Fun new products (like hats and tote bags) are here, just in time for summer 😎 Don't see what you're looking for? Just let us know!
Browse products
How Hanson's Used Custom Shirts to Support Furloughed Staff
min read

How Hanson's Used Custom Shirts to Support Furloughed Staff

How a cocktail bar raised money to support their furloughed staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken many industries, including bars and nightlife establishments across the country. With very little notice to prepare, many of the workers maintaining these venues and servicing customers, were either laid off or furloughed. With no known return date, many companies are stepping up to help employees as much as possible during this difficult time.

Hanson's Shoe Repair, a popular cocktail bar with a speakeasy vibe located in downtown Orlando, FL, was one of many establishments required to shut down during the state government mandate. During this time they looked to Campaigns, Real Thread’s t-shirt fundraising platform, to raise money for their furloughed employees by selling t-shirts to supportive customers! 

Within 24 hours, they sold well over 200 shirts and continued to sell shirts until the very last minute! As the campaign wrapped up, they sold a little over 400 shirts and raised $5,000+ achieving exactly what they set out to do -- help support their staff in this time of need.

Here’s an interview with Hanson’s Owner Rene Nguyen and Shirt Designer Sean Jones (also known as Humidaze), the two driving forces behind this successful campaign. We learn how they promoted their shirt plus a little behind the legendary cat Ripley, a prominent piece of the design 😺

Hanson's Shoe Repair

Industry: Cocktail Bar
Campaign Length: 14 Days
Number of Shirts sold: 402
Total Raised: $5,000+

Interview with Rene Nguyen, Hanson’s Owner: 

How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected Hanson’s?

Like many other nightlife establishments throughout the country the pandemic has forced us to temporarily shutter. With that being said we understand the need to tough it out in the short term as opposed to dealing with the long term ramifications if the situation were to get worse.

bartender making drinks

How many days has it been since you’ve served a cocktail? What’s the first cocktail you want to make for your customers upon returning?

Our bar has been closed since Monday, March 16th. And for me personally, I last served a cocktail on Saturday, March 14th. Whichever they desire. Hopefully it won't be too labor intensive since the nature of our work relies so much on muscle memory and I'm sure I'll be at least a little rusty. Kidding aside, we can't wait to be serving again. 

two pictures of bartender

Is the recipe on the back of the shirt for the Cat & Canary a cocktail you often served? Do you think you’ll still want to serve it when this is all over?

The Cat & Canary is one of our more popular cocktails for sure and based on the success of the shirt I'm sure it'll continue to be. 

You all sold over 400 shirts! How did you promote your Campaign?

We promoted our campaign strictly through our social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram. Our staff also promoted using their personal platforms throughout the duration of the campaign. We were surprised and thrilled that so many friends, family, and customers wanted to support us.

front and back of pink shirt
What was the deciding factor in Hanson’s choice to raise money selling shirts?

With the bar being shuttered and income coming to a halt we wanted to raise funds for our staff but still provide a product to those who wanted to help. Our friend and shirt designer, Sean had recommended we look into your Campaigns program and I'm glad we did.

Who will the proceeds from your successful Campaign benefit?

All proceeds will go directly to our furloughed staff to help them manage during this time. Again we couldn't thank Sean and Real Thread enough.

“We hope to see and raise a glass to all of you soon. - Renee”

Interview with Sean Jones (Humidaze), the shirt designer:

You were the designer behind the successful Hanson’s Campaign shirt! What inspired this color palette and design? 

The palette is inspired by old school Florida. I love the colors of the prints being done in the early 1920s for Florida. The design is inspired by Rene’s love of cats and the amazing work they do at Hanson’s. The big idea behind this shirt was to turn a menu item into a shirt design. Hopefully we do more :)

Who is Ripley and how does he play a part in the design? 

Ripley is my cat. How I got him is a crazy story actually. The short and sweet version is, he got stuck in the engine of my car as a kitten. I literally had to take pieces of my engine apart to get him out. Rene pushed me to keep him and has loved him ever since haha. So it seemed fitting he would be the model for the illustration.

Speaking of, Rene left a comment on your Instagram that said “RIP” in regards to an image of Ripley. We all want to know, is Ripley still alive? 😳

He is alive and well! Rip is just a short version of his name.

cat in a bush

Have you made or sipped on the cocktail recipe listed on the shirt? Tell us about it.

Well this is kind of embarrassing…but no I haven’t even tried it. I’m gonna blame that on quarantine haha. I’m sure it's amazing!

Why do you think this campaign was so successful? As the designer behind the shirt, did you promote it as well? If so, how did you go about it?

I mean I would love to say it was the illustration, or the color, or even the typography. But honestly the success comes from people just love Hanson’s and the people that work there. I totally promoted the shirt, it’s really the only way to get traction with your campaign. I used instagram posts and I did stories to direct people to their page as well. I also did a follow up post near the end of the campaign.

What is your connection to Hanson’s? 

I was a bar back for about 3 months at Hanson’s in 2014. I moved to Orlando for my wife’s job and my freelance had dried up because I didn’t have any connections here. A friend introduced me to Rene and he took me in, haha. I owe the team at that time so much. They changed my whole perspective on drinks and what they could be. The rest is history, Rene has been one of my great friends ever since :)

group of men standing in front of brick wall

As a designer, how has the Covid-19 pandemic affected you and your work?

The studio I work for in town has been so lucky, and the pandemic hasn’t affected our work load. But I had so many friends in different industries that were taking a big hit. So I took this time to take on as many jobs as I could to help. For the most part they gave me almost no rules for what I was making. Creatively it's been loads of fun, but helping out my crew has been the best part.

glass bottle on ground

Start Your Own Campaign 

If you’re looking for a way to raise money for your business or employees during this difficult time, check out Campaigns. It’s an easy, risk-free way for you to profit from selling t-shirts online, giving your customers and community a way to support you and/or your business amid the chaos of the Coronavirus. Get started by filling out the form or reaching out to