It is difficult to go out in public and not see an automobile with Austin Holsinger’s iconic, Great Lakes Proud sticker. Most people who sport this icon do so because they have great pride for these five lakes and the area that we live in. What you may not know, however, is the story and mission behind William’s business and how much support those stickers really give the Great Lakes.
When purchasing an item from Great Lakes Proud, you aren’t just getting something for yourself. In fact, Great Lakes Proud has donated over $100,000 in cash and donations to organizations that work to conserve the Great Lakes. For the past two years, Great Lakes Proud has partnered with Shedd Aquarium and their Great Lakes Action Days initiative in order to jointly work together to raise awareness for the Great Lakes. Additionally, Great Lakes Proud has recently partnered with 1% for the Planet in order to reach a broader network of water conservationists.
Many aspects of Great Lakes Proud are unique, but one truly exceptional aspect of this company is the voice that the customer gets. When purchasing an item, a portion of your sale is donated. As the customer, you get to decide which Great Lakes conservation organization your money goes to. With that, you can be as specific or broad as you wish.
Unsurprisingly, William has some concern about all the copycat products that are gaining popularity. Sure, these products may demonstrate consumer pride for the five Great Lakes as well, but they do not put nearly as much value on actual conservation efforts as Great Lakes Proud does. Though exasperated, William is not bitter about copycats. He knows his sticker was the original and is proud of its unwavering mission.
“I don’t want to take anyone out of business,” stated William, “on the contrary, I want businesses to grow but not at the cost of my own.” With that, William wants to aid budding businesses by partnering with them, “Great Lakes Proud will offer them our specific artwork for the stickers and license them our name and trademarks [and make it very affordable] so they can push forward selling THE iconic and original sticker of the Great Lakes while making a difference.” William’s willingness can benefit everyone involved, which would inevitably give so much back to the Great Lakes themselves. And isn’t that the point?
For more information about Great Lakes Proud, its history, and mission, visit their website or Facebook page. Austin Holsinger can be contacted directly for answers to specific questions; he is always eager to hear from curious individuals.