“We basically started this company with the idea that we wanted to partner with bands and give back to charity.” Erin Goss, a publicist by trade, and Louis XIV drummer Mark Maigaard are on the phone to talk about their fledgling enterprise, a startup they call Sound Off Apparel. If all goes according to plan, Sound Off will design an original T-shirt that pairs a different hometown band with a cause. A percentage of the proceeds from sales of the T’s will be given to the charity.
“We talked to the members of Transfer first, and they came onboard.” Goss says the band members already had a charity in mind. “They wanted to benefit the Center for Community Solutions,” a San Diego–based charity, she says, that provides prevention and intervention services for victims of sexual assault and relationship violence to over 11,000 individuals each year. “We sat down with Transfer and an artist and we came up with a design for their shirts.”
“The guys wanted to do something that looked hopeful,” Maigaard says. So, what did they come up with? “Trees and roots,” symbolic of growth and community,” he says.
“We got sample T-shirts last week,” Goss says, “and we did our first [promo] photo shoot.”
“We went for the Let It Be look,” Maigaard says in explanation of the four-square look to the design concept.
Goss says the plan is to sell the T-shirts on the internet or at events like the upcoming Transfer show at the Casbah on July 13. “Everything’s printed to order in limited editions. Each shirt will be available for one month only. Then, we’ll move on to the next band.”
“We brainstormed the idea over dinner one night,” Maigaard explains. He says he and Goss first met at Small Bar in University Heights where Maigaard holds down shifts as a bartender. “We wanted to do something we are both passionate about,” he says.
The shirts will retail for $23 each. And even though Goss says 40 percent of proceeds will be kicked back to the band’s charity, Sound Off Apparel is a for-profit venture. As for the next band and T-shirt project, Goss says “We’re kind of up in the air right now.”