“grow.” with Tyler Conroy
Quarantine changed a lot for many people.
Some had to give up on physical interaction with others. Things like talking in person and hanging out were no longer safe. Parties were out of the question. Even hugs, one of the most basic human expressions to show love and care, were off the table. What do you do when you can’t hug others during a time when this simple human gesture is so important?
Indie musician Tyler Conroy spent the better part of the quarantine figuring this out. After going through an intense relationship that started before the pandemic and ended eight months into it, he needed a way to share all his feelings with others—and social distancing meant he had to get creative. Tyler turned to music; there, he could “[create] music that sounded like my feelings and allowed me to feel all the feels,” Tyler says. When his relationship ended, he used music and songwriting as a way to move forward—and his song about the relationship, “band camino,” became a healing mantra for himself and others. “‘Grow’ became the message of the song, for anyone healing in a time that felt almost impossible to heal during, and the inspiration behind a clothing collection I wanted to share with others,” explains Tyler.
That idea for a clothing collection ended up being more than just band merch for Tyler. While he needed custom shirts to promote himself as an upcoming indie artist and to share his message, it didn’t feel right—and didn’t embody the spirit of his music. When he found Custom Ink Fundraising, he knew he had found the perfect platform for his clothing line. “I wanted to give back during this time and felt weird making money off something that I designed to help others. By partnering with Custom Ink Fundraising, I was not only able to help make people feel cozy with clothing but was able to help those who are in need of that cozy feeling of home.”
Through Custom Ink Fundraising, funds raised from Tyler’s custom shirts directly go to the Covenant House to help unhoused, trafficked, and at-risk youth. The Covenant House is a non-profit organization that provides sanctuary in various cities across the world. After ensuring that these youths’ basic needs are met, they empower them with the resources necessary to build a positive future. With the COVID-19 pandemic, it became more difficult for displaced youth to find a support network, making the work of The Covenant House necessary—and Tyler’s support that much more important.
Tyler created his custom ‘grow.’ apparel to be simple, stylish, and close to his heart. “I wanted the design to be as personal as the song “band camino” while also giving a nod to the inner optimist in me and spread the message of seeing the positivity in growth.” Describing the design, Tyler explains “The design is the word “grow.” written in my handwriting with a little smiley face in the tail of the “g” inspired by my papa, whose signature mark was a smiley face he’d draw in all our cards. I just really wanted people to smile when they saw the smiley face because smiling is healing.”
Each of Tyler’s ‘grow’ designs was available on a crewneck sweatshirt, short sleeve t-shirt, or long sleeve t-shirt in the Hanes Comfort Garment Dyed collection. “I ordered the collection because I am obsessed with clothing that feels cozy, and if I was going to release a song with the goal of having it feel like a hug then I wanted to make sure the merch for the song could physically give people the cozy hug I wish I could give them right now,” says Tyler. The fabric provided a stylish way to display Tyler’s ‘grow.’ design while also being soft enough to let the wearer feel relaxed.
Setting up the fundraiser was a positive experience from start to finish. “The Custom Ink team was beyond helpful every step of the way in helping me create the perfect product no matter how many proofing times it took,” says Tyler. Thanks to everyone’s hard work, Tyler’s ‘grow.’ fundraiser was a success. He was able to raise more than $500 for the Covenant House, spread his hopeful message, and give an indirect hug to everyone who supported the fundraiser. With such a great cause, people were also able to donate directly to the Covenant House.
Tyler’s experience showed that making a line of custom merch could be just as positive and hopeful as his music. “Custom Ink was able to help an indie artist like me get my message and clothing in the hands of people across the country in the most seamless and effective way. I am so grateful for the team who helped me bring my vision to life and is now helping make so many people feel cozy.”