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September 26, 2012

Local designer’s inspirational shirts a ‘good’ fit

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

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Local designer’s inspirational shirts a ‘good’ fit
Julie Geisinger, owner of free to be yoga tees, models her latest creation, the Charitee. A portion of proceeds from the Charitee will benefit polar bear rescue efforts.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — For many people, practicing yoga is a way to relax. For one Bloomfield Hills resident, it’s also a way to get inspired.

“I had taken some time off (work) and I had gotten really into yoga. One day during a Downward-Facing Dog I came up with this idea of designing T-shirts,” said Julie Geisinger.

That was two years ago, and since then Geisinger’s little idea has morphed into free to be yoga tees, a Michigan company that makes apparel with unique sayings and designs. The earth-friendly, USA-made T-shirts come in a variety of styles and colors made from soft, sustainable fabrics.

While Geisinger said she began designing the shirts with yoga practitioners in mind, she said they are great to wear anytime.

“They’re something that you don’t necessarily need to wear during class, but off the mat, too. They’ve got inspirational quotes, and they’re super soft, so they’re good for running errands, working out, whatever.”

Recently, Geisinger announced the debut of a special line of free to be yoga tees called Charitee. The shirts feature a new design with a polar bear and a French proverb: “live in hope.” A portion of the sales from Charitee will be donated to various nonprofit organizations aimed at helping polar bears amidst the changing climate that threatens their habitats.

“I love the concept of not just having a retail component where you’re making all this money. I wanted it to do some good. I want this to be a platform for other things, like environmental issues, to hopefully create some change in a fun way.”

Slowly but surely, Geisinger’s message of change is catching on with customers. The full line of shirts can be purchased online, in various yoga studios around metro Detroit and at the Art-Is-In Market at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi.

Art-Is-In Market owner Debbie Lapratt said she expects the shirts to be a big hit in the coming holiday shopping season.

“They sell pretty well. It always takes a while for an artist to start gaining momentum, but she’s doing pretty well,” said Lapratt, who opened the store seven years ago as a year-long art show so customers could find locally made art wares in seasons when the shows are lacking.

Geisinger said she plans to donate at least $1 from the sale of each shirt to polar bear-centered charities, choosing a different organization each month to receive the funds. For more information, visit www.freetobeyogatees.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.