R/GA Creatives Spearhead Merch Aid Initiative

Connecting artists and designers with small businesses that have unexpectedly shuttered due to COVID-19

New York, NY, April 6, 2020 – The financial side-effects of COVID-19 are staggering and the virus is crippling thousands of small businesses—the anchors of our vibrant, unique communities. Thankfully, locals want to help, evidenced by an outpouring of calls to buy merch or gift cards if a business sells them. The problem is that many small businesses don’t have the design resources or knowledge to create this merchandise (or any of the additional marketing materials they need during this time).

R/GA Senior Copywriter Chloe Saintlian and Associate Creative Directors Zack Roif and Matt Woodward recognized this and spearheaded Merch Aid: an initiative connecting established and upcoming artists and designers with small brick-and-mortar businesses that have unexpectedly shuttered due to COVID-19. The initiative allows creatives to illustrate designs for businesses; places them on t-shirts and tote bags; and sells them on the Merch Aid website, with all proceeds going back to the businesses, generating a new revenue stream to cover overhead costs and employees. 

The platform launches today, April 6 at 2pm ET on getmerchaid.com featuring the following collaborations between designers and NYC small businesses:

  • Debbie Millman + Astoria Booksellers – Astoria
  • Nicholas Heller (New York Nico) + Astor Place Hairstylists – East Village
  • Hamish Smyth + Harlem Doggie Day Spa – Harlem 
  • Sara Meadows + Keg & Lantern Brewing Co – Greenpoint 
  • Ilya Milstein + New Kam Hing – Chinatown
  • Patrick Edell + Lighthouse – Williamsburg

After today’s launch, Merch Aid will drop new daily collaborations and the platform will open up to the design world at large, growing the impact and hopefully keeping beloved local merchants afloat.