EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (SPECTRUM NEWS) - As small business struggle through the coronavirus crisis, a Wisconsin screenprinter has come up with a program to help them fundraise.

With their doors closed, many businesses are looking for ways to stay afloat. Some have shifted entirely to online sales, others have been making deliveries. Fundraising through t-shirts is another option.

Ambient Inks is based in Eau Claire. The screenprinting and design company adds graphics to all kinds of products, and runs merch management. “We primarily work with artists, whether that be musicians, artists, or designers,” said co-founder Aaron Brice.

Chances are, if you have a Bon Iver or Leinenkugel’s shirt in your closet, Ambient Inks may have made it. “We run web stores for clients as well, and help out with tour merch operations,” Brice said.

They’ve started a program called Give Local Love. Small businesses can sell t-shirts online with no upfront cost, and no minimum order. “You don’t have to put any money down, or anything like that,” said community engagement coordinator Isabel Stratton. “We just print what you sell, and then the small business will get $10 of every sale.”

Under normal circumstances, it would cost business owners to get any merch made. “Usually there’s a barrier of entry to making shirts. We typically have a minimum of 24 shirts, so we’ve completely eliminated that minimum,” said Brice. “No minimums, no upfront cost, no inventory risk at all.”

Owners can apply, send in artwork or have Ambient Inks staff design it, and then their shirts are posted in the shop. Then it’s up to the business to spread the word on social media and promote the shirt to their customers.


Each shirt costs $25, which pays for the garment, the labor, and a small profit for Ambient Inks. $10 from every sale goes right to the business it supports.

Since the program started, there are now more than 80 businesses who have t-shirts in the Give Local Love shop. “All different kinds of businesses. Coffee shops, breweries, even small business designers,” said Stratton.

The online shop will be live until May 15, when sales will close and staff will start printing. You can find the online shop here