Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Royal Oak company uses its creativity to promote Detroit

Tim Smith is tired of hearing the person on the other end of the phone line groan when he tells them that his company, Skidmore Inc., is located in Royal Oak, Michigan - a city just outside of Detroit.

"As soon as you mention the word 'Detroit', the negative comments start," Smith says.

"We were always getting reactions like, 'Detroit is dirty', or 'It's dangerous', or 'It doesn't have any creative people', and we were tired of hearing it," he recalls. "People that live here know about the positive things going on in the city, but we wanted to find a way to get people outside of Detroit to realize those things, too."

But trying to change a person's long-standing perception about an entire city is not an easy task; simply refuting negative comments about Detroit, or stating that the Motor City has a lot to offer, isn't enough to get the attention of most people - let alone cause them to change their opinions about it.

Gideon and Blair show off their new BigLoveDetroit t-shirts
at Bookies Tavern in downtown Detroit

Luckily, though, the clever folks over at Skidmore didn't let the forecasted difficulty of the project sway them from going up against it. They knew the complaints weren't going to magically disappear - and neither was the panging sense of civic duty they felt.

Prompted by the ideas of Mae Skidmore - President and Creative Director of the firm - who believes that Detroit is often misunderstood by outsiders - and is "way beyond the Rust Belt" image it is often associated with, Skidmore and Smith decided that the way they could best help Detroit with its image problem was not by denying the negatives; but, instead, by focusing on the positives - or, in Smith's words, "By celebrating all that is cool and unique in Detroit."

To transform the idea from a mere vision into an actual workable project, Skidmore and Smith created a separate entity, which they labeled BigLoveDetroit (BLD) - a name that is indicative of the enterprise's mission: To give the Motor City some love.

By tapping into the creative talent at Skidmore, Inc., BLD created something unique and on-target - a line of originally-designed t-shirts, whose individual messages parallel those of BLD's ultimate purpose - to pay homage to a city, that, according to Mae Skidmore, "deserves better".

The creative designs of the shirts - which contain catchy, Detroit-esque phrases like Machine Shop Fabulous and On and Poppin' - along with the high-quality threads they are printed on, typify exactly the type of Detroit excellence that BigLoveDetroit was created to promote.

The t-shirts, which can be purchased securely from BigLoveDetroit.com, are available in a handful of different designs, in styles for both Men and Women. While they feature similar design themes, the Men's and Women's shirts vary in both shirt-style and color.

Me, in my BigLoveDetroit t-shirt

At $25 each, a BigLoveDetroit t-shirt is a great way to show your love for Detroit, while also giving some of your own love to the Motor City. That's because a sizable portion of the profits from each BigLoveDetroit t-shirt go directly to the fabulous Detroit non-profit group, Alternatives for Girls.

For more information on BigLoveDetroit, please visit the contact page at www.BigLoveDetroit.com.

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