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An Inker’s Tribute to Oprah

by Allyson Ayers

in CustomInk News

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Oprah T-Shirts Outside Harpo Studios

As you know, in the wake of family reunion t-shirt season, we commissioned a family reunion survey of 1,000 Americans to ask all kinds of related questions. The majority of survey participants chose Oprah as the celebrity who would most fit in at their family reunion. And it’s certainly timely since her last show aired this week. We have a die-hard Oprah fan on our team, Lori M., who got to attend this last show, and she wanted to share her story with you:

I turned 21 the day of Oprah’s first show and I’ve been an Ultimate Viewer ever since. If you’ve ever caught the show, and I know you have, the underlying message is always stay present, be kind, find your purpose, and look for ways to make the world a better place. Each day I would tune in, take note, and most likely reach for the Kleenex.

Fast forward a few years and I find myself working for a small startup company. It was here that I could use my years of Oprah inspiration and pay it forward. It started with team member policies like generous leave, flexible schedules and food! And then somewhere along the way it turned into so much more…

After noticing that many of our customers were creating shirt designs for charity walks and fundraisers, we had an idea. We would reach out to these big-hearted customers and make a donation to their team or organization to let them know we appreciated their efforts. So far, we’ve helped purchase cattle for families in Africa, sponsored Yappy Hours for pet rescues, and donated to the scholarship funds of fallen soldiers, firefighters and police officers. We support the relief efforts in Haiti, New Orleans and Japan as well as thousands of customers who walk to make the world better, find a cure, and give hope. As our company has grown, so have our outreach efforts, and there’s no denying that the Oprah show was my inspiration to make it happen!

Every customer is important to me but you can imagine how excited I was when an order placed by a HARPO Association Production Designer landed on my screen! Little did I know that this chance encounter would land me a seat at the Oprah Surprise Spectacular show in Chicago last week. (Queue the singing angels!) It was AMAZING and seeing hundreds of Harpo crew members running around in CustomInk t-shirts made me so proud. Oprah and I had truly gone full circle.

So, as her final show aired this week, I want to send a shout-out to Oprah for encouraging me to do what I could to stay present, be kind, find my purpose and look for a way to make the world a better place.

We know you have your own inspirations from Oprah and pay-it-forward stories, and we look forward to hearing them – please share!

About the Author - Allyson Ayers


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Allyson Ayers May 27, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Aw thanks, Sue! We look forward to working with you again. :)

Sue Ewig May 27, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I have always loved the responsiveness of your company when it comes to questions about designs and orders (though I have only placed 2 so far), but now I have even more reasons to love you! I had no idea you were so philanthropic and such a cool company for which to work. Bravo! Keep up the great work!

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