crash on Interstate 75, Cullen said.

“We want to use our tools in order to raise support and awareness for them,” he said.

The company has also worked with nonprofit organizations, including Stop Hunger Now, which is an international hunger relief organization that distributes food and other life-saving aid around the world, Rogers said.

“If there’s a tsunami or something similar they come in and bring meals to help everyone keep going,” he said. “We did a week long campaign for them and raised 1,800 meals.”

The company has also worked with Operation Ward 57, a nonprofit organization supporting wounded soldiers and their family members, as well as those that aid in their recovery, Rogers said.

“We did a T-shirt that said: ‘For the wounded the fight never ends,’” he said. “The feedback we received was unbelievable. People affected were so excited for the chance to wear that for their family or community member.”

Junior Alecia Hitchman, a regular NiceShirt customer, said the company is effective because it allows people to feel connected through their website and social media networks.

“The idea of having limited edition apparel sold between Monday and Sunday adds a sense of urgency and awareness to that cause,” she said. “If I know that a particular T-shirt will not be available anymore after a specific time, I would go ahead and buy it.”

NiceShirt’s ultimate goal is to become an automated online fundraising platform in order to allow those from various countries to create a fundraising campaign, Rogers said.

“It takes quite a bit of an investment to have a website that can do this automated … but that’s where we are headed,” he said.