Finding a good partner is hard. This is true of life, love and business. I was on the hunt for non-profit organizations who could do a specific thing: conserve the area a shirt was inspired by. I spoke with someone from The Access Fund. I contacted the American Alpine Club (more on that later). I looked at local chapters and small organizations. I was in a whirlwind of pro’s, con’s and what each organization could and couldn’t do. There was a brief moment where I felt stumped, like the ideas I had just weren’t meant to happen.
Then I found The Friends of the Inyo. The first person I talked to from the organization was Casey. From the start, I was greeted warmly and thanked for my interest in their organization. Manners matter, and though most interactions I have with climbers exceed my expectations in terms of general good-heartedness, I still appreciate this. It was explained to me that although they couldn’t guarantee that all the money Dynamite Starfish donates to them would go into climbing-related conservation, all of it would go into conservation in the Eastern Sierras. Perfect. Exactly the thing I was looking for, and with a good attitude to top it all off.
I could have chosen a larger organization to partner up with. Maybe that would have gotten me more exposure, but sometimes I believe that smaller is the better way to go. There will be opportunities to team up with larger organizations later, but right now I’m making shirts that highlight local crags — crags that have communities and cultures attached to them. These crags have a life and an existence of their own, and those attributes need our help too. Sure, it was climbing that drew me to these places and inspired my designs, but if climbing culture was only about the movement, we’d rarely go outdoors. So by supporting these smaller organizations, we are supporting the communities and cultures that come with our crags — the views, wildlife and people that enhance our memories and create the bigger adventure.