Fashionable Help for Kids in Need a Local Startup Donates Proceeds from Clothing Sales to Finance Medical Care for Children's Illnesses

By Czebiniak, Madasyn | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), July 24, 2014 | Go to article overview

Fashionable Help for Kids in Need a Local Startup Donates Proceeds from Clothing Sales to Finance Medical Care for Children's Illnesses


Czebiniak, Madasyn, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


The 1-year-old girl, Nella Grutter, has pale skin, bright blonde hair and Type 1 spinal muscular atrophy, a neurological disease causes muscle damage and eventually leads to death.

Kristin Estok first heard Nella's story through mutual friends on Facebook and felt compelled to do something to help the family. So, with the help of another mother, Tiffany Austin, she held an auction for Nella on the photo-sharing website Instagram. The auction sold clothing, accessories, prints and artwork.

Soon after, the two women created Go Shout Love, an online company that sells inspirational apparel to raise money for families who have sick children. Registered in June, the company will feature a new child each month and 60 percent of the profits from its T-shirt sales will be donated to that child's family.

The March auction for Nella raised $5,500, according to her mother, Grace Grutter, who said the money was sent to her Kansas City, Mo., family via PayPal. "Having a medically fragile child is extremely expensive," Ms. Grutter said. "It's really awesome they're reaching out to raise awareness."

In the photo on Ms. Estok's fridge, Nella lies on a multicolored blanket, grinning a mouthful of gums. Ms. Estok has never met the little girl, but she prays for her every day.

"It reminds me to slow down, not get anxious and have more patience over the small things," said the stay-at-home mom.

This month's featured child is Paisley Ewing, a 1-year-old from Newport Beach, Calif. She has child interstitial lung disease. June's child was 1-year-old Silas Jacobsen from Parkville, Mo., who has a chromosome abnormality.

The company was able to donate $5,538 to Silas' family, having exceeded its monthly sales goal.

"We want to make each month the best month yet," Ms. Estok said.

The company's main platform is Instagram, where the majority of its sales take place. That's also how the company connects with families and vendors.

"I don't think it would be possible without social media," Ms. Estok said. "Silas, last month's feature - I just happened to [come across] the story on Instagram. I don't even know how it happened. It might have been a hashtag or something."

Social media are also how Ms. Estok and Ms. Austin reconnected. Though they both attended Missouri Western State University, they were never really close friends.

"We have a few mutual friends from undergrad, but we were never besties," said Ms. Austin, who lives in Lake Ozark, Mo. "Social media kind of brought us back together."

Though Ms. Austin lives in a different time zone, the two managed to create a working routine. Ms. Estok deals with the company's website and product shipments, and Ms. Austin focuses on finances.

While many companies that donate to charitable causes are nonprofits, the two moms decided to make theirs a for-profit company.

"We realized that we could accomplish all that we want to accomplish, still giving a huge portion of funds to the family, and still be a for-profit company since we do make 40 percent from our shirt sales," Ms. Estok said. "This way we have a bit more freedom to give bigger amounts to the families and more freedom over how we move the money. …

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