Lisa and Madison Fleischer have sold hundreds of Slava Sweatshirts and raised thousands of dollars to support Ukraine following Russia’s invasion into the country.
And Madison says she’s prepared to continue making and selling the sweaters “for as long as we can.”
“It’s Ukraine rebuilding, so getting through the war, yes, but rebuilding takes twice as much effort and funds.”
The mom-and-daughter duo, who live in the Sullivan Heights area, got the idea for the Slava Sweatshirts after seeing a plea on Twitter to NATO from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to close the skies, she explained.
“That was the emotional attachment,” said Madison, a law school student, with a degree in political science and media and communications.
“The familial attachment, though, is the fact that my maternal great-grandparents were from Lviv, so my mom obviously knew we have a tie to this. These are strong people and they’re not getting the support they need, so how can we help?”
From there, Madison put together some designs and they decided to sell them out of Lisa’s store, X-Treme Clothing Boutique, in Delta.
Madison said they started out with two of every size in the different designs, but she soon wondered if they would need more.
They sold out.
Then everything “kind of went viral” when freelance journalist Jody Vance (who has more than 25,700 followers on Twitter) tweeted about the sweaters.
Since then, Madison said they have orders going out across North America and even as far as Israel.
“It’s like going global, so it’s quite something now.”
For Lisa, she said creating and selling the sweaters felt like “it was the least we could do.”
“It’s not going to be over any time soon because the war might end — who knows, in a matter of months, years, maybe — but the rebuilding is also where our funds need to go.”
That’s why proceeds from the sales are going to the Ukraine National Bank and Red Cross humanitarian efforts.
“The rebuilding is going to be critical and I don’t hear anyone saying (that),” noted Lisa.
“Everyone’s just focused on the crisis of humanitarian relief – and that is huge. But the rebuilding is even bigger and that’s going to be why we need to donate it directly to them so they can use it to rebuild and whatever they need. They know their needs.”
Now, Lisa said they’re looking for help at her store and with Slava Sweatshirts.
The two have since branched out beyond crewneck sweaters and have started selling pins, T-shirts and mugs.
The merchandise is also made-to-order and their printer is a one-man show.
“I need help generally in my store and we need help with this business.”
For more information about Slava Sweatshirts, visit slavasweatshirts.com.