Helping to build communities, one t-shirt at a time

Bonfire’s unique approach to customizable clothing is helping nonprofits and creators spread the word.

If you want to graduate from micro-influencer to full-on social media sensation, you’re going to need some merch. If you want to raise money for your nonprofit, or raise awareness for your political campaign, you’re going to need some merch.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a YouTube star or a nonprofit powerhouse, Bonfire can help. The Richmond, Virginia-based startup gives individuals and organizations the ability to design and sell high-quality, custom-printed shirts and sweats.

Campaign fundraisers set the prices of their custom-designed t-shirts. Bonfire handles the orders, printing, and shipping, only charging for the number of shirts that have been ordered, ensuring that organizers aren’t faced with endless boxes filled with surplus size XXL. The company retains the cost of each unit sold (approximately $10 for every $22 shirt), with the rest going to charity.

They started the fire

Founded as Bonfire Funds in 2011, the company began life offering assistance to people who wanted to raise money for community-driven projects through the power of a great t-shirt. Working with causes as varied the World Pediatric Project and the Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary, Bonfire helped communities raise tens of thousands of dollars.

In 2016, the company abridged their name to Bonfire and opened up the marketplace to anyone who wanted a custom t-shirt. “The foundation of the company was built around causes and fundraising, which our name Bonfire Funds evoked,” founder and CEO Brian Marks said. “[However] we kept hitting a wall because a lot of our customers would ask for things that were outside the scope of fundraising… It allows us to really touch a lot of new verticals, or sales opportunities, so it is exciting.”

But their expanding embrace of profit-minded individuals hardly means that Bonfire has left their do-gooder origins behind. In the last year alone, their site has helped bring in funds for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Flint Kids, Panda Paws Rescue, Richmond Public Schools, and many more, raising more than $6.3 million for causes in 2018.

A song of price and fire

With their newly opened platform, Bonfire has also added new seller features that helps their customers maximize sales and reach a wider audience. Their robust seller dashboard offers users a look at who their customers are, and they have also integrated Amazon Pay to make it easier than ever for people to buy a shirt without creating another user account.

Bonfire has also started targeting YouTube creators to help them sell customized merch, no matter how big or small their audience is. They’ll also pay for and run remarketing ads at no extra charge. And the company is making the most of operating at scale – the company has the capacity to handle orders of anywhere from 10 to 10,000, and as sales increase, so do the per-unit savings for customers.

For many small-to-medium sized nonprofits and creators, the value in Bonfire’s services cannot be understated. Or, as Bonfire’s mission statement puts it, “We strive to build simple products and meaningful partnerships that strengthen and inspire communities.”

Visit to explore their brand.