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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

WillPower expands reach outside UA

Tim+W.+Glass+%2F+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0A%28From+left+to+right%29+Jimmy+Hoselton%2C+Lorenzo+Torriero%2C+Sami+Zarifi%2C+TJ+McCauley.+Zarifi%2C+a+civil+engineering+senior%2C+displays+the+current+WillPower+clothing+line+with+the+WillPower+team+at+the+UofA+Bookstore+on+Monday%2C+Feb.+6%2C+2012.++Zarifi+started+WillPower%2C+which+is+now+a+UA+club%2C+in+memory+of+his+brother+William+Zarifi+who+died+of+brain+cancer+about+two+years+ago.++The+club+is+working+on+becoming+a+non-profit+company+and+hopes+to+create+a+lifestyle+movement.++Wearing+a+movement+would+be+the+coolest+way+to+have+the+movement+spread%2C+says+Zarifi.%0A%0A
Tim W. Glass
Tim W. Glass / Daily Wildcat (From left to right) Jimmy Hoselton, Lorenzo Torriero, Sami Zarifi, TJ McCauley. Zarifi, a civil engineering senior, displays the current WillPower clothing line with the WillPower team at the UofA Bookstore on Monday, Feb. 6, 2012. Zarifi started WillPower, which is now a UA club, in memory of his brother William Zarifi who died of brain cancer about two years ago. The club is working on becoming a non-profit company and hopes to create a lifestyle movement. “Wearing a movement would be the coolest way to have the movement spread,” says Zarifi.

A UA clothing and fundraising club is expanding its efforts to help fund cancer research with a new spring clothing line and by selling merchandise in additional stores around the country.

Since launching its line in October 2011 at the UofA Bookstore, WillPower has sold more than 1,700 units of merchandise, including T-shirts and wristbands with the UA and WillPower logos.

“We sold out of everything,” said Jimmy Hoselton, a regional development senior and the sales director of WillPower. “We made a whole line, which will give more emphasis to male clothing because we sold a lot of female clothing last time.”

On Wednesday, the UA club will be introducing its spring line at the bookstore with new items that are of higher quality than their previous shipments, according to Sami Zarifi, a civil engineering senior and founder of WillPower.

“This new spring clothing coming out on Wednesday is going to show how our style has gone from basic, generic clothing you would wear to work out to much more trendy items,” Zarifi said. “I think we are really stepping up and everyone will be able to see how much is has progressed.”

Zarifi was inspired to create the club and clothing line after his older brother, Will Zarifi, died of brain cancer in 2008. A portion of the sales made will go to the Steele Children’s Research Center, part of the Diamond Children’s Medical Center at the University of Arizona Medical Center.

Baseball shirts, tank tops and thermal shirts are just a few of the new items being sold at the UA. They will also start appearing in clothing retail sections of campus bookstores around the country.

“I think this is really exciting,” Hoselton said. “We want to keep the movement strong here at the UA and eventually move into every college campus we can.”

With the intent to expand the brand to more than 80 college campuses by the end of the year, WillPower will be selling its spring line to eight of the Pacific 12 Conference schools including Arizona State University, University of Southern California and the University of Colorado this semester. The club’s merchandise distributor, Youth Monument, will be providing the licensing of these schools’ logos for the club to use. And just like its previous sales model, a percentage of the profit made from the clothing will go to cancer research.

“It’s going to be the same type of garments but with different schools’ colors and logos,” Zarifi said. “Expanding is something that we always knew would happen and we don’t want to spread ourselves too thin – but the thing about WillPower is the support we have to take it to the next level.”

The club gets a majority of its support from college and celebrity athletes who knew Will Zarifi or heard his story.

“He (Will Zarifi) was a basketball manager at USC when he was in college and in the time he was there he met a lot of amazing people,” Zarifi said. “And when he got sick he did a lot of outreach, which led to a lot more people finding out how motivated and inspirational he was.”

The club wants to use some of this star power to create a national movement by filming a commercial, which will air on ESPN and feature athletes including former UA basketball player Derrick Williams, Chicago Bulls basketball player Taj Gibson and retired Major League Baseball manager Tony La Russa.

After the commercial is finished the club will to pitch it to ESPN, who will air the footage for free as a donation to WillPower. The club is in the process of transitioning to a non-profit organization.

“We are really trying to push something that started off as a logo on a piece of paper to a real band that is a staple for Tucson and hopefully will come a staple in a lot of other college campuses,” Zarifi said.

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