Photo by Milton Morris
Zac and Sara Painter
Ages: Zac, 31; Sara, 30
Living in: Greenville
Professional roles: Cofounders of loggerhead Apparel; Zac is also a management supervisor for Erwin Penland advertising and Sara is a work-at-home mom to Sullivan, 21 months
Retail partners: Loggerhead Apparel products are sold in 76 stores in 14 states; visit loggerheadapparel.com.
Donations To date: More than $50,000 given to sea turtle conservation programs, including the Sea Turtle Conservancy and the South Carolina Aquarium.
How do two 20-somethings launch a thriving manufacturing business and manage to tug at the purse strings and heartstrings of consumers nationwide?
For Zac and Sara Painter, it may have been inevitable.
It began simply, when the two Greenville advertising professionals started a database of South Carolina-made products and discovered a lack of locally made sportswear. Sensing a unique Palmetto State opportunity, they founded Loggerhead Apparel.
From the day the couple sold their first polo shirts in February 2011, their business has embraced parallel passions, rooted in their childhoods: boosting South Carolina’s textile industry and protecting the state’s loggerhead sea turtles.
“Both of these things are endangered species,” Zac says. “Unless we pay attention to both, they could both go away forever.”
Zac witnessed the decline of the textile industry in Spartanburg. His mill-village home was within view of the Phillips Fibers plant where his grandparents worked, and he remembers the plant closing during his high school years. Sara grew up near Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, home to the largest population of sea turtle nests north of Florida.
Loggerhead Apparel was founded on the Painters’ commitment to preserving what is special in South Carolina, and that has resonated with shoppers. All Loggerhead apparel is assembled in the Palmetto State, and 10 percent of every sale supports turtle conservation projects.
“We were genuinely trying to do something good from the very beginning—when that’s the case, people are more likely to cheer for you and help you,” Zac says.