• College Alumnus Uses Apparel Business to Promote Tolerance


In 2006, when Jonathan Mendez, a Quincy resident and recent Suffolk graduate, received a sketch of his childhood home from his sister, Olivia Chamberland, he didn’t think that the kind gesture would lead anywhere in particular. But with a solid education and a positive message, the siblings have developed a fledgling apparel company that they hope to expand into a thriving business.

The siblings used the sketch as inspiration. The feeling of love the two shared for one another and for the home in which they grew up propelled them. “Love has no boundaries, no borders, no restrictions,” Mendez says. “It is a universal language expressed in every vernacular. Love breaks the barriers of our lives. Love is what connects us; it is what unites us.”  Mendez came up with a line of artwork featuring the word “love” creatively displayed in an array of languages from Hindi to Polish, under the label “It Says Love.”  The original design, in English, is an ambigram, a word or image that can be read from multiple angles in the same way.

Mendez majored in Government and International Affairs at Suffolk’s College of Arts and Sciences, and the time he spent learning about the economy and human condition of other countries fostered his respect for other cultures- and the way they show their love to one another.

Zamforia Industries, the apparel company’s official title, sells twelve different t-shirt designs on its website, and at local arts fairs and community events. 

The siblings’ business is thriving, but even in these early stages, Mendez and Chamberland are “sharing the love.”  Each year, the two have donated a portion of their earnings to other causes.  They invite local groups to e-mail them stories that highlight why they have the spirit of Zamforia, or love, and the siblings choose a recipient from among the candidates.  The donation from the first half of this year went to support the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign. 

Mendez hopes to some day see his shirts sold in shops and boutiques, but is adamant that the intent of his design remains true: With love, all things are possible.

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