A quintet of Jamestown High School graduates sought to find a way to use their combined creativity in a compassionate and charitable manner. What they conceived was Crooked Sticks Apparel, a new clothing business which exhibits sustainable practices, quality products and charitable contributions.
Crooked Sticks Apparel focuses on three basic fundamentals which create the foundation for every product: passion, pride and people.
"It all started with Joshua Clark," said Sebastian Margaglio, Crooked Sticks Apparel co-founder and marketing and public relations director. "He wanted to start a clothing line that was based around donating proceeds to charities. I heard about it, and wanted to get involved, because my family had been involved with screen printing before. The whole idea behind Crooked Sticks is to operate as a sustainable business for the betterment of people. Instead of classifying ourselves as a nonprofit, we use the profits generated by our business to support worthy charities and causes."
Founding members of Crooked Sticks Apparel smile at a new screen plate before printing new shirts.
As a fledgling business, Crooked Sticks Apparel currently supports three charities with its profits: the Chautauqua County Humane Society, the Water Project and Rice Bowls.
"Most people know how the CCHS supports and advocates for animals in Chautauqua County, but some may not be familiar with our other charities," Margaglio said. "Rice Bowls is a faith-based nonprofit that helps to feed hungry children across the world. The other is the Water Project, which supports clean water projects in African nations."
Rather than establishing a brick-and-mortar store, Crooked Sticks Apparel instead sells completely through its website, www.crookedsticksapparel.com.
"With a brick-and-mortar store, there's more overhead, which drives up prices," Margaglio said. "We want to keep prices as low as possible, and we want to contribute to our charities as much as we can. Virtually everyone is connected or has access to the Internet, and this allows us to make our products more available and more affordable."
The Crooked Sticks Apparel quintet, in total, is made up of Clark, Margaglio, Jonathan Alm - co-founder and graphic design specialist, Andrew Hazenberg - co-founder and screen printing specialist, and Jerremy Dossey - chief financial officer.
The business recently celebrated the grand opening of its website with a launch party at Brazil Craft Beer and Wine Lounge in Jamestown.
"The launch party at Brazil had a fantastic turnout," Margaglio said. "Our friends at Good City Records were also hosting a launch party for its new vinyl club, so we decided to host our parties together. There were some people there for the vinyl club party that were curious about what we were doing, and hopefully we were able to return the favor to them. It was a really good chance to get some feedback on our products and reach out to some people who didn't know what we were doing at Crooked Sticks Apparel."
Margaglio said that he hopes the business can keep expanding, and as it does, he would like to increase the number of charities that it is able to support.
"The larger that we get, the more that we're able to help," Margaglio said. "We want to show our customers how much we appreciate them, which is why we focus on sustainable practices. All the clothing that we print on comes from American Apparel, so everything is made in the United States and absolutely nothing comes out of a sweatshop. When we ship, we use recycled materials and avoid using plastics as much as possible, instead using biodegradable materials like twine. We put ourselves into every item, and to show that, we include a personal, handwritten 'thank you' note in every shipment. We can't support our charities without our customers' help, and we want to make sure that message gets across."
Crooked Sticks Apparel has made available the discount code PJ10, which will discount any purchase on www.crookedsticksapparel.com by 10 percent until Oct. 13.