Our Kickstarter Success

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Making giving back and good business possible through crowdfunding

Creating the world’s most ethical and sustainable cycling jersey while feeding the homeless and supporting children in need through Unicef.

We’re tired of the status quo, so we’re breaking away and doing things better. We put together, and launched a Kickstarter campaign that is about more than just products – it’s about building up the community, helping those that are less fortunate, empowering sustainability, facilitating ethical and local manufacturing, cute dogs, and of course, our Technical Hemp cycling jersey that makes all this possible. Our campaign aims to feed the Vancouver East Hastings residence (which is Canada’s poorest neighbourhood), provide school supplies to children in need through UNICEF, and create sustainable cycling apparel to the world with the help of two of the cutest dogs in Canada.

On May 23rd, our Kickstarter campaign goes live globally, but our team (and dogs!) in Vancouver will be here ready to fulfill our good karma pledges daily to give back to the community. The $5 – $20 good karma pledges get us into East Hastings, feeding the homeless with homemade peanut butter and jam sandwiches and handing out other awesome and much needed resources. At a pledge of $20, we will be providing backpacks and chalkboard slates to children in need through Unicef, and any higher pledge amounts will get you one or more of our Technical Hemp tops. We think they’re amazing, and think you will, too!

Our main goal is to make our Technical Hemp cycling jersey a reality. We’ve created a hemp based fabric that performs better than petroleum-based polyester. The design is something completely new and unique, with aesthetic and functional features never before seen in jerseys. Reduced tan line appearance off the bike, hidden reflective safety features, natural technical properties and massive storage pockets are just a few of the 25 features.

We can collaborate and donate prizes to your readers and share your content promoting the Pillar Heights Campaign on our Kickstarter page and other sites.

I (Andrew Gonzalez, founder and owner) went from owning a local and sustainable clothing boutique, Lucid Lifestyle, for 9 years in Edmonton to launching my own sustainable and ethical clothing brand for creative professionals in Vancouver called Pillar Heights. My passion is making good business a vehicle for positive change, and providing creatives with the best sustainable alternatives for their wardrobe.

Bella is 8 years old, loves getting her ear licked by her younger brother Rupert, loves people, and giving wet kisses to the face. Both dogs are Vancouver’s happiest dogs around.

Rupert is 2 and a half years old and is very affectionate and loves tummy rubs. He has to run up to greet every dog on the street and park, and thinks he’s the boss of Gastown (and he might just be).

The Technical Hemp cycling jersey

Why I started this campaign?
As a cyclist I care about the planet and was driven to make a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based apparel. I was inspired to design a jersey that is superior in performance properties and aesthetics – creating the type of jersey I would love to own, but simply didn’t exist. With my knowledge of fashion and textiles, I created the Pillar Heights Technical Hemp Jersey, designed for comfort, to be visually appealing off and on the bicycle, reducing tan line appearance, and implementing fabric that actually have natural properties that compliment a cyclist’s ride.

I’ve seen $2 – $20 donation pledges on Kickstarter with no rewards in return to the supporter. While that’s beautiful, to see such great support from the community, I could never accept money without paying it forward or returning the favor, so I created the pay it forward model.

UNICEF is committed to protecting and enhancing childhood experiences and health. Unicef is committed to helping the poorest, and most vulnerable children in the world improve their lives, and that’s an issue we are passionate about at Pillar Heights.
Why East Hastings?
This is my neighbourhood. If you live in Gastown, you live in East Hastings.  There’s no line between the two neighbourhoods and the people who call Downtown East Side home.  We share parks, sidewalks, head nods and small talk on the regular.

Currently in the Downtown East Side there is an epidemic of fentanyl overdoses, the area has had it’s issues with poverty, sex trade, mental illness, homelessness, infectious disease and crime for a history of time and I’d like to put in some time and energy into making it a better place for the people who call it home.

I’m on the cusp of two worlds here in Gastown and East Hastings, but there is less contrast than people would like to believe, we’re all in this together building a city that works for all of us.

I’ve always had homeless friends back in Edmonton, and found myself connecting instantly with the homeless here in Vancouver while walking the dogs. Our small talk leads to conversations which leads to relationships.

Manufacturing Ethically both in China and Canada
In China I have a great relationship with a Fair Wear Foundation certified factory, so anything that’s made in China will be ethically made at European standard. Positive initiatives on good business are happening in China and I want to encourage and support the growth of that movement.

In Canada I am working with garment specialists who are located a couple blocks from my condo. It’s beautiful to be working with your neighbours, at any point during the day I can walk into the factory lend a hand or grab a drink with the staff and craftsman building our clients cycling goods. There’s no reason what so ever for us to cut corners or margin and have our collection made in an unethical or unsustainable manner. I’m here to prove that good business is possible.

Why hemp?
I found my hemp shirts to be the best for traveling in hot and humid climates. That’s when I experimented and had a hemp fabric jersey made for me by a personal seamstress. Since then I have been working with fabric mills to create better performing fabrics and local seamstresses to work on the perfect design.
Hemp is naturally UV protective, antimicrobial and porous, so it pulls sweat away from the body and is thermoregulating, all properties that are natural to hemp, so they never wash away.
Hemp is good for the planet. It requires no chemicals to grow, uses 3 times less water than cotton, detoxifies the soil it grows in and produces 3 times more fiber than competing crops. Hemp isn’t just used for clothing, it’s food, medicine, shelter and much more!

I designed the jersey to work both for the commuter and the competitive cyclist. I want to encourage more people to ride their bicycles for fitness, pleasure, and to get from place to place in a more sustainable manner – and be as comfortable as possible while using their bicycle, no matter why they’re on it.

I understand the power bicycle commuting could have in combating the effects of climate change. My goal is to get more people riding bicycles. According to the European Cycling Federation (ECF) in 2011, the bicycle came with an emission rate of 21 grams of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) compared to the average emission of car users at 271g/km and 101g/km for a bus riders.

When could you ever say your cycling jersey was good for the environment, supports small business, and gives back? That’s a whole lot of good!

Thank you for taking the time to view this press release. I invite you to contact me with all questions and comments and look forward to collaborating. Be sure to ask us to set you up with our referral program, too.

Andrew Gonzalez