Staples Graduate Starts Clothing Company to Save Wildlife

It all started when Jeremy Dreyfuss ‘11 bought a sewing machine.

“I thought it would be cool to mess around with,” said Dreyfuss. “Because how many people our age can successfully use a sewing machine?”

But what began as a novel purchase for Dreyfuss spiraled into a business venture striving to benefit endangered animals and prevent species extinction. The Boston University student and Staples graduate founded Species Apparel, a clothing line of appliquéd t-shirts. The venture entails more than just cutting and sewing, as 20% of every sale will be donated to the World Wildlife Foundation. The WWF protects endangered species and raises awareness of conservation. “The cause for them is the cause for us,” said Dreyfuss.

Dreyfuss was inspired by Apliiq, a clothing company that sews patches of textiles onto apparel. Dreyfuss’s clothing line will also use the appliqué technique, with varied fabrics sewn onto t-shirts as decorative pockets. Dreyfuss has been scouring Boston for unique textiles to use for the pockets.  Species Apparel combines this fashion inspiration with intent to contribute to saving endangered animals. Each shirt will consist of a pocket and image of an endangered or extinct species.

Each pocket is sewn individually, so the project requires times and patience. “We are working in the crammed and limited space of our dorms,” said Dreyfuss. Along with restricted space and production, Dreyfuss has also been exposed to the challenges of starting a business. He has dealt with issues of licensing and copyright. “It’s small issues, like, ‘Is this image of a saber toothed tiger someone else’s?’” said Dreyfuss.

Although Dreyfuss eventually wants to establish an online selling process and expand, the company is starting small. “Our short term goal is to get our name out there,” said Dreyfuss. There already is hype over the company. The company’s Facebook group has gained 170 followers although it was just created recently. The company also has a twitter account and website.  “There’s interest in it already,” said Dreyfuss.

Initially, Dreyfuss plans to sell the shirts through a Paypal paying source linked to the website and give away some apparel in order to establish a reputation. Dreyfuss acknowledges that the company will initially need to cover startup costs, but is hopeful that the company will grow and thrive to prevent the extinction of species. “If you have an idea and believe in it, you can succeed,” he said.

Learn more about Species Apparel by clicking here.