More than just a cool shirt.
My good family friend, John Pirayo, who’s a huge extreme sports nut (motorcycles, ATVs, motor bikes, mountain bikes, speed boating, you name it), designed the ultimate high-quality sports shirt 15 years ago.
A little more about John—he’s an all-american dude who loves God, his heritage, Corvettes, horsepower, camping, grillin’, speed boating, and helping his people. John is an Assyrian American who moved to Yonkers, NY by himself from Iran at the tender age of 16. He came here with nothing, and lived with his aunt for 3 months before moving to the Christian run YMCA for $24 a week. When he couldn’t pay the rent, he slept in the back seat of his 65’ Chevy. By the grace of God, he made some good decisions in his early years, worked his ass off, and eventually realized his American dream. By following solid principles, he built a good foundation in his young adult life before marrying a strong and beautiful woman named, Ferial. They had two wonderful boys, Matthew and Anthony.
John’s a man’s man with a heart of pure gold.
Back to the cool shirts.
John and his cousins Richard (the Fireman/Paramedic) and Jonny (aka “The Pilot”), and his brother Charlie, would go on epic biking adventures in Mexico every year. John noticed that other biker squads would sport cool jerseys that represented their culture or team. John said, “We need something to represent us!” ... so he came up with the idea to create really slick athletic shirts using amazing quality fabric and creative elements from the boldly designed Assyrian flag. He had a certain vision of what the shirts should look and feel like. His cousins helped him with the design because that’s their talent, and John hunted down the right place to get them made. He couldn’t find a place to create the shirts at the top-quality that he saw in his head until his creative cousin Richard introduced him to Hot Shoppe Designs, located in Orange County, CA. These guys are the cream of the crop. All of John’s famous athlete shirts have been produced there since.
Made in the U.S.A baby!
What began as a fun shirt for his little biking group, became a pretty big deal. His family and friends kept begging him to create shirts for them. Today there is global demand for the shirts as Assyrians around the world are asking for them. Since the clothing is such high quality, there is a large upfront cost to get them made. John put down 11k from his own pocket to produce the first big run of shirts. Later, he convinced many of his family members and close friends to donate money, he raised 12k to produce more shirts. He recently used 14k from past shirt sales to produce another big run of shirts. John’s in the process of creating new styles too, like soccer jerseys and tank tops.
Assyrians in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and other Middle Eastern regions, have been displaced and suffer from persecution for practicing their Christian faith. As a result, there’s a great financial need to help them get on their feet.
This is where John’s cool shirts get much cooler.
100% of the profits from shirt sales (donations) get sent to Assyrians in need, worldwide. John sells his one-of-a-kind shirts at various Assyrian conventions and events year-round. He will be at the 49th Annual AUOC State Convention in Turlock, CA this weekend so be sure to look out for his booth and support the great cause! Next he’ll be at the Assyrian Food Festival in Los Angeles, CA on June 11th and 12th. Finally, he’ll be at the Assyrian National Convention in Scottsdale, AZ on Labor Day weekend. John’s extremely passionate about raising money for his fellow Assyrians who are experiencing very hard times. He’s even donated many shirts to young Assyrian activist teams who travel to the Middle East sporting John’s shirts and helping out on the ground. John’s stretch goal is to raise 100k in shirt sales by next year to send overseas to aid various needs.
John wanted unique designs for his booth signs/banners. I designed them using real images from around-the-world which express the authentic grassroots effort. My work was done pro bono to help with the cause. AB Press did the printing for free, too.
Please consider helping out in other ways, too. Here are some great Assyrian organizations that are making a real difference:
- The Assyrian Aid Society of America | http://www.assyrianaid.org/
- Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organization | https://www.theacero.org/
- The United Assyrian Appeal | https://unitedassyrianappeal.org/
- Assyrian Christians | http://www.assyrianchristians.com/donate.htm