Socially inspired startup will benefit homeless shelter
By Deb Silverthorn
The mitzvot of tzedakah and tikkun olam are the fabric of Leon Jacobson and Matthew Ladin, and it’s laced in the tapestry of their company GuudWEAR.
GuudWEAR is a socially inspired company whose founders aim to “do guud” by helping locals transition out of homelessness. In July, the Dallas-based GuudWEAR began taking pre-orders through its Kickstarter offering, with special rewards to participants, running through Aug. 22. Regular sales will follow.
“I believe, more than ever, people want to align themselves with brands that stand for positive social causes,” co-founder Jacobson said. “For us, that’s owning a brand that stands for something more. In taking in the values my parents and siblings instilled in me, I’ve always wanted to be a social entrepreneur.”
The exclusive line, initially hand-pressed by Jacobson and Ladin, is done by a labor-intensive process, curating designs from the streets of Dallas. Both men say their homes look like art and science experiments gone wild: inks, molds, designs and fabrics taking over.
Designs available include the “Bullseye,” from a weathered manhole cover in Highland Park; “Sunrise,” found on a path near SMU; “Griffin,” discovered and molded off an advertising sign base in Lower Greenville; and “Texas,” modeled after a Deep Ellum sewer cover. Shirts are made in a variety of colors, sizes and styles. In the future, the company plans to add bags, hats and sweatshirts to the line.
GuudWEAR’s team is also environmentally mindful from apparel to packaging. Their mantra makes people, planet and profit a priority. A minimum of 7 percent of each item sold will be donated.
Dallas is the second-fastest growing metropolitan city in the country with employment rising at double the rate of the U.S. average and homelessness increasing at 9 percent. It’s where GuudWEAR begins its journey.
“It’s humbling to know we have such dedicated groups and individuals willing to give their time, talents and treasures to help the less fortunate and Dallas’ most vulnerable citizens,” CEO of Austin Street Center Daniel Roby.
Austin Street Center, an emergency shelter in Dallas, will be the first beneficiary officially adopted by GuudWEAR.
“This partnership will certainly benefit our organization through social awareness, growth in our volunteer core and increased philanthropic support,” said Roby. “Together, we’ll be steps closer to ending homelessness throughout our communities.”
Jacobson, a North Dallas native who grew up at Congregation Shearith Israel, is the son of Errol and Esme and brother of Marc and Loren. He graduated from Ann & Nate Levine and Yavneh academies, and is a former member of BBYO’s David Berger chapter.
Ladin, the son of Linda Ladin and the late Ken Williams, is from Hurst. Since celebrating his bar mitzvah at the age of 29 at Temple Emanu-El, Ladin feels closer to the religious side of his Judaism, not just the cultural. He continues studies at The Intown Chabad and Dallas Area Torah Association and has served eight years on the board of the American Jewish Committee. He’s currently a full-time information technology consultant.
“My mother always made it a point for us to give to others, regardless of what we had,” Ladin said. “Our Thanksgiving table was open to anyone who needed a seat and I’ve never forgotten my responsibility to giving to others. Through GuudWEAR we want to provide funds, to share awareness and to hands-on volunteer where we’re needed. Through GuudWEAR we’ll keep doing good.”
Do guud. Look guud. Wear guud. To order, or for more information, visit guudwear.com