KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – In a hot production warehouse, stacks of orange T-shirts are waiting to be transformed. They’re stacked by the dozens, some organized by size and others, waiting to be printed.
The design: A young Florida UT fan, bullied for making his own Tennessee shirt. Now, in demand by the thousands. VolShop calling it the “College Colors Day Tee.”
All the proceeds, donated to Stomp Out Bullying.
The shirt, however, is more than a piece of Tennessee orange to add to a wardrobe or pull out for sporting events: It’s a symbol of what the Volunteer Spirit can do.
“They’re thinking, ‘You go kid.’ You be yourself and we’re gonna help you and we’re gonna make this as big as we can make it,” said Alicia Strange, Senior Marketing Director for Threds, a Knoxville-based printing and marketing company.
Threds, started by two UT alums, is a family-focused business. When the opportunity to spread joy through the T-shirt design presented itself, they didn’t hesitate.
“There’s a kid somewhere in Florida, who just got brave one day and said, ‘I’m gonna be myself and I’m gonna walk into school with my Tennessee shirt on,” said Strange.
To keep up with the now more-than 50,000 pre-ordered T-shirts (all ordered through the Volshop online), Threds is printing around 1,700 shirts every hour.
They’re using multiple printing presses that can print up to 500 shirts per hour on each. They don’t plan on slowing down, as more orders keep coming in. That, they say, is a great thing.
“From the university, to us, to fans, to people far and wide not even associated with this project. the volunteer spirit is alive and well. It’s contagious, it’s far reaching, and everyone needs to catch it,” said Strange.
The shirts are delivered on a first-order-first-serve basis. The online pre-orders will go first and the Volshop expects to have more in stock in the coming weeks.