in part in receiving credit for my anthro internship, it is required to conduct three interviews. for the first interview i reached out to sevenly [which everyone should go check out], and i received such a gracious response back as you will read below. and also the opportunity to work on a personal marketing project with austin, the strategic relationships coordinator, the one who willingly answered my questions! a thanksgiving break assignment.
What was the process of discovering the great concept of one design, one charity, one week? How did Sevenly finally take shape from coming up with the idea to putting it into motion [time frame, resources]? “Sitting in my office after an 8 hour discussion on the topic of fighting poverty I realized… the problem is not the millions of people who go in need everyday, It’s the billions of people who watch it happen and do nothing about it.
“We are the problem! I yelled to my friend Aaron. It’s us! Not them. How can we fix us?” -Co-Founder, Dale Partridge, 2010
In January 2011, two young entrepreneurs left their six figure ventures to chase a calling they believed could change the world. Dale Partridge, a 25 year old serial entrepreneur known for innovative branding, and Aaron Chavez, age 19, known as one of the top social media gurus in the country, got together to develop a model, they hoped, would re-teach a generation that people matter. “We were tired of people not caring about the hungry, sick, enslaved, and forgotten” said, Aaron.
With this, the two entrepreneurs broke down the world’s greatest problems into seven causes. Hunger, Water, Slavery, Aid, Disaster, Medical, and Poverty. Their focus was to create a simple model that allowed everyone to give. “We figured, if we can help people give, we could get them to care” said, Dale.
Wrapped around the number seven, they decided to call the organization Sevenly. The model works like this:
*Every seven days they would partner with a new charity affecting one of the seven causes
*They would release a new, limited edition awareness tee, specifically for that cause
*Over those seven days, for every product sold, they would give $7 to that week’s charity. (exe: 1000 tees = $7000 given)
What educational/career backgrounds did Dale and Aaron come from? Business or art majors? And what brought the dynamic duo together? As for the 2nd question, the only information I’ve gathered thus far, since both Aaron and Dale don’t work in our office anymore is that Dale graduated from high school, but actually dropped out of college to pursue entrepreneurship. Sevenly is his sixth business! I’m not sure what Aaron’s specific background is either.. still trying to find that out!
What is the process for each week from brainstorming concepts for the design, all the way to printing, and then shipping? How soon you begin each process?The whole process starts more than two months before the week of launch. We talk with a particular charity that we feel is a good fit with our community and discuss the impact that we can make with the $7 donations. From there we create a story, a tangible idea that breathes life into what that impact means and how we want to communicate it to our community of world changers.
Next, we go over art phrasing, this is done by our creative team along with the help of our charity department to ensure consistency with what the charity would like to do. The next step is to create an art brief, sketches and ideas for the weeks campaign’s designs. Next, the shirt designs get sent out to get samples in all the different cuts we plan on having go live with the campaign which we then use for a photo shoot. From there, our marketing team jumps into action, working with creative to develop content for the week’s upcoming content for social media, email, and web. At this point we are usually about a week out and start building the campaign with the products, finalizing what vendor products will go live along with the limited edition campaign tees. Then we update the site on the back end and are ready to launch the upcoming Monday at 10am.
How do you find/get in contact/decide on the charities each week? We have a contact form on our site where charities can apply and turn in their application. We review these applications (it’s a very competitive process) and see where we can find a time in the year for a week to team up with them. We base this on a lot of factors! Refer to the charity application on our website for more information.
Describe your role within Sevenly? What’s a typical day/week like for you? For a Sevenly designer?
What are all the different types of jobs at Sevenly? How many employees does it take to run Sevenly? How did you find out about your position? I work within our Marketing Department. My specific title is Strategic Relationships Coordinator, which means I seek out strategic relationships to benefit Sevenly and the charities we work with everyday. Typically, I am reaching out to new influencers (celebrities, talent, anyone with high following on social media) every week to hopefully endorse our brand and then, from there, I develop and grow longstanding relationships with these influencers, so that they continue to help drive awareness and funds to our site. My job is sometimes hard to explain, but it’s definitely crucial to our team!
As for the creative team, a typical day for them consists of receiving an art brief, looking for inspiration, creating concept sketches, and then finalizing a graphic. Through out this whole process, they communicate with the Creative Director to have a clear vision of the direction of the work. In a week, they usually do 2-3 campaign related pieces and when they’re not working on these, they’re creating work through their own vision for Sevenly Line pieces.
There’s 5 departments, charity, creative, marketing, operations and web development, and about 35 employees. I actually pushed my way into Sevenly! There was no opening at the time, so I made a role for myself. I knew Sevenly could benefit from my experience and skill, so I showed them how and why, and after being persistent for about 6 months, I was hired.
What experience/backgrounds do the designers come from? Most of our artists/graphic designers do not have any college experience/background. Here’s an answer from one of our artists, Zach: “I do not have a formal education in art/design. I have spent the past 6 years studying on my own, through books, online research, and personal experience. I was working full time as a Mural Artists last year under neath my father. I worked for him for about two years doing large scale murals scaling from a kids bedroom to buildings that were 400 ft long by 12 ft high. This past year I have been personally studying Hand Lettering/Typography. I have only been doing lettering for 14 months. My first freelance job was done 7 months ago.”
An answer from our Senior Artist, Nathan, about his background:
“I’ve drawn my whole life but after high school I decided to go to school for graphic design. I thought I’d be doing branding and layout my whole life but after two years at an advertising agency once graduating college with an associates in graphic design, I found myself looking for reasons to draw again. I’ve always done freelance design work on the side but the past year or two, I started doing more illustrated freelance projects which built my name as an illustrator in the design community. And that’s how I got to Sevenly!”
What is your favorite part about working at Sevenly, besides making such a great impact on people’s lives of course? Least favorite? Favorite part about working at Sevenly is that I get to do exactly what I love to do every day. I never come to work hating my job. In fact, I leave feeling inspired and excited for the next day each week.
Least favorite part is that the phrase, “Everyone has to pay their dues,” is true. When I first started, I did a lot of things that were not in line with what I wanted to do for Sevenly and/or what I was good at. During that time, I fell short a lot because I wasn’t passionate about it and wasn’t skilled in certain areas. But as I continued to show what I was good at and passionate about, overtime my skill presented itself and soon paid off, and then, I finally was given the opportunity to do exactly what I was good at and loved to do. There’s still things I’m asked to complete here and there that don’t line up with exactly what I want to do, but that’s what I asked for when I decided I wanted to work for a startup. We all have to pull each others’ weights once in awhile and I realize that when I walk into the door every morning at Sevenly!
I know Sevenly has grown tremendously over the past 2 years, have there been any struggles that you guys have had to overcome since then? Lots of struggles! Like I said, being a startup is hard work! The largest struggle is that we’ve had to be lean and nimble with our team, which means there’s a small number of us doing the large amount of work there is to do every week. I look around the room and see every Sevenly employee as extremely vital. If we didn’t have one of them, our business would certainly be at risk. Each one of us has to work hard and fast every single day. It can be a very testing career!
And then if you have any inspiring advice about life and making it through college/never letting go your dreams, that good stuff! Or any other fun facts about Sevenly! Biggest Advice: Live for purpose and meaning, not success, money or fame. Don’t settle for a job that will pay you a ton, but won’t bring you or any other person outside the walls of your company any value or purpose. Work hard. Be persistent. Be brave and don’t give up. Career life is hard, but it can be extremely rewarding as well. Lastly, you can change your world and the world around you RIGHT NOW. Don’t wait until after graduation. Start doing what you love for free… but ONLY for meaning, purpose and value. You’ll see immediate payoff, I promise…. I say this with such conviction because I’m 21 and I’m doing exactly what I love to do. I know you can too.