Interview with Cory Higgins

It has been amazing to see small businesses and artists utilize their resources and unique talents to help victims of the recent hurricane Sandy. Homes have been destroyed, businesses are struggling to re-open and people are still in great need. So now it’s time to get creative. We heard about Jetty’s Unite & Rebuild t-shirts and asked co-owner Cory Higgins to share a few details about the shirt, why Jetty decided to do this and what makes the New Jersey shoreline so special. Included within the interview are mock-ups of the t-shirt as well as a video of the team members hard at work hand-pressing each and every shirt. You can get more detail and place an order here: http://localhost:8888/store/111380726 

We’ve been following your hurricane Sandy relief efforts and have been amazed at the success of your Unite & Rebuild t-shirt sales. Was it a tough decision for Jetty to do something like this? Did Jetty experience damage to any facilities?

It didn’t take any thought at all.  We were talking about it during the storm as photos and reports were coming in about how bad it was. Its a privilege to be able to help the people and communities that have been there to support us from the beginning.  Luckily there was no damage to our facilities so we were able to get back in and get to work immediately.

How are you identifying those who receive the funds from the t-shirt sales? Is there a registry of people who need help in the area?

It’s a top priority for us that the funds reach real people in need.  By working with 501 (C)3 charitable organizations, fire departments, and other first response teams, we’re able to assist the recovery effort directly.

How long will you be running this t-shirt relief effort?

Much of the fallout from the storm is still untold. People are just starting to get back to the islands to evaluate their properties and businesses. Despite these uncertainties, we realize the relief effort is going to be a long term campaign. We are going to continue our fundraising efforts for as long as they carry significant momentum. But regardless of our shirt sales, we’re in it for the long haul. We ourselves are now displaced from our homes, along with our family, friends, and neighbors. Our community has supported us for a decade, and now it’s our turn.

How is the vibe out there? Are people keeping spirits up, or is there a sense of defeat hanging in the air?

The vibe has been amazing.  In pursuit of the big picture, strangers are helping strangers, to cleanup and rebuild their communities.  The surf industry has been especially unified with support coming from across the country to help our coastal communities.  Its incredible to be a part of it and feel the love coming from everyone.  

I remember last year there was a similar hurricane warning for the east coast, but it didn’t turn out to be as dangerous as had been predicted. This one seems to have lived up to expectations, but it can be hard to know how far to go in preparing for the worst. Is there one thing you personally wish you had done differently in preparing for this storm?

Yea we all wish we had brought more stuff with us off the island when we evacuated.  Because of last year’s storm not being as bad as predicted like you said, we all thought worst case scenario we’d be away from our homes for 2-3 days.  Its so hard to predict just how bad its going to be, we’re just glad we all did evacuate and everyone is safe.

Being on the west coast, many of us may not be familiar with surfing the New Jersey section of the Atlantic ocean. What are the waves usually like? How’s the culture out there? 

We have a great culture here on the East coast, though you are right, many people aren’t familiar with it.  The surfers are hard workers by trade, many are blue collar, and enjoy being the coastal underdog with empty winter lineups.   Jersey surf is overall very under-rated.  It has its flat spells, but when it goes off its some of the most steep, fast, bowling, best waves on the east coast.

Purchase t-shirts here: http://localhost:8888/store/111380726 

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