Online T-Shirt Company Seeks to Change Lives with Microloans

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San Diego-based online company, the Tradery, aims to improve lives of impoverished people from across the globe.

By purchasing one of our shirts, a microloan is given to a person in need anywhere from the Philippines to Africa.

The Tradery’s motto, “A shirt bought is a life changed,” fully captures the essence of the San Diego online t-shirt company. What started as an effort to improve the lives of others across the world has turned into a global phenomenon. For every t-shirt purchased, the Tradery helps issue a microloan to a person in need.

“We had this idea that we wanted to help people who were working hard to help themselves,” explains founder Corey Johnson. He continues, “By purchasing one of our shirts, a microloan is given to a person in need anywhere from the Philippines to Africa. We want to extend our reach as far as we can, and that’s why we partnered with Kiva, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.”

The idea was first developed by Johnson and his partner, Jon Pittard, in 2013. The logo on the t-shirts are all variations of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” phrase that first became popular before the second World War. Johnson wanted to take a trending phrase and apply it to the investors and traders of the world, giving them a T-Shirt they would be proud to wear. Every shirt available is investor/trader oriented, making it practical for the buyer.

Johnson states, “The way it works is a person purchases a shirt online, we help make a loan through our partner, Kiva, and the customer can follow the progress right on the Tradery’s website. The goal is to make the process easy and accessible, so customers know exactly who they are helping with their purchase and how it is being used.”

Financial loans are made possible with Field Partners, which can be microfinance organizations (MFIs), social businesses, schools and non-profit organizations. Lenders like the Tradery can browse loan requests and select which ones they'd like to help fund. Kiva aggregates funds from lenders and provides them to the Field Partner. The Field Partner collects repayments from borrowers as well as any interest due. Interest rates are set by the Field Partner, and that interest is used to cover the Field Partner's operating costs. Kiva doesn't charge interest to its Field Partners and does not provide interest to lenders.

“Kiva ensures that the lender gets paid back; the organization uses these funds to credit the appropriate lenders with their loan repayments. Lenders can re-lend their funds to another borrower, donate their funds to Kiva (to cover operational expenses), or withdraw their funds via PayPal,” explains Jon Pittard.

For those looking to purchase a shirt and begin a loan, visit The Tradery accepts all major credit cards as well as PayPal.

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Corey Johnson
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