The story of Good Question Ink begins with a piece of my story. My name is Ben and I am the founder of Good Question Ink. To try and make this story as simple as possible I broke it down into parts.
I. The Adventures
III. The T-Shirts
For many college students around the world their academic career often culminates in a final thesis. Good Question Ink was my culmination (I’m not a thesis kind of guy).
My name is Ben and I am the founder of Good Question Ink. My college experience was a little bit…adventurous. I lived in five states over four years. I owned six different vehicles(all crappy) over four years. I learned on many different fronts. It was nontraditional, but I would not have wanted it any other way. I ended up graduating from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a self-designed major titled “Social Change and Community Engagement” (big sigh of relief from my parents).
Through these adventures, out of the classroom and in, I got to truly engage with America. I witnessed, discussed, and lived the good, the bad, the magical, and the terrifying. My conclusion; people are good. We all have flaws (I have PLENTY), but everyone has some piece of them that wants the world to be better.
I discovered that communication, relationships, and communities are a vital piece in making change. We live in a world so connected, yet at the same time, so distant. It is becoming easier and easier to do everything you need to do, and not talk to one person. I’m all about texting and tweeting, but they can't replace talking. You can’t build or strengthen a community through a 4G network.
The questions all started with summer camp. In college I spent my summers working at a summer camp for kids with chronic and life threatening illnesses. It is an incredible, magical place. If only more of the world was like camp.
A day at camp winds down with the one of my favorite thing ever, Cabin Chat. After all the campers brush teeth, throw on PJ’s, and hop on their bunks, the lights are turned off and a candle is lit in the center of the room. This marks the beginning of cabin chat, a respected tradition for countless summers. Once everyone is set, a question is posed to the group.
No one has to answer. No one is allowed to respond to other peoples answers. What happens in Cabin Chat stays in Cabin Chat. These are the three rules of Cabin Chat.
The questions can spark fun, thoughtful, hilarious, creative, hopeful, inspiring, heartbreaking, snicker provoking, and beautiful responses to list a few.
While many aspects of camp help create and strengthen community, I have found that Cabin Chat is consistently the most powerful community builder. It creates a space where questions are used to their fullest potential. A space where talking and connecting exists. A space where life feels incredibly real and powerful.
My love of questions came from cabin chat. I realized how much power a question can have. The things people can and will say if given a chance is incredible. Questions open the door to thought and let those thoughts be spoken.
I think that my love for the good ole' t-shirt has probably existed...forever. You throw one on and you're good to go. Simple, stylish, and comfortable!
The summer of 2010 is the first time I flirted with the idea of making my own shirts. I was working at camp and wanted to celebrate an important inspiration for our staff that summer. That inspiration was a giant, 35ft blow up gorilla. We let "Kong" rise more that summer than ever before. To us, Kong meant something and somehow we connected it to the work we were doing. I decided that we needed to pay tribute. The only tribute that felt adequate was to permanently put Kong on t-shirts. This would allow us to proudly wear a kong tribute, for many days in the years to come. I ended up creating a stencil of a gorilla using a piece of plastic and made the shirts. They weren't my finest work but they sparked an interest. Those shirts also opened my eyes to the power of the t-shirt.
I have tried to find statistics on t-shirts and their prevalence in the world but had no luck. I came up with my own statistics. There are A TON of t-shirts in the world. More than could ever be counted. And the reason for that is... people love them.
Because of this universal love, I firmly believe that the potential of the t-shirt is ridiculously huge. It is with this belief that I realized that the best way to get questions out on the front lines, for people to engage with, is to print them on shirts for all to wear and all to see.
This is where the beginning story ends and the next chapter is written. Join Good Question Ink in creating this new chapter!