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You spoke, we listened. The Undershirt Club (new and updated)

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Those who signed up for The Undershirt Club gave feedback and while most of it was positive, we did receive some great suggestions.  The number one improvement that was requested was “send fewer t-shirts……12 per year is just too many.”  So, we listened.  Members of The Undershirt Club will now receive 2 shirts every 3 months.

Another adjustment is the billing.  We are now charging per month versus per quarter.  The monthly membership is $5.95 per month.

And the last, and perhaps most exciting change is that we are offering a free one-month trial to The Undershirt Club.  We are so convinced that you will fall in love with our super soft and comfy undershirts that we will ship 2 shirts to you and your membership won’t be billed until the 2nd month.

There you have it.  2 shirts, every 3 months for just $5.95 per month (first month free).  All while making a difference!

Fabric anyone?

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

I’m not sure that any company functions on auto-pilot or cruise control although every entrepreneur optimistically dreams of it. A business with no turbulences would be boring anyways, true? Some days I’d agree to this. As of recent, I long for it.

Here’s why.

1) Cotton prices are at a 150 year high. A year ago cotton was $.77/lb. Compare that to the current price of $2.44/lb and you can see why this is a thorn in our side. An increase like this demands prices to be raised on our product. Something a new company doesn’t ever look forward to. The bad news is many experts don’t see any relief in the short term.

2) Gas prices. Our t-shirt pipeline from Mali to Omaha isn’t quite finished so until then, we will use big boxes and a boat. Boats take gas and you understand where this is going…….

3) Civil unrest in Africa. We were using a company out of the Ivory Coast to make our fabric. The country is not stable right now after recent elections and so our fabric provider is no longer an option. Our contingency plan? We planned on using a company out of Nigeria. Bad news again. Recent elections have disallowed this.

T-shirts aren’t hard to make………if you have fabric. So, we’re back to the drawing board trying to work up a solution or two…………..

Is The Undershirt Club in your office?

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

I wish I had a dollar for every time I have told the Sababu story. Scratch that, I wish I had a subscription to The Undershirt Club for every time I’ve told the story. Forget that too. I wish I had a subscription for every time the story was told by anyone, not just me.

Here’s what we’re after. We’re looking for places like a local CPA office and a local law firm who says they love the story and want to tell it to others. We’re looking for advocates within companies/organizations to tell the story for us and ask for subscriptions. We give you the poster to hang in your lounge (like below), samples and subscription cards. The rest is up to you.

If you’re keen on advocating The Undershirt Club at your place of work, email us at

Thanks for making a difference,

Recent Interview….

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Meet Emmanuel

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Continuing with the “Meet the Linemen” theme that was started in late January, I want to introduce you to Emmanuel Thera.

Emmanuel comes for the “Bobo” people group and lived in the bush until he was 12. His dad, Daniel, was working for the government in various roles throughout Emmanuel’s childhood so they moved a few times. He ended up in Bamako and did all his schooling there. And, just as his father, he went to college to become an international lawyer.

Emmanuel’s role at Sababu is large. His official title is Manager of Inventory & Logistics, but his role extends much past this title. You see, besides his father, Emmanuel has been on board the longest with Sababu. For many, the ribbon cutting at the grand opening was the launch of something new. For Emmanuel, it was the summit of a mountain he’d been climbing for 18 months.

One of the most memorable stories about Emmanuel was during the 3 month employee evaluations. To gauge the level of respect for the management team and get true, honest feedback from the employees, we spoke to the employees in private and away from the management team. When an employee was asked what he thought of Emmanuel, his response was “I just don’t get him. He is a manager and I’m a guy from the bush who can’t read, I can’t write, I have no education and yet Emmanuel treats me like I’m a brother to him. I just don’t understand.”

This is Emmanuel.

A few facts about Emmanuel:
– 26 years old
– Single
– Has a side business of used car sales
– Favorite soda is Dr. Pepper

Trivia Tuesday

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Question: In what Malian city is Sababu located?
Prize: “The Coulibaly” (Sababu branded tee)

Meet Martin.

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Martin reigns from the country of Madagascar. Madagascar? Yes, Madagascar. The southeastern island of Africa. The obvious setting of the Disney film, “Madagascar.”

Martin is the production manager for Sababu. He has been with us since June 2010 and hit the ground running immediately. I distinctly remember picking Martin up from the airport and taking him to his house in Mali. I told him I’d pick him up the next day at 1pm to start working in which he replied, “why so late?” I liked him immediately. Never-mind the fact that he just traveled across the continent of Africa the day before, he wants to do work. So, he designed the work flow of production, did the hiring, trained the workers and the list goes on and on. Martin is the brains for all the technical side of the production.

I’ve often asked myself why a guy like Martin would come all the way up from Madagascar. The guy has over 20 years experience in the industry, speaks 4 languages, is a professor of textiles and wanted to move to Mali to be part of Sababu. He says Sababu is different and he wants to be a part of this. I’m ok with this.

A few facts on Martin
-Martin is married with children. Most of his children live in countries other than Madagascar.
-Does things with Microsoft Excel that would make actuaries drool.
-Sababu is the first place he has worked at where he actually got to build the production floor to his specs/desires.
-Always travels with a business suit on.

Meet Martin Ferdinand.

Trivia Tuesday (part 1)

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Question: What does the word “Sababu” mean?
Prize: “The Keita” (Sababu branded tee)

Trivia Tuesday

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Tuesday. Mardi. Tarata. One day after the dreaded Monday.

Here’s the deal. Every Tuesday we will posting a question on our site about Sababu, Mali, etc. The first person to respond with the correct answer will receive a Sababu t-shirt at their doorstep.

Complicated? Not so much. Good way to learn more about Sababu? Absolutely.

This is the part that is usually in much smaller font and has a lot of fancy words that state all the rules, disclosures, limitations…..aka the fine print. The only rule I have is that the same person can only win once every month. This means that if Johnny BeCool answers correctly on March 4, he can’t win again until April 4. He would have to login as Susie BeCool (his darling wife) and pretend to be her. This isn’t the highest integrity move but the truth is, we’d never know the difference. Johnny, you’re one tricky fella.


Sunday, January 30th, 2011

It doesn’t take real long for one to see that we use the word “together” more than most. Website, brochure, even product carries the word. The reason being is there is no “one person” who runs the show. The Sababu movement is truly a team effort; on both sides of the Atlantic. From the workers who take pride in every shirt made all the way to you, the customer who tells the story of Sababu, we’re in this together. After all, our central idea is “Together We Develop Life.” We subscribe to this 100% and hope that you do as well.

Continuing with this theme of togetherness is our goal of raising up a team of advocates who are sold out for sharing the Sababu story. We long for a community of folks who spread the story with us to all who will listen. We’re working on putting together a schedule for places to visit and tell the Sababu story for this Spring and Summer. We will be at conferences, seminars, music festivals, etc. Sooner than later, we will release our schedule with the various places we will be. In the meantime, do you know of place you think we should be telling the story? Do you have a group of friends or an event that would be a good place for us to tell the story?

Thanks for being a Sababu advocate and using your voice to make a difference. Together we can drastically change the lives of men and women in Mali, West Africa!