A few weeks back, our friends over at Honeygrow posted an update on Facebook about some new friends they’d just met from a local startup called Fruitstrology. I clicked (of course, I did) and learned that Fruitstrology is actually the brainchild of twin-sister Temple students Sarah and Rachel Stanton.
Borrowing the concept from mega brands like Toms, which gives a pair of shoes to a kid in need for every pair purchased, their idea was this: Why not create a fun clothing brand where, for every item purchased, a piece of produce is delivered to kid who doesn’t have ready access to healthy, fresh foods? They wanted to find a creative way to tackle Philly’s problem of food deserts—that is, neighborhoods and sections of the city with little to no access fresh produce. So they came up with Fruitstrology, a line of screen-printed (individually, by the Stanton sisters) tees, tanks and bags in various fruit themes based loosely on astrology: You’re supposed to pick the fruit (Independent Pineapple, Active Orange, Smart Apple) that most reflects your personality. Fun, right? And in case you’re wondering, all the tops are made with high-quality (read: soft) American Apparel-brand shirts.
I chatted with Rachel and Sarah to find out more about the concept behind their brand, what they hope to accomplish, and, most important, when in the world they’re going to graduate. Read on for their story.
You're still in college, right? God, you two are ambitious.
Sarah: We're seniors at Temple. Rachel is a fiannce major, I'm an entrepreneurship major. We're from Bucks County. We started a tie-dye company, Rainbow Fish Tie-Dye, when we were in high school. We would make these custom tie-dye tapestries that people could hang up.
Rachel: We also tie-dyed other things: shirts, clothing, onesies. We would host tie-dye birthday parties with like 20 little kids. That's what started us in the clothing world. We did it throughout high school.
How did you come up with the idea for Fruitstrology?
Rachel: During our freshman year, we got involved with urban gardening through an organization at Temple called Net Impact. We helped with a local garden near Temple's campus. We would garden with kids every week, and we would teach them about eating healthy food and growing veggies. It was cool because we got to see the kids take the fruits and veggies home with them. But there were so many other kids who don't have that chance. We wanted to find a way to get more fruit to more kids in Philly, so that's when we decided to put fruit on shirts and make it a social mission. We already knew how to screen print so it was easy for us to get it out there.
Sarah: We want to bring awareness to urban food deserts, and to make fresh fruit available to low income families. This is a way to educate college kids about the problem and give them a way to do something about it.
What are you hoping to accomplish?
Sarah: We just launched about a month ago at the beginning of September. We've sold about 30 shirts. For every shirt we sell, we donate fruit through Philabundance. We asked to cover a portion of the fruit that we're giving, so each month we send a check based off how much we sold.
Rachel: We want to have donated at least 500 pieces of fruit by the end of the year.
What's the long-term goal?
Sarah: We want to volunteer with more urban gardens, get into schools, into the community. Maybe one day, we'll have our own sponsored garden: a Fruitstrology garden. Eventually, we want to take the model and expand to other cities. We could replicate it in New York, Detriot, LA.
Who designs and makes the shirts?
Sarah: We have a designer we knew from middle school. She goes to york college. I hadn't talked to her in about 10 years, but I asked her if she could draw me a pineapple. So we meet with her now to come up with more fruit, and she just sends her designs over.
Rachel: We print the products by ourselves. We have a little screen printer and we make them, one by one, in our basement.
Sarah: Our grandfather used to screen print. He taught us how, and we use his equipment.
Where can people get them?
Sarah: Right now, we're selling on our website. We bounce around to different events: We're at First Friday in Old City, we'll set up a table on Temple's campus. We're trying to go to Drexel and Penn, too. Honeygrow invited us to do a trunk show in October, so we'll have details on that soon.
Do you hope to add more products?
Rachel: We're thinking of doing accessories, like scarves, sunglasses, different things people wear. iPhone cases at some point. Really, anything people have that they carry around with them.
Sarah: Bike bags, too.
I have to ask. What kind of fruit are you?
Sarah: I'm a Talkative Grape. I talk to everybody. I'm the complete opposite twin. People describe me as the evil twin because I'm loud. It took a year or two to figure out, how do we spin this how do we get people to enjoy this. We looked at actual astrology and tried to model it off that. But it's other associative things, too: apples are smart (because teachers get apples), grapes are talkative (heard it through the grapevine). Who in your group is funny? The pear. Who's the ambitious person? Coconut.
Rachel: We based it off our friends. They all have their own fruit.
How do you see this carrying you beyond school?
Rachel: We graduate in May. Our goal is to make this our full time jobs. We're not looking for jobs, which is kind of scary because everyone else is doing that now. We want this to take off so we can go head first into this when we graduate. This is what we want to do with our lives. It's exciting and fun at the same time.