By Kent Coules, This Week Publisher
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on others.”
No sport matches baseball when it comes to inspirational life quotes. Crazy Shirts President Scott Maroney must have absorbed some of these lessons growing up as a promising player in Southern California. “I played baseball from a very young age,” says Maroney. “I was drafted by the Angels as a left fielder right out of high school.”
Just before leaving home for his first stop in the Angels’ minor league farm system, Maroney tore his rotator cuff sliding into second base. Just like that, his baseball dreams were behind him. At 19, his retail career went from “on deck” to “in the batter’s box”.
After stints at retailers like Van Heusen, OshKosh b’ Gosh, and Champs Sports, Maroney joined Hawai‘i based Crazy Shirts in 2008 to help propel their mission “to create original and memorable artwork on quality products that take our customers on the endless vacation in everyday life.”
The company has grown to 300 employees, with stores in Florida, California and Colorado in addition to Hawai‘i. “We’re proudly the luxury t-shirt brand. We have so many customers who tell us they’ve been collecting shirts for over 30 years. A typical comment is, ‘I bought this shirt on Front Street in Lahaina in 1980 and I wear it to this day.’ We even know of two loyal shoppers who made quilts out of all their shirts.”
Crazy Shirts’ three Pillars For Success—Quality, Creativity and Service—have allowed the company the freedom to do good for others while still thriving as a business.
“Crazy Shirts already had a history of charitable giving when I arrived,” says Maroney, including beach cleanups and partnerships with organizations like Access Surf, a non-profit that helps people with disabilities take part in ocean sports, like surfing and kayaking.
In addition, Crazy Shirts has partnered with the Hawaiian Humane Society for over 35 years. “Each year we design and sell adopt-a-cat and adopt-a-dog t-shirts with partial proceeds going back to support their mission, ‘People for Animals. Animals for People.’ These exclusive designs are sought after collector’s items and are highly anticipated on an annual basis by all our fans. Along with these designs we are very involved in several different fundraising activities for both the Hawaiian Humane Society and have recently added the Maui Humane Society as one of our community partners.”
“Growing our mission and our company has allowed us to expand our good works,” notes Maroney.
Since his arrival, Maroney helped add relief efforts to Crazy Shirts’ portfolio of charitable giving. “It started with the Chile earthquake in 2010. The warnings that a tsunami could hit Hawai‘i got our attention and then the same alarms were sounded the following year when the Japan tsunami hit. We decided to create shirts and donate the proceeds to victims there.”
“When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, we contacted the Red Cross and put out a shirt with a cut out of Texas with “Aloha from Hawai‘i” inside. We put the shirt out on our website and could not keep up with the demand.”
Crazy Shirts has never lost its focus on Hawai‘i. When thousands of people were impacted by the Big Island volcano destruction earlier this year, Crazy Shirts donated 100% of the net proceeds from the relief effort shirts, which totaled close to $75,000 in cash and product. They have produced rose-dyed shirts for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for the last nine years.
So how does Maroney want to be remembered?
“I’d like to be remembered as someone who forwarded the mission of Crazy Shirts. As someone who learned, and who impacted employee’s careers in a positive way. I want to be known as the guy who grew people, even if it means creating positions to fit the skill sets.”
Legendary Dodgers’ manager Tommy Lasorda once said, “There are three types of baseball players: Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens.” Thankfully, for fans and charitable causes far and wide, Crazy Shirts and Scott Maroney make things happen. You might say that they are a Category 1 of aloha.
To learn more about Crazy Shirts’ past initiatives to support the community and people affected by disasters, CLICK HERE.
[A version of this article also appears in the January-March print editions of This Week O‘ahu, available for free at locations across the island]