Burnaby-printed sweatshirts to support Ukraine making a difference, say fundraisers
23-year old Madison Fleischer says when Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, she and her mother felt they had to do something to help.
A Lower Mainland woman behind a fundraising campaign to support Ukraine says when Russia invaded the Eastern European country, she and her mother felt they had to do something to help.
23-year old law student Madison Fleischer, who lives in Vancouver, has launched a campaign selling sweatshirts and other printed products with all proceeds going towards relief efforts in Ukraine.
“I actually have personal ties to Ukraine with my great-grandparents being from Lviv. When my mom was seeing the posts from Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the [president] of Ukraine, on Twitter—where he was going in the streets and literally begging for help to NATO allies to close the sky and give them ammunition—we knew we need to do something,” Fleischer told the Beacon.
“So my mom said, ‘Maddie, we can’t sit on the sidelines, we have to step up and do something.’”
Fleischer was in the process of setting up her own fashion line at the time. With the experience and knowledge she had gained from that, along with her academic background in media communications and political science, she felt she was perfectly positioned to help in her own way.
She and her mom Lisa decided to create Slava Sweatshirts—and another small business, based in Burnaby, has been instrumental in helping them in their mission.
All the sweatshirts and other products are printed by Noel Perera, who runs Instant Imprints on Antrim Ave in Burnaby. Fleischer said as she was starting out, she had difficulty finding a printer who would help them keep costs down so that all proceeds could be donated.
“I actually found him on Facebook Marketplace out of the blue. And I messaged him and said, ‘I’m really having trouble finding a printer that would be able to help us with lower costs,’ because with the proceeds that are going to Ukraine we do have to cover our costs. The lowest cost possible ensures the most amount donated to Ukraine,” she said.
“And Noel said, ‘yeah, I would love to help, let me know what I can do.’ And he’s a one-man show. … He literally hand-presses every single t-shirt by himself. And he’s just fantastic.”
Since setting up shop a few weeks ago, Fleischer says business is booming—with orders coming in from all over Canada and beyond, including the United States and Israel.
50% of all sales go towards the Ukrainian Humanitarian Crisis Appeal, and the other 50% is sent to the Red Cross and the Ukrainian National Bank.
“So for the Red Cross efforts, the government matches those. And then for the Ukrainian National Bank, it goes directly into their bank account where their finance minister and the rest of Parliament can decide on what is really needed as far as funding goes.”
And Fleischer is keen to note that she doesn’t intend Slava Sweatshirts to be a temporary project.
“It will need to be long-term as Ukraine looks to rebuild the nation from scratch,” she said.
Alongside the financial impacts of making a donation, Fleischer said buying a sweatshirt is a way of being able to wear a message of solidarity with Ukraine.
At the moment, Slava Sweatshirts is taking pre-orders to be able to keep up with demand. You can order online here, or visit Lisa Fleischer’s clothing boutique X-Treme Clothing Boutique in Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall to buy one in person.