Last November, Facebook permanently banned advertisements from online retailer PatrioticMe without explaining how the retailer's patriotic clothing or ads violated its terms of service. But since the ban, PatrioticMe owner LeeAnn Miller wants America to know that the outpouring of support her business received has restored her faith in the American people.
"Patriotism is alive and well," Miller, 50, told TheBlaze in an interview Monday describing how her business turned around since she went public with her story.
PatrioticMe is a start-up online retailer that sells patriotic apparel: T-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, and hats in red, white, and blue colors or adorned with the American flag, among other products. A portion of every sale made on its website is donated to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a charity that provides mortgage-free smart homes to veterans or first responders with catastrophic injuries suffered in the line of duty or to gold star families with surviving spouses and young children.
Shortly after the 2020 election, Miller was notified by Facebook that advertisements for her products violated the company's terms of service and advertising policies. Subsequently, PatrioticMe was permanently banned from advertising on Facebook, causing PatrioticMe to lose about 94% of the traffic to its website. After TheBlaze reported Miller's story, she also told her story on Fox News to host Shannon Bream and to BlazeTV host Glenn Beck on the radio.
She said Monday that the response her business felt was immediate.
"The first day of that article, my phone was literally dinging nonstop," Miller told TheBlaze. "My phone started ringing off the hook with tremendous support from Americans all over the country. 'Keep doing what you're doing.' 'Don't give up.' 'We're praying for you.' 'This is great.' 'We love your products.'"
On the day TheBlaze's article was published, 2218 orders were placed on PatrioticMe's website. Since then, Miller said sales have steadily continued, with over 8,000 orders placed and her products being shipped nationwide.
But the support was more than just kind words or even increased sales. Miller said that the owner of a billboard on Interstate 75 in Tennessee contacted her and offered to put up a billboard for PatrioticMe free of charge. A graphic artist also got in touch with PatrioticMe and offered to design some new T-shirts for free as well. One customer even purchased $1,000 worth of t-shirts and asked that all of the proceeds be donated directly to Tunnel to Towers.
"If you look a lot at social media or watch a lot of the news, you know, it's all about how we're divided, and there's so much fighting back and forth among friends on Facebook," said Miller. "But I have been pleasantly overwhelmed with such support from so many patriotic people across the country. It's just been great. It's been heartwarming."
PatrioticMe is still banned from advertising on Facebook, but Miller said that because of her supporters she doesn't need Facebook's advertising and wouldn't pay for it even if she were allowed to.
"I'm very excited about what the future holds," Miller said. She enthusiastically thanked all of her customers for their support.
"I feel like I have thousands of new friends across the country. Let's just all keep patriotism and well."