No Rival, Volume 2: Fighting voter suppression with apparel
In a first for Sendle’s series of customer stories, we’ve got a repeat! No Rival Industries is back with their second impact project, an effort to help give identity to those without the physical proof of it.
Photo ID cards—in the form of driver’s licenses, passports, and military IDs—are important assets to have. Without one, the simple acts of finding housing or a job are out of reach, perpetuating poverty and exacerbating the problem of homelessness.
Furthermore, without photo ID, many states in the US will not allow you to vote. This most essential right to decide who represents you and can change your circumstances are not available to the most vulnerable amongst us.
Enter No Rival’s latest project—which they are calling Volume 2—that aims to provide IDs to those that need them so they can fulfill their civic duties and make their voices heard.
I spoke with Jenni Moon about her new project, the results of Project COVID, and what she learned from launching that previous project.
Sendle’s small biz quiz
Name, title, and location
Jenni Moon, founder | Seattle, Washington and Miami, Florida
Welcome back! You are our first two-time guest here, so congrats!
You all are so amazing to give us the chance to be the first two-timer!! Thank you!
First, let’s do a quick debrief of Project COVID. Is this still ongoing? What are the results?
It has actually been wrapped up!
But, we do have a new mask option for this next ‘project’ within the collection of apparel (we call it Volume 2). With the purchase of this mask, one mask will go to a poll worker directly.
For Project COVID (Volume 1) here are the results:
Total mask donations: 237
Donations to essential workers: 97
Donations to vulnerable populations: 140
What are your learnings from that first project as you move into your next project? The good, the bad, the neutral—what would you keep doing and what would you change up (if anything)?
The bad: Keeping up with marketing with no budget is not easy! It's all organic! No paid marketing for us.
We're OG. We had some exploring around our brand voice that wasn't set yet. (keep in mind we are bootstrapping this whole thing!) But, we found it—unapologetic, witty, and earnest.
It'll remain that way, because it is my voice—personally. A chance to get my meme game on point!
The good: The good was the community we did build in our scrappy way.
We were able to send masks to:
- homeless shelters in Seattle, Atlanta, NYC, and Miami
- grocers (like our favorite Trader Joe’s, even got to see someone wearing it the other day when I went!)
- a friend's local restaurant that hands them out to delivery folks (UberEats, Doordash, etc)
- the list goes on and we have it up on our Volume 1 page
Our supporters! So floored by their ability to get the word out. LinkedIn turned out to be a cool network for us. We did start a page!
Keep doing: Fighting for projects that actually make a tangible impact. Educating our community, while learning ourselves. It's about that urgency.
Change up: Open roll call for influencers for Volume 2. We have a shortlist, but we need the manpower. We want this to be the people's project.
OK, let’s get into it. You are brewing up your next project right now. What is it?
With Volume 2, this is our first apparel launch, but also a first-time collaboration with a nonprofit—Spread The Vote.
Our concept is vet 'Generational Issues'. And, we saw a BIG ONE—voter suppression.
But, we wanted to find an org really digging their heels into the problem. With the masks, we saw a need and realized mobilizing and finding our own way was the right call.
Every project moves with urgency and inspiration.
Continued Black Lives Matter protests earlier this summer really made me pause, reflect. But I didn't want it to end there. The more I thought about it, I am a person of action/solution.
The most pressing immediate action we can take to help towards systemic racism—and that’s voting. But I did my research, there are 21 million eligible voters who do not have the means to get proper identification.
And we have a lot of voter ID required states. This is a massive problem.
Spread the Vote to me is underrated when it comes to the forward-thinking approach of driving IMMEDIATE impact.
Project COVID emerged out of a sense of urgency and necessity. Did this project reveal itself to you in a similar fashion?
Yes, I certainly followed the glaring issues 2020 (as if the pandemic wasn't enough) brought to our attention so starkly.
It felt so wrong NOT to do more about just acknowledging systemic racism is an issue. But I really want to do more than post a black square on IG.
What are the intrinsic problems in the US that affect our ability to fulfill our civic duty to vote?
I may venture into uncharted territory here. I'll go on record with the issue at hand that I learned via Spread The Vote.
Voting is in and of itself a socioeconomically privileged activity.
This may disturb people, but according to Spread the Vote "more than half of nonvoters in 2016 had a family income of less than $30K. This means more challenges when heading to the polls, like taking time off of work and paying for childcare."
If you just take one step further, 21 million people who need ID don't have IDs because they can’t afford it (or similarly, they have no means to get to the DMV). I mean if an ID is required to vote (to have your voice heard, to be represented correctly), we can't even get the prerequisite right.
And quite frankly, totally exposed the nature of voter suppression people always talk about. Beyond the vote, this ID crisis is actually a human rights issue.
No one should be so disadvantaged in our society, they can't get their IDs properly renewed. IDs are a bloodline—for social services, housing for the homeless, jobs for folks just out of jail.
Do you have a goal for the number of IDs you hope to secure for these folks?
Each ID (paperwork and operational costs for SPV) is roughly $40.
With our profit margins (sans production, fulfillment some minor overhead for us to operate), we would be thrilled to help get 40-50 IDs accomplished even.
We understand the timeline of this may extend even beyond the election, but again, this is a long term systemic fight to better people's lives. And we want to help raise awareness, but really build immediate resources for SPV.
Has your collective grown since the last time we spoke? Who are the major players this time around?
Same crew, for now!
We have added some low-key 'consultants' around design/messaging, etc. They'll be featured as influencers soon enough. :)
Who will be making your products?
All production will happen from Wynwood in Miami, FL—via Actibo.
Yes, it's the family business! But this is actually their original expertise! They are in the business of making custom shirts, etc for local businesses in South Florida and the Caribbean for 30+ years.
I'm just so happy to be connected to my family through this pandemic even though I live and operate from Seattle.
How do you plan to market this next project? Have you found a good strategy to getting in front as many eyes as possible?
We certainly hope this round will extend a bit further!
We have a shortlist of influencers in the voter advocacy space and BLM we hope to engage with our message and support us on social media.
But, we are definitely going guns-blazing after that guerilla-marketing style approach! We'd love some more help with this actually!
Photos courtesy: No Rival Industries