Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Inked In Love

A few months ago one of my oldest friends took his life. He was someone who was loved and changed not only my life, but the lives of many of the people I know. I can’t help but feel like if we could have just been there, or if he would have called, maybe he wouldn’t be gone right now. Suicide is not easy to cope with and you never forget someone who takes their own life. It's hard to think of someone that you loved being so sad and hurt that they thought that was the best option. It’s hard to admit that a lot of us have been there ourselves over the years; sometimes it is nearly impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have had to depend on the people that I love to get me through some difficult times and I do not know what I would have done without them. They didn't judge me when I talked to them, but instead listened and helped me get through the hard times.

Suicide prevention has become one of my passions. After losing my second friend this year, I realized that something has to be done about this. People need to have a place to turn and need to be more open
about how they are feeling. We need to work on getting rid of the stigma around suicide and start talking about it more openly.

Right after my friend passed away, I met a local named Josh Kassabian. He pulled me aside and told me about an idea he and Joe Kassabian had for a clothing company that would put a large amount of its proceeds back into the community and into charities that work with issues close to his heart. The two issues that he was focusing on were suicide prevention and soldiers returning home from the army. These are two causes close to my heart, so I had to learn more about what he was doing. 

He had a great idea to start a clothing company that had one extra feature; every screen printed shirt would have a special patch on the shoulder that would also be screen-printed and sewn on. These
patches could be purchased at a lower cost if you could not afford to buy a shirt. He wanted to find a way to get the word out and give people options. He even planned to make stickers and buttons and to keep expanding from there. I loved the logo, the merch, and most of all the idea. I asked him to sit down with his partner Joe, via email, and tell us a little more about the brand. Joe is still actively serving our country, hence why we had to do an email interview.

The company, Inked In Love, will have a table at the March 2nd Flashclash and Phantasmagoria show at The Magic Bag. So read ahead to learn more about the brand and then come out to the show on the 2nd to pick up some swag. Thanks so much Joe and Josh for what you are doing. We are so happy to be helping you get the word out about this wonderful brand and idea. 

Hip In Detroit- What motivated you to start Inked In Love? Why did you choose the name Inked In Love? 
Josh Kassabian- "Inked In Love originally started as a way for heavily tattooed individuals such as myself to show their community they are not the people they are usually associated to. An outlet for these artistic, creative, unique individuals to make an effort in changing the worlds opinion of the everyday tattooed person by donating time and money to organizations such as suicide awareness and breast cancer foundations. After a year, Inked in Love was taken to a whole new level, not making the focus about heavily tattooed individuals but about good people in general trying to make a difference in the world."

Hip In Detroit- What items will you be making and selling? 
Josh Kassabian- "Inked In Love will be making (in house) our own clothing line and selling each of our clothing line shirts with our veterans assistance and suicide awareness patches sewn to the right
sleeve as our military displays. For those who cannot afford a shirt at this time, we will also be selling the patches separately for you to adhere to your own clothing and still show support. We also have stickers for sale, buttons coming soon and other articles of clothing in the future.

Hip In Detroit- Where will someone be able to find your merchandise and purchase it ? 
Josh Kassabian- "Currently our merch is only available through shows we  support and attend. Our website is being constructed ( and you will be able to shop online very soon."

Hip In Detroit- What charities will you be donating to? 
Joe Kassabian- "National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. This charity is near and dear to me because I'm a veteran myself and I understand the horrible uphill struggle many vets face once they leave their service. We just want them to know that while the government may forget their sacrifices, we never will."

Hip In Detroit- Tell us about the patch that will be on the shoulder of your shirts? 
Josh Kassabian- "The patch is the image of the flag for the veterans and positive words through the stripes for our support of suicide awareness. These will be placed on the same shoulder the military
represents the flag. The patch represents our causes not just by image, but by placement. We support two separate causes that very much go hand in hand with each other on a very normal basis."


Hip In Detroit- Is it true that you are screen printing all these items yourself? 
Josh Kassabian- "All Shirts, patches and future apparel is done by us personally. Stickers and buttons we get from other small businesses. We also have started talking with other people interested in getting
apparel screen printed, not just because of our reasonable cost but because we donate a percentage of all profit to these organizations. Meaning whether you support by purchasing our merchandise or your
business has us make your shirts, you’re donating and helping these causes with us."

Hip In Detroit- How much do shirts, stickers and patches cost? 
Josh Kassabian- "Depending on the design of shirt, most are averaging between $12.00 - $15.00 a shirt. Stickers are handed out with every shirt purchase, or individually purchased for $.50 and patches are running $2.00."

Hip In Detroit- How has suicide affected your life personally? 
Joe Kassabian- "Our family has been heavily impacted by suicide, and in a lot of ways has shaped and formed us into who we are today." 
Josh Kassabian- "I agree with Joe. Our family has had a lot of personal upset because of choices made reflecting this topic, but we have also had many friends, even recently make similar, hurtful choices. We have also struggled ourselves with this before and know where people are coming from in dark times."

Hip In Detroit- What advice do you have for someone that is thinking about taking their own life? 
Joe Kassabian- "Talk to someone. A friend, a family member, call the National Suicide Prevention Line 1-800-273-8255, if you don't want to do that call me or find me on Facebook, you're never alone." 
Josh Kassabian- "I would also add that if your not the one struggling with these thoughts you need to remember to tell your friends on a normal basis you are there for them. Tell them how much you really do care about them and love them, appreciate them. Your friends need you. Let them know you need them too."

Hip In Detroit- Where do you see Inked In Love in the next year? Next five years? 
Josh Kassabian- "In the next year or two we are hoping to expand and be able to offer not only more merchandise, but more help for these organizations. Set up events, and hopefully make larger donations every year for these causes, not just in money but time. Money is always needed but you would be surprised how much your presence means."

Hip In Detroit- What are your favorite local bands, bars, and restaurants? 
Josh Kassabian and Joe Kassabian-
-BARS: The Crofoot (Pontiac, Michigan), St. Andrew's (Detroit, MI), Royal Oak Music Theatre (Royal Oak, MI)
-BANDS: Squid The Whale, Citizen Smile, Shapes And Colors


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