In Tulsa, Oklahoma, the husband-wife duo behind Mythic Press — Cole and Allison Cunningham — have a passion for branding and giving back.
What once started as a small, side screen-printing project has grown into a business specializing in plastisol screen printing. With Mythic becoming the Cunningham’s full-time gig in 2016, Allison tells GRAPHICS PRO, “We have continued to smash every goal and continue to think of unusual and unique ways to serve Tulsa.”
A history of T-shirt fundraising
With success from providing branded apparel and merch to operating its own Tulsa-themed brick-and-mortar retail shop called Mythic City, the company is able to partner with different organizations each month and raise money through its retail efforts.
Mythic Press first started doing T-shirt fundraisers in 2018 when Tulsa experienced a devastating flood that left millions of dollars of damage across the city.
“We were unable to sit idly by and, on a whim, came up with a design for a T-shirt to help raise money. I thought we might sell about 50, but we sold over 1,000!” Alison explains. “We were able to donate $15,000 to the Tulsa River Parks Authority. ”
Over the years, the printing company has also helped a local Tulsan battling cancer, a Jewish Museum that experienced vandalism, and many more. To date, it has donated over $40,000 to local charities through T-shirt fundraisers.
Tulsa-Ukraine in Solidarity
Having a strong dedication to giving back, the pair didn’t think twice about stepping in to help the people affected by the Russia-Ukraine war and decided to fundraise for United Help Ukraine, a nonprofit that provides medical and humanitarian aid to Ukrainians.
“My background is in development and fundraising, so, for me, I need to be helping in any way I can. We have a reputation in town for these T-shirt fundraisers, so we received several requests from local Tulsans to do a fundraiser for Ukraine,” she explains. “This one is different because we are not giving back to a local organization. Instead, we are helping a country on the other side of the world,” which is a first for Mythic.
The campaign has already seen tremendous success, selling nearly 400 shirts and raising almost $4,000 — $1,000 (100 shirts) away from its $5,000 (500-shirt) goal.
If you can’t do the math on that, Mythic Press donates $10 from each $20 T-shirt sale to the nonprofit. The other $10 covers the shop’s costs for the garment and the labor to print them.
“This is one of the reasons I love Mythic,” Allison says. “We are not just a business —we are firmly invested in Tulsa and its residents. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and we see it over and over again when we have these fundraisers.”
If the momentum keeps up, Mythic will set a new goal. Initially, the shop was going to run the fundraiser for two weeks, but Alison says they are thinking of leaving it open “indefinitely” and selling the shirt in its retail shop, in addition to online.
When asked how the design came to life for the T, Allison says her team sat down for a brainstorming session and wanted to create something unique.
“There are a lot of T-shirts on the internet for Ukraine right now. So, we wanted to make sure ours stood out but also looked appealing for a broad audience. The design is a sunflower, which is the national flower for Ukraine. And the petals of the flower are Ukraine’s coat of arms.”
The text surrounding the design reads, “Tulsa-Ukraine in Solidarity.”
The shop is using BELLA+CANVAS 3001CVC T-shirts in heather royal with golden yellow plastisol ink (a custom color mixed using Vortex inks). It’s printing the Ts with a recently purchased ROQ Next 8/12 screen printing machine. The shop runs many other manual and automatic presses, but it plans to run another large batch of shirts for Ukraine on its new ROQ.
The main challenge with this project is the “time-sensitive” element, says Allison. “We want to collect the most orders possible, so our donation has the biggest impact. That means we have to act quickly in creating the design and market it on all social platforms.”
If you’re interested in being a part of that impact, you can find the shirts for sale at shop.mythic.press.