How Tipsy Elves Shared Its Success To Poor Children

It was a few weeks before Christmas in 2010 when Evan Mendelsohn and Nick Morton, two college friends in San Diego, found an opportunity to wear an Ugly Christmas Sweater. Ugly Christmas Sweater parties provide the opportunity to wear obscene sweaters and holiday-themed outfits and drink merrily. This has become an annual December tradition in their social set of young professionals.

It seemed more like Halloween than Christmas but it was strictly a vintage affair. All that they needed to do was to go to thrift shops or raid their grandma’s closet. There was no inventory available. Mendelsohn who is a lawyer and Morton who is a dentist decided to start on a side business they called Tipsy Elves. They built a website and designed their own brand of gaudy knitwear with traditional holiday imagery. Sales soared and by the end of 2011 they were able to ship 6,000 units.

Their business continued to boom with $6.5 million as their 2014 revenue. However, the pair recognized the sad Yuletide irony. Partygoers are willing to shell out $65 for a novelty sweater that they will wear one or twice for a Christmas party while poor children all over America will wake up on Christmas without any warm clothing. Mendelsohn realized that they have a responsibility and they should not forget about people who couldn’t enjoy Christmas.

Before the company’s second holiday season the lawyer and dentist decided a percentage from the proceeds of every sweater sold though their website so that they can use the money to manufacture hoodies for the children who have no warm clothing to wear for the holidays.

Since then Tipsy Elves have made it their responsibility to donate hoodies to children in need. They donated 5,000 hoodies and thousands of hats to charity groups like Children of Shelters in San Francisco, Save the Children and Standup to Cancer. There is also another 3,000 hoodies ordered for the 2015 holiday season.

Both Mendelsohn and Morton plan to set up a nonprofit to donate new clothes and services to poor children throughout the year. They thought it would be fun to special things for families and individuals more than just donating sweaters.