In 2011, founder and owner of Enkel Apparel, Chad Dodd, unexpectedly became a foster parent for a teenage boy, who attended Youth Church where Chad led worship in Omaha, Nebraska. It was a week before the young teenagers freshman year started when he came into Chad’s home and he only had the clothes he was wearing, a tank top, shorts and flip-flops. Due to the circumstances, there was uncertainty of when if ever this young teenager would be able to get any of his old cloths. So friends and family of Chad began to give their old hand-me-down clothing, with some being just old. So Chad took the foster child cloth shopping at their local mall as well as a department store where a friend of Chad’s donated a shopping spree to Dillard’s. By the end of shopping, they were able to get a whole new wardrobe for the young man’s first week as a freshman.
Before this Chad had heard about foster children and was passively sympathetic of their situation, but never fully understood what these children go through. To say that these children are being pulled from the only home they know, and then thrusted into a new environment of a strangers home, sometimes more than once, is simply just scratching the surface of the many challenges they face on a daily basis. Not only is there the constant moving but also struggles to fit in at school amongst the other children.
Common practice is for foster children to receive hand me downs and making visits to thrift stores, getting clothes that are not stylish, fit or even in new condition. They stand in line at local charities to receive school supplies, coats, backpacks and other handouts that are limited. Chad remembers when he was picking out school clothes and his backpack, every detailed mattered to him, wanting to have the coolest gear. It was a simple way to immediately fit in at school. If he was wearing high water pants or simply pants that didn’t fit right, he would be an immediate target for jokes and ridicule.
So Chad began a journey to figure out how to minimize the gap that foster children feel to fit into school.
So how do we simply minimize this gap? To start, with Enkel Apparel. In swedish “Enkel” means simple. When you buy a shirt Enkel Apparel in turn donates a shirt to a foster child between kindergarten and senior years of school. Enkel is currently starting in Chad’s old home town of Omaha, Nebraska, a city in where in June of 2012 there were approximately 3,047 foster children between ages 6 and 18 years old.
By the end of Enkel Apparel’s first year, they plan on providing one branded shirt for all 3,047 foster children in Omaha, as well as expanding their reach in the following 3 years to cities all over the US and then in 5 years to the UK and Europe.
In a few years, Enkel Apparel wants to move beyond providing just shirts and move into a whole apparel line, including jeans, tops, hoodies, socks, underwear, you name it. And the same principle will apply, buy one, Enkel gives one!
Enkel Apparel is a for-profit company, based in Omaha, Nebraska. The company was founded in 2013 by Chad Dodd, all around Creative and entrepreneur from San Jose, California. The company designs and sells shirts. When Enkel Apparel sells a shirt, a shirt is given to a foster child.