Laguna surf apparel company works to elevate children's charities

He’s the frontman and she’s the behind-the-scenes person. Together, Paul and AnnaMarie Porter left their careers in the corporate world to fulfill their dream of creating cool stuff to wear, with a meaning behind it.

“Working for a real estate auction company and being married with two kids, I had no life working 16 hours a day and traveling on the weekends,” Paul Porter said. “I missed out on a lot and decided the time was now to go out and do something for my soul, my family and the children who need help.”

The result is Elev8 Industries, a business founded in 2015 that combines surf-themed apparel with support for children’s charities.

Porter, a Laguna Beach resident who at 40 has been surfing more than half his life, conceptualized a board-sports line of clothing that would appeal to the surf crowd.

“I work with an artist who takes my vision and makes it come to life,” Porter said. “My 11-year-old son, Ethan, also comes up with ideas, like the recent surf/snow combo T-shirt, 8 Slap, that is part of our line.”

Elev8 is designed as an online store with internal marketing, which puts a greater share of money into children’s hands, according to Porter.

“We don’t want multiple stores with high overhead or to get involved in wholesaling,” he said. “The bottom line is to give back to children. It’s all about the kids.”

Online customers buying the surf, snow, skate and skimboard clothing can select a charitable cause at checkout to which a percentage of their purchase will be donated. The current listed organizations are Child Abuse Prevention Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County.

Through Elev8, the Porters partner with various children’s charities by donating money and products to support and sponsor events. Sponsoring professional athletes and hosting events also is part of the effort.

“It’s never about just handing over a check,” said AnnaMarie Porter, Paul’s wife and the operations partner who takes care of back-end stuff such as inventory, quality control and accounting. “It’s hands-on for us. It’s about doing things with kids so they can be involved and be exposed to something new.

“It’s … why the philosophy behind Elev8 speaks to everyone. If you play sports, you elevate the game. If you play the cello, you elevate your performance. We want to elevate a child’s voice.”

Lea Romo, director of development for the Anaheim-based Child Abuse Prevention Center, said she’s excited about the partnership with Elev8.

“They are a great company with great clothes and a passion to help kids,” Romo said. “They have not only helped sponsor our annual Not So Serious Golf Tournament but for the past two years, AnnaMarie has served on the planning committee.”

Romo said Elev8’s contribution has helped the center surpass its fundraising goals the past two years.

For more information about Elev8 Industries, visit goelev8.com.

Susan Hoffman is a contributor to Times Community News.

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