Shirt sale aims to raise $1 million for Japan relief - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Shirt sale aims to raise $1 million for Japan relief

BJ Sabate BJ Sabate
Lanai Tabura Lanai Tabura

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

MAPUNAPUNA (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's just a white tee shirt but demand for the simple one-word design with gray lettering and a rising sun in the center has machines at Butigroove's silk screening plant running on overdrive.

"I think we sold maybe 400 on-line and a few hundred in the stores. We weren't really prepared for this," BJ Sabate said.

On Monday Sabate was cranking out an order of 1,500 shirts that were destined for stores and people who'd put in orders via the company's web site.

The project started over the weekend.

Ten owners from six shirt companies came up with a message of mass appeal to raise money for Japan's disaster relief.

The joint venture by GRP HOME Company has an ambitious goal of raising $1 million to aid survivors of last week's earthquake and tsunami.

"We're getting calls from New York. We're getting emails, twitters, Face book from San Diego, San Francisco, Japan. I must have had a dozen emails from Japan over the weekend," spokesman Lanai Tabura said.

The shirt costs $20 with all proceeds destined for Japan.

"The lieutenant governor and Mike McCartney, the president of Hawaii Tourism Authority has stepped in to help us. They're going to help direct the money directly to Japan," Tabura said.

Demand has been so high that at Butigroove's Piikoi street store a sign was posted saying all the shirts were sold out.

"Each of our stores, Barefoot, In4mation, Fitted, Butigroove, we all have a waiting list," Sabate said.

"This morning there were lines down the street at all the stores. Your best bet is to probably order one on-line," Tabura said.

The merchants behind the Aloha for Japan T have been putting in long hours motivated by their own family members and friends in Japan who are suffering in the aftermath of the disaster.

They can't give them the shirt off their back. Instead they'll send something much better.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved

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