By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates. P.C.
It’s been an exciting and memorable year for Nate Buchanan, the then student entrepreneur who was last featured on teknovation.biz in late November of 2012.
In that post, we announced that Buchanan and his Credit Virgin start-up were winners of the “Fall Vol Court” pitch competition hosted by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK).
Fast forward nearly 12 months. Buchanan graduated from UTK with his MBA in December, decided to shelve the Credit Virgin concept, got married in June, and just launched his latest start-up from his hometown of Gallatin.
“Movement 52 is an E-Commerce apparel company raising money for a different non-profit each week,” Buchanan explained of his newest endeavor that he co-founded with a long-time acquaintance. “He (the partner) is a seasoned entrepreneur with a lot of previous experience in the apparel industry.”
Buchanan said the two met for lunch and his now partner liked the idea of Movement 52 so much that he wanted to sign-up.
The company’s name is very descriptive of its purpose. Movement 52 helps 52 charities per year – one each week – raise funds and awareness for their cause by designing and selling custom apparel and donating a large portion of the sales to their charity partners.
“I had never printed a T-shirt before founding the company,” Buchanan told us, adding “that’s our entire business.”
Movement 52 develops three different designs for the non-profit that is featured each week and offers those designs in nine different T-shirt models.
The start-up’s beta launch client was One Vision International, a Knoxville-based non-profit extending aid and support to “seemingly forgotten areas of the world.” The organization’s current focus is Haiti.
This campaign helped Movement 52 fine tune a few features before the official launch the week of September 23 with Soles4Souls. The latter is a global non-profit fighting poverty around the world by collecting and distributing new and used shoes and clothes.
Buchanan says each campaign is limited to seven days. The featured non-profit receives either $6 or $8 for each T-shirt sold, depending on the buyer’s choice. If the purchaser shares the fact that he or she purchased the shirt on Twitter or Facebook, the non-profit receives the higher amount. Otherwise, $6 of every purchase goes to the week’s featured organization.
“We already have non-profits lined-up each week through December,” Buchanan said. This week’s spotlight is on She Dances, a non-profit working to raise money to rescue young women in Honduras.
Calling Movement 52 “a pretty simple concept,” its founder said he is “loving it.” One of the reasons is the fact that his bride is “extremely supportive.” Another is the reality that the company is “helping impact lives.”
As far as Credit Virgin, Buchanan says he shelved the idea for several reasons. There was a lack of funding, the challenge of establishing solid relationships with major credit card companies, and making marketing scalable.
It is clear that the entrepreneurial bug has captured Buchanan and that he has benefitted from the Credit Virgin experience.
“It (leading a start-up) is more stressful than a regular job, but it’s better than a job in a cubicle,” Buchanan notes.