American Entrepreneur | Andreea Ayers

April 11, 2009


Tees for Change

Andreea Ayers, owner of Tees for Change, greeted us in the parking lot of Boulder?s Common Threads, one of the local shops where her t-shirts are sold. Andreea had the beautiful and graceful glow of pregnancy and she spoke with and confidence. She was about to teach us what she knew about properly and methodically growing your business.


Andreea Ayers, founder and CEO of Tees for Change, sustainable tees on a mission.

Andreea Ayers is the business owner that we should all be striving to be. She is committed to her community, her family and the environment. She has created a sustainable product that neatly serves her target clients.? She has partnered with experts and other professionals to help her in her journey and business education. And importantly, she had the confidence to acknowledge the areas of her business where she wasn?t an expert, and invested in her business?s future (and the local economy) by hiring others to help her business grow.

The story behind Andreea?s journey to Boulder is very much a part of her business success. When she was five months pregnant with her first child, she quit her job in New York City where she did direct marketing for NYU.? She knew she had to do it on her own. Once in Boulder, Andreea found a supportive community of entrepreneurs and used the Boulder Innovation Center, and Savor the Success, as main resources in launching her business.

Tees for Change manufactures the aforementioned ?tees? and other apparel. Andreea describes the business as eco-friendly; Tees for Change apparel is made of sustainable materials like cotton or bamboo. These are dyed with low-impact nontoxic dyes, and then uplifting messages are imprinted with PBC-free water-based paints.

From the beginning, Andreea was not content with only selling eco-friendly apparel; she wanted to make a bigger difference and to give back. She partnered with Trees For The Future to plant a tree for every shirt that she sells.? When we spoke with her, they were about to plant their 10,000th tree.? The trees are planted in South America and Africa, where they?re needed most.


Andreea Ayers, radiant in abundance, with her Tees for Change apparel line at Boulder’s Common Threads.

Trent was particularly impressed with how careful and how thoughtful Andreea was about expanding Tees for Change. Andrea made sure her new product lines were unique and desirable. She?s been able to assess her strengths and the areas where she needed assistance.? For example, she realized her inventory was both her greatest asset and her greatest expense. Using her marketing background, she conducted some market research, and she was able to plan for the healthy growth of Tees for Change. She is beginning to expand her business, as small retail shops close, by pursuing vendor relationships with local resorts and spas.

Andreea told us, ?My goal is to reach out to the larger clients.? I was buying my inventory from five different manufacturers, but it was not really cost effective.?? My new place can do everything, labels, and tags, and can really help cut costs.? They also can know what I am looking for, and they can turn around and produce quickly.?

One of the best things that Andrea did in preparation for the expansion of her business was to assess the area swhere she wasn?t an expert. She hired members of her local entrepreneurial community to help her.? She quickly realized if she wanted to sell more products, she needed a professional photographer and web designer who could create a system that allows her to track orders and take coupons. She?s also hired an accountant. She stressed, ?It?s so worth it.?

Bravo, Andreea, for reinforcing the concept of a triple bottom line.? Being proactive in her life and her business, and achieving her commitment to balance a healthy lifestyle, a healthy business and a healthy community.

An Intimate Portrait of the American Entrepreneur Project is sponsored in part by the automated marketing gurus at Infusionsoft

and is championed by the spirited zeal of The Toilet Paper Entreprenuer and TPEs across the universe.