The exact reactions vary, but the sentiment is usually the same — "How dare you?" "Who do you think you are?" "What's your problem with Sarasota?"
These are hardly the reactions most business owners want to hear from customers, but for Lauren Perchitti and Joshua Beadle, founders of the new clothing line, For Charity and Karma in SRQ, they welcome the reactions; it gives them a chance to explain themselves.
Their clothing line, which bears the intentionally provocative abbreviation, "FCK SRQ" is meant to be attention-grabbing, but it's for a good purpose, they say.
FCK SRQ, as the name implies, was founded on charity. A portion of each shirt sale benefits a nonprofit organization of the customer's choice: The Humane Society, the Community AIDS Network or women's rights organizations. And for two young people competing for attention in a city with such a heavily saturated philanthropic culture, a little shock value goes a long way.
"We actually love Sarasota," says Beadle. "That's why we want to do something to give back. And this was a fun, attention-grabbing way to do it. I think it will help appeal to a younger crowd, too."
Beadle and Perchitti came up with the idea after brainstorming humorous or in-your-face shirt phrases with local ties, and they liked the idea of combining sarcasm with philanthropy. Perchitti says the duo hopes to continue to expand their brand, eventually offering more shirts, color options and other merchandise, but the flagship shirt, "FCK SRQ" will always have charitable ties.
Despite the initial reactions, Perchitti says people are quick to come around after they learn the full story.
"It's a fun way to support Sarasota, but even if you are that guy who hates his city and buys the shirt to express that, you still have to choose which charity you're going to support with your hate," says Beadle, with a laugh. "It's a win-win."