Business in Focus: JCRT

July 3, 2020 | Business In Focus

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Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra had just moved JCRT, their direct-to-consumer shirt company, to a new office on Pier 59 in New York City when New York’s stay-at-home order was issued in mid-March of 2020. Founded in 2016, JCRT is a modern menswear studio where craft meets tech through responsibly manufactured fashion. Their work has been exhibited at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and is in the permanent collections of The Victoria and Albert Museum and Museum at FIT.  Heartsick that their beloved city was the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak, the couple immediately set to work to so something to help.

Costello began sewing masks from whatever sample fabrics he had on hand. Tagliapietra boxed the masks and sent them to wherever they heard PPE was needed. They donated a portion of their retail sales to the New York City Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund, benefiting health care workers, supporting small businesses, and vulnerable workers and families. Without any marketing other than their social feeds, Tagliapietra and Costello estimate they’ve sold 45,000 masks through JCRT and raised more than $65,000.

Now they’re selling masks and shirts made from a black, red, and green plaid, with proceeds going to Movement for Black Lives. Over the Father’s Day weekend, which also included the commemoration of Juneteenth, they donated 100% of the sales of those goods to the organization.

Keeping their operation small allows the founders to decide where and how to focus their energies, including supporting the causes they care about. That recently included a fundraiser for Pride month, with proceeds going to the Ali Forney Center, a New York City-based program for LGBTQ homeless youth.

Kudos to JCRT for modeling the intersection of culture, cloth and conscience.  You can shop for their face masks and hand-crafted shirts here.

[Excerpted from How a Direct-to-Consumer Shirt Brand Is Giving Back, Inc. June 23, 2020.]

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