(Photo: Gutzy Wear)
A brand of clothing designed to help singles connect with one another face-to-face was recently launched nationwide and is raising funds via Kickstarter in order to roll out some new products.
Arizona entrepreneur Kari Holt came up with the idea for Gutzy Wear in 2011. As a single mother to three boys, she had tried online dating but often found that the people she met on the Internet didn't live up to her expectations once she met them in person. Sometimes they looked different than they did in their profile pictures, she told The Christian Post, and other times the chemistry she had hoped for just wasn't there.
While driving in her car one day, she says, she came up with the idea to put a logo on a shirt that would suggest to others that the shirt's wearer is "single, available and approachable."
"My whole goal with the Gutzy Wear is to empower people to just break open a conversation again in everyday places," said Holt. She first launched the product in Phoenix, Ariz., and received a positive response, she says, and "a few thousand" people in the state have purchased the brand's products since they were released.
One reason the brand is helpful, she says, is it helps to counteract the tendency people have to "hide" behind their digital devices.
"If you go and sit at a car wash, everybody's looking at either their iPad, their smartphones. Nobody even knows what their surroundings are anymore," said Holt. "And I think ... we've been desensitized and don't even know how to even approach somebody in public anymore. We don't interact anymore, unless it's in a bar situation where people are drinking and getting the guts to go up and say 'Hi.'"
Instead of encouraging singles to find each other on the Internet and then meet up later, Holt's clothing products encourage people to first see each other in person and then, if necessary, contact each other online. Buyers have the option of adding a "connection code" to the back of each shirt. If an individual misses the opportunity to start a conversation with someone they saw wearing a Gutzy Wear shirt, but they remember the code, they can use the code to contact the shirt's wearer through the brand's website.
Holt is simultaneously launching her brand nationally and trying to raise funds via Kickstarter to manufacture a line of active wear featuring the Gutzy Wear logo. She is trying to raise $10,000 by June 5, and as of Monday afternoon 12 backers have pledged $431 toward her goal. She is rewarding backers who pledge $25 or more with one or more of the brand's clothing products.
Although she's starting small, Holt says she has a number of products planned for the future, including jeans, golf attire and accessories. Among the accessories she has planned is a ring for singles to wear on their right hand.
"A ring symbolizes marriage on the left hand, so why not symbolize single on your right hand," she said.
Holt, who is Catholic, said she also hopes to one day put symbols representing different passions, such as hobbies or religious preferences, on her products. By doing so, singles who share the same passions can easily identify each other.