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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Disability advocate Stevie Hopkins of 3ELove promotes tolerance with his unique brand of clothing

Disclaimer: Please be aware that I, Michael LaPenna, have no commercial investment with 3ELove or any of its partners.  This cause is simply one I support as a matter of conscience.

This is a cause I adamantly support! Please join me!

By Stevie Hopkins

Please Forward and Share the love!
20% off everything on our web store.
Use discount code "EVERYWHERE" at checkout
Greetings 3E Lovers!

Roughly two years ago, I decided to abandon my previous lifestyle and follow my heart and try to accomplish my late sister Annie's goals with our social entrepreneurial experiment 3E Love. I remember launching our Facebook page in August of 2009 and printing our first LOVE tees. Reaching 500 fans in a few days was super exciting, then 2,000 in 2 weeks and I was so amped on the possibilities!  I remember our very first customer in California, then Rhode Island, then New Mexico. Our first international customer was in Canada, then United Kingdom, then Sweden, Australia.... The excitement of spreading Annie's symbol and ideals worldwide was remedy for grief, a quick personal fix for my troubles, and ultimately so gratifying to share with others. The rush and satisfaction of it has lasted two years now and has been a wild ride.  I never imagined the places I've been, the people I've met, and the positivity one symbol could inspire. Life is funny sometimes.

In this nostalgia, I decided it was time to share with everyone some exciting numbers and updates, as well as celebrate with you in the form of a probably much too generous weeklong sale (details to follow).

Those of you who were involved in our social experiment early last year probably remember Project Everywhere and our push for Pepsi Refresh's $250,000 grant. We did not have a winning effort in the Pepsi Refresh Contest, but the lofty goals of Project Everywhere carried forward!

For all you newer 3E Lovers and those who need a refresher course, Project Everywhere is our attempt to measure the reach of our social mission to start conversations about acceptance and disability worldwide. I created this benchmark project last year when I decided that it would be really cool to track everywhere in the world where someone has a T-shirt, sticker, bag, button or hoodie, maybe on an interactive map. Although we cannot afford said map, I'm dangerous with a spreadsheet and began tracking as many wheelchair hearts as possible! The long term goals included one in every single state in America for starters, to reach out globally, and eventually have at least one wheelchair heart symbol in EVERY zip code (40,000+!!) and every country!  People with disabilities are everywhere, so shouldn't the International Symbol of Acceptance be too?

Having such a goal reminds me every day that 3E Love is more than a business, more than profit, loss, employment taxes, and cost of goods sold. 3E Love is a global initiative to start conversations and spread a positive message and build a community. Every time someone logs on to our store, clicks around and makes a purchase, it's more than just a transaction -- it's an untraceable number of future joyful and educational interactions that will be triggered. At school, work, the grocery store, dentist's office, in the street - these social transactions take place because of the International Symbol of Acceptance....

And that's awesome! That's why I wake up every day and want to work 100 hours a week. That's why you buy our products and so proudly wear your heart on your sleeve!
So.. Project Everywhere is alive and well and it is my daily motivator. Yesterday, I crunched some numbers and want to share our progress after these short two years.

Project Everywhere Stats as of 8/8/11
Note: based on web store and phone orders only

More than 20,000 clothing items
More than 50,000 temporary tattoos
More than 20,000 buttons
More than 30,000 stickers
Across 19 countries
At least one in EVERY single US State
At least one in 1,643 zipcodes (3.97% nationally)
In our home state of Illinois, at least one in 319 zip codes (20.16% of state).

This is exciting to me, and I wanted to share! It's easier to understand the impact that's been made and what is possible when numbers are laid out. To think that all of this has been accomplished within the community, with just you and me, and what more will be done! One day we will reach our lofty goals with Project Everywhere, and the hopeless, romantic, idealist in me believes that that means the world will be a better place!

So thank you for being a part of this social entrepreneurial movement... now and in the future. Celebrate with me by buying something and sharing with friends and family. Repost this or forward it to others!

Until the end of this week (Sunday at 11:59), enjoy 20% off of absolutely everything on our online store with discount code "EVERYWHERE" at checkout. It's our largest storewide sale yet.

Order online at

We will be launching a lot of new products and services, as well new web sites with fun ways for you to get involved. Your purchases this week will help us get to the next step of our movement. I'm in a good mood, thankful, and super excited for the future.

Thank you 3E Lovers!

Please help spread awareness and tolerance wherever you can and...roll on!

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