Serengetee uses fashion to raise money worldwide
A hat from Ghana. A hoodie from the Philippines. An iPhone case from Australia. Serengetee brings fabrics from all across the globe to your wardrobe, raising money for countries at the same time.
The company all started when three friends from the University of Arizona traveled the world on Semester at Sea, a floating-campus study abroad program. After their oceanic voyage, the friends founded Serengetee in the comfort of their dorm room with every last cent they had.
To aid in the mission, Serengetee has campus representatives every semester in different regions of the United States to wear and promote the brand. The southern region includes Georgia, Texas, Alabama, South Carolina and Florida. UCF currently has seven campus reps.
"I think anything helps, even if you can make a little difference," said Jessica Banks, a freshman English major and UCF campus rep.
Five percent of the proceeds go to a charity or organization for that fabric's country. When buying a Serengetee product, a customer selects a fabric pattern from a country and then chooses a product such as a pocket tee or hat. When picking a pattern, a story will appear to show what cause that 5 percent will go toward.
Customers can also search fabrics based on region, flags and even celebrities. Celebrity Tyler Posey, known for his role in MTV's Teen Wolf, is one of many. He has his own fabric dedicated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
With more than 11 fabrics from regions all over the globe — from Ghana to Australia, Brazil, the Netherlands and even the United States — prices for the products range from $55 for a zip-up hoodie to $12 for a classic bracelet.
For Banks, she has a personal connection with her fabric of choice — a limited edition Valentine's Day fabric pattern from Tanzania, which she says supports education in that country.
"I've been so blessed with the education I've gotten up to this point and the fact that I have so many resources available to me," Banks said of what inspired her to join Serengetee.
The campus representatives don't receive a salary; instead they receive store credit. For each product they sell, the rep gets a $10 store credit and a 15 percent discount on the products.
The representatives have a link from their account, which they give out to the customer in order to track their sales and give new customers discounts.
Brian Tucker, the Southern Region Rep Leader for Serengetee, said the stylish fabric patterns have no end.
"The founders, Ryan and Jeff, travel frequently to different continents exploring new countries and countries past visited," Tucker said. "They just recently got back from Asia, so we can see some more fabrics from there being released. There is so much of the world to explore, so any allowing country has the possibility of being featured on the site."
Recently, Serengetee released iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 cases with the fabric patterns. In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, the company has mighty green fabric patterns from Indonesia, Ghana, Guatemala, the Soloman Islands and the United States.
Veronica Brezina is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future.