Innovation Fund 2017: Hometeam
The 2017 Innovation Fund, our annual crowdfunding competition, has officially launched! You can find all of the Innovation Fund participants here. Read on for the story of Hometeam, the athleisure streetwear and accessories brand made for your city, created by Alyssa Gill ’15.
Leading up to Hometeam
As an incoming Venture for America Fellow in 2015, I was excited that the program counts bolstering U.S cities’ economies through entrepreneurship as a core value. I have always been fascinated by the built environment, and actually thought I’d be an architect for years. As a kid, I thought that you could design away blight and crumbling infrastructure.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that the intangible things like education and economic development are foundational to a community, which is why my VFA opportunity was a great fit for me after college. The fellowship brought me to Providence where I currently work for a small education nonprofit, gaining exposure to the executive level functions of the organization.
VFA has a growing amount of resources for side hustlers and aspiring founders, several of which I’m glad I’ve taken advantage of – the latest, of course, being the 2017 Innovation Fund. In the months leading up to the crowdfunding competition, I’d been considering starting a small t-shirt business online. With encouragement from a member of the VFA team, I jumped in exactly a month before the campaign launch date, developing a brand and product line in just 28 days.
Given what’s felt like a lifelong interest in cities and urban landscapes, I already had a few ideas for Providence inspired t-shirts. Wanting to pay homage to the city’s early beginnings, I came up with the idea for a “founder’s jersey” that would be simple yet symbolic. Long story short, I saw opportunity in running with the sports theme.
Hesitant to make just another t-shirt, I started thinking about how my “jerseys” could help build upon the already strong city pride here in Providence. But what if I took things one step further? Lightning struck when I circled back to my passion for urban economic development.
The Hometeam Brand
Hometeam makes athleisure streetwear for your city with a mission in mind: to leverage the unifying power of teams to foster city pride, while rallying people around local economic development.
The idea is when you rep your city, you can also help it continue to grow.
With this mission in mind, I’m excited to be piloting Hometeam in my VFA city with the launch of the Team Providence line. 10% of campaign funds raised will go towards creating prize packages for health and wellness entrepreneurs (kind of perfect, right?) accelerating their businesses with Social Enterprise Greenhouse – a local hub for social entrepreneurs and a driver of economic growth. In creating Hometeam product prototypes and the materials for the crowdfunding campaign, I’ve proudly enlisted other Providence entrepreneurs including designers, screen printers, and videographers. My goal is to uphold this model as the business scales.
The Road Ahead – Away Games
I’m confident that the Hometeam brand can have national appeal in a diverse set of markets across the country (around the world?!). Please consider sharing the campaign, or contributing to it yourself so Hometeam can launch in your city beginning Fall 2017. Thank you so much for your support!
You can find Hometeam’s Indiegogo page here.