Featured Artist: Samantha Ginsburg

November 28, 2011  

StubbyDog chats with the owner of The Cotton Factory about her pit bull designs, her dog and her volunteer work

Q: You own and operate The Cotton Factory. How long has The Cotton Factory been in business, and where do you find inspiration for your T-shirt designs?

A: My husband and I bought The Cotton Factory because we thought it would be something fun and something different from what we are accustomed to in our other jobs, both of which involve government agencies and pharmaceutical companies. The Cotton Factory was an existing company prior to our purchasing it about three years ago. We have been in the Friendship neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Penn., for two years now.

My educational background is actually in environmental policy and I have a master’s degree. After completing my master’s I got into law school. I wanted to help save the animals, to try and change things for the better. After getting into law school, I decided that I did not want to go. I decided to pursue other ventures and find other ways to make a difference. I am an animal advocate because they don’t have choices like people do.

I let the design team create new designs for our T-shirts however they like. If there is something specific I envision, I work with our awesome designers so they can help realize my tee ideas.

Q: Recently, you created some limited-edition T-shirts for Hello Bully, a Pittsburgh nonprofit that works to rehome, rehabilitate and repair the reputation of the pit bull terrier. Were people receptive to the project? What made you decide to want to raise funds and awareness for Hello Bully and pit bulls?

A: I wanted to find a way to make a difference, even when I was not hands on or directly involved in the rescue.

Through The Cotton Factory, I decided to contact Hello Bully to see if they would like The Cotton Factory to design T-shirts in order to raise awareness for their organization, as well as raise funds. I worked with my design team to create unique T-shirts with a positive message. Of course, I used my rescue pit bull, Tank-Girl, as a model! From there, I worked with the Hello Bully volunteers, who picked the final designs. We sold over 317 T-shirts! It was exciting to be part of the process.

At first, I think some of my staff were less than receptive, thinking it was just “another Samantha animal thing.” Soon, though, they embraced the project. Hello Bully was open and more than willing to work with me, and I wanted to support a local nonprofit that was really in need. Through that process I also became a volunteer with Hello Bully. I feel like I want to make a difference and to a lot of people, animals do not even matter. At the end of the day, it’s not what matters to other people that counts; it’s what matters to me.

Q: Why do you support pit bull rescue?

A: There’s just something really special about them, and it makes me sad that they are exploited, over-bred and abused. I try to be a responsible guardian, to help a creature that cannot otherwise help herself.

Q: Why did you decide to donate to StubbyDog through our art auction?

A: If you had to sum it up, my life motto is, “anything for the animals.” I also like the positive message StubbyDog brings. As a pit bull guardian, it’s nice to see an organization that focuses on the positive messages.

Q: Can you tell the StubbyDog community about your volunteer experiences?

I volunteered with Animal Friends, where we rescued two of our pit bulls, for seven years, walking dogs. I also volunteered at the Pittsburgh Zoo for three years. With that experience I did a lot of different things. I now manage a feral cat colony, where we rescued two of our four cats, and volunteer with Hello Bully to help change the perceptions about pit bulls. I really focus on that now.

The Cotton Factory also reaches out through our Facebook page by posting a homeless animal looking for their forever home each weekend.

Q: Please tell the StubbyDog community about super-model Tank-Girl.

A: Tank-Girl is the most special pit bull!! I adopted her when she was 9 weeks old. She is now almost 10 years old. She is a $10,000 dog! She has survived her second mast cell tumor (grade two). She is on allergy shots, she takes vitamins, and she is on a special diet. Tank-Girl had a lump on her head that started getting bigger. I called the vet, and when I took her in, she was diagnosed with cancer. She was immediately scheduled for surgery three days later. Due to the location of her cancer, the doctors had to realign one ear just to make sure they could get all the cancer. She was 6 years old then.

Then I noticed a lump on her ribs and received a diagnosis that it was again a mast cell. Unfortunately, the margins of cancer removal were not clear, but we manage through a special diet, and we really make sure she has a good quality of life.

Tank-girl has the biggest heart! Due to her ear realignment and other surgery scars, people assume her scars are negative and that she was in a fight. I really dislike that people assume that any pit bull with a scar was in a fight, and I try to work to dispel these negative perceptions.

Through the Hello Bully tee fundraiser we have connected with Stubby Dog and several other awesome rescue organizations across the country. The Cotton Factory is proud to support the efforts of these passionate people and the dogs they love and care so much about! We are looking forward to more limited-edition tee projects in the future.

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