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JT Siurek: Giving back to nature one tree at a time

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JT Siurek: Giving back to nature one tree at a time

The Jack Flannel Co. logo

The Jack Flannel Co. logo

The Jack Flannel Co. logo

The Jack Flannel Co. logo

Evan Laux

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According to Time Magazine, the world is home to more than 3 trillion trees; however, the global tree population has fallen 46% since the beginning of human civilization. Every year, 15 billion trees are cut down

The environment is a hot topic in both politics and society, where younger generations are fearful that the environment they know today may not look as good 10, 20 or even 50 years from now.

“I want to leave this world in a better state for our future generations,”  junior JT Siurek said. “Creating a better tomorrow is my goal I guess, I think my small business can help to do that.”

Siurek is an entrepreneurship and business double major and the owner/creator of “The Jack Flannel Co.,” a clothing business he launched in mid-October, 2018.

With each item purchased through The Jack Flannel Co., one tree is planted via a federally recognized non-profit organization called “One Tree Planted.” Siurek’s business strives to solve the huge problem of deforestation with a simple solution: create fashionable, affordable clothing that ultimately helps to save the earth one tree at a time.

“I’ve completely outsourced the environmental aspect of my business,” Siurek said. “I focus on the sales, and OneTreePlanted focuses on the trees. These people know what they’re doing and they’re a great organization. They’ve planted trees all across the U.S. and all around the world. Being able to donate to something like that is just fantastic.”

The non-profit partners with businesses such as Ford, Adidas and Husqvarna to help promote environmental protection and restoration.

These and other businesses typically follow a one-to-one route where a tree is planted for every sale or service sold. Larger businesses can also donate a percentage of sales, set up a recurring donation, or tie tree planting into their social media campaigns.

Since the launch of The Jack Flannel Co. six months ago, 112 trees have been planted, a number Siurek is very proud of.

“I’m trying to take steps to assure our world is in a better state in the future. It’s lessening our footprint so to speak,” Siurek said.

Outside of his business, SIurek still finds time to be busy with other endeavors. Since his freshman year, he has been a member of CAB (Campus Activities Board) and is now the co-leader of the group, along with junior Cillian Donahue.

“JT is a huge part of the success of CAB. He is incredibly outspoken and silly, and helps create a fun atmosphere in CAB,” Donahue said. “However, he always knows what needs to get done. JT has an amazing work ethic. When he wants to accomplish something, he puts his mind to it and puts all of his effort into it.”

Siurek explained that if he didn’t follow this model, his business wouldn’t have existed in the first place.

“My dad owned his own business and sort of put me on the entrepreneurship path. I found out when I came to AU that when you’re an entrepreneur, you have to do your own accounting, law and marketing to some extent,” Siurek said.

In fact, Siurek runs his business as an almost entirely one-man operation.

“I do everything from running the operations to making social media posts to sweeping the floor if I have to,” Siurek said. “Every now and then I get people to help me out if I need it, but for the most part I’m the team. I definitely expect to grow the team in the future though.”

Although Siurek is confident in his business endeavors, he admits that it was difficult in the beginning.

“The biggest thing was researching where to go and what to do. I didn’t have a whole lot of clothing design background and paperwork and legal issues were difficult too. There were a bunch of places I went to help me with stuff like that but they all cost money,” Siurek said. “The hardest thing about starting your own business is purchasing in the beginning. Inventory and legalities cost a ton and all of that came out of pocket when I didn’t have a ton to begin with.”

Recently; however, Siurek came into some money when he placed second in the 2019 Idea Labs Competition held at Baldwin Wallace University on April 4th.

20 Teams from 10 different universities competed by pitching their own businesses and ideas in a “Shark Tank” style as Siurek puts it. Siurek represented AU with his own Jack Flannel Co. and won a cash prize of $2,500.

A small start doesn’t mean small aspirations for Siurek though. Before Christmas 2019, Siurek set a goal of planting 1,000 trees — meaning 1,000 sales.

“What I would love to do is continue to grow new clothing lines to branch out. The goal is to come out with actual flannels,” Siurek said. “I’m working on plans for that right now, I’ll maybe do that later in the year or next year.”

Currently, The Jack Flannel Co. has only a few options in its catalog, called the “First Plant Collection.” These articles include long sleeve shirts, joggers and a beanie all with Siurek’s trademark Jack Flannel Co. logo embroidered on them.

JT Siurek posing in some of his Jack Flannel Co. merchandise.

“It’s not just about the clothes though, it’s more about the brand I’m trying to develop. Any product that has that logo, that golden tree logo, that product planted a tree,” Siurek said.

“Environment first, clothing second. I’m passionate about my clothing but it’s ultimately a means to the overall goal of helping to save our environment,” Siurek said. “We could get into ski goggles if we wanted to, but it’s just more about the impact we’re making. Once we hit our 1,000 tree goal, it’s to increase to 10,000 — then 100,000.”

To learn more about The Jack Flannel Co., visit their website at https://www.jackflannel.com/.

To learn more about One Tree Planted, visit: https://onetreeplanted.org/.

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