Teddy on why everyone should vote: “I vote, do you? I vote because I want to vote for president who help me, not hurt me. I get my own vote. My mom get to vote. We two people, get two votes. My voice important. Go vote. You need to vote.”
Teddy’s mom, Susan Fitzmaurice, says the award is a big deal because “Teddy’s Ts and Buttons are being recognized alongside major players in the Oakland County business community. This signals that he is being taken seriously as a social entrepreneur and community activist.”
Teddy Fitzmaurice’s business sells buttons and T-shirts. He makes them with his mom, Susan Fitzmaurice.
Their business is called Teddy’s Ts and Buttons, and their products offer quips for social issues and slogans with light-hearted fun.
There’s a T-shirt or button for everyone.
The buttons and shirts are adorned with sayings like I ❤ my life; Label jars…not people; Peace; Nothing about us without us; Meet me after work for some heavy petting, woof!; and Scars are tattoos with better stories.
Teddy, 31, got started in the T-shirt/button business after learning the trade from his friend, Dan.
“I like it a lot, so now I sell shirts and buttons I make,” Teddy said.
Teddy’s mom is his biggest support in the business.
“Everyone thought I was unbelievably naïve to think Teddy could have his own business,” Susan said. “He can’t read or do math — how can he have his own business? ”
Susan said she helped Teddy build a business, so he could do something that accommodates his “finely tuned needs.”
“Those are the very reasons he needed his own business,” she said.
On the job
Teddy says his mom’s job is to print the button designs and buy the shirts that are professionally silk screened with a design outline.
It’s Teddy’s job to put the buttons together. He also paints the colors on the shirts and presses the paint so it’s permanent.
The ideas for the shirts and buttons come from various places.
“Mom and me watch the news, and we talk a lot,” Teddy said. “Mom and me get angry or happy about the news, so we make buttons to talk about the issues.”
For example, they created a button in the memory of Ethan Saylor, a man with Down syndrome who refused to leave the movie theater and died after suffering from a neck cartilage fracture during a struggle with off-duty police officers.
Each year, they create a button in memory of Justin Dart, “the father of ADA.”
They also have a button that says, Love makes a family, which is in rainbow in support of people who are gay/lesbian.
“When he [Teddy] sells his buttons, it gives him the opportunity to talk about the messages,” Susan said. “Since not all the messages are about disability rights — people see Teddy as a person who advocates for others too.
“When he sells a button in support of gay families he demonstrates that people with disabilities are not just disabled — they are gay and straight, Christian, Muslim and Jewish, black, white, Native American, male and female — civil rights are for everyone. ”
Most recent, they designed a button for people with Down syndrome that says, Look up to me not down at me. Down Syndrome Pride.
Calling all leaders
Teddy likes to take his activism to those who will listen.
He has a scrapbook that is filled with newspaper clippings about his favorite politicians, like former President Bill Clinton, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Grandholm, former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy, former U.S. Senator Carl Levin and lots more.
One of his bunnies is even named Michelle Obama.
He shows his appreciation by sending them T-shirts, specifically the “I give my vote! Do you?”
Find Teddy’s Ts and Buttons at conferences across the nation, the farmer’s market in their hometown of Detroit, Mich., or online at TeddysTs.com.
CONGRATULATIONS to our friend Teddy Fitzmaurice, owner of Teddy’s Ts and Buttons! January 22, 2016, officials announced that Teddy was selected as the Top 40 Under 40 leaders in Oakland County, Detroit, Mich. A leader and an activist, Teddy fights for inclusion, respect and real jobs for people with disabilities. Each of his custom-made buttons and Ts reflect his passion.
ApostropheMagazine.com publishes a free weekly email newsletter that goes straight to the inbox of those who sign up. Within each email, you’ll receive a link to our most current story, plus hear about the latest happenings and subscription specials.
All you have to do is hit the newsletter Sign-Up button below and enter your name and email to start receiving ApostropheMagazine.com’s free weekly newsletter.