Be Simple Apparel was founded, in a sense, by accident. I was only 14-years-old and was suffering with anxiety and depression. I was constantly repeating these few words: I wish life were simpler. I was fed up with the complexities of daily life and adolescence. In the fall of 2008 when I had just started 8th grade, I left the college prep school I had gone to for nearly my whole life and chose to transition to a more independent schooling program. Over the course of 8th grade, I changed as a human being: as I had more independence from the rigid structure of my old school and was able to tailor my education to my interests and values, I became less focused on myself, and I became more focused on the world as a whole. I always wanted things to be simpler, and I longed for a better world. At the time, I had no idea that I would work towards creating a better world through business.
In the summer of 2009, I opened up Microsoft Word and wrote two words in big font: Be Simple. I printed it out and put it on my bedroom door. This piece of parchment symbolized my long struggle to simplify my life and find happiness through helping others. I spent much of my free time writing “Be Simple” in unique, creative ways. When I finally, once again, had my creative freedom, I decided to put this idea to work. I figured t-shirts, and my father suggested I do more design than just my original “Be Simple” with the ying-yang.
For such a powerful message, I knew no ordinary t-shirt would do for my new “Be Simple” line, so l decided to make my t-shirts made of 100% organic cotton, printed with water-based inks, and made in the USA. I was unwilling to compromise from my values, and I wanted my designs to set an example for how products should be: focused more on quality than on quantity. I also wanted to add a charitable component. Months after Haiti was struck by the earthquake, I wanted to give 5% of profits to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund on top of everything else.
Although Be Simple Apparel started as a concept, I wanted to to run it profitably like any other business would. Therefore, I established an LLC in the State of Minnesota, I copyrighted my “Be” designs, and I finished all necessary paper work. Next, I planned a launch party for family and friends. The launch party was a success, and from that point and until now, I have done my best to sell my Be Tees directly (online or in-person) and through special retail partnerships. Be Simple Apparel has been a learning project for me, and I plan to continue running it as long as I can.