By Myra St. Clair Baldwin
Update: We were going to go ahead and sell logo t-shirts as “essential products” but I changed my mind, and told my business partners that I just couldn’t do it. It just feels so wrong. I’m really frustrated with out was-going-to-be supplier. They had blank t-shirts available that were made in the U.S., however t-shirts printed with our logo would be printed outside of the U.S. with probably cheap labor. Even if clothing is made in the U.S. one has to do their research to make sure they’re not made with super-cheap prison labor, which is essentially slave wages. I also am frustrated with the supplier because they offer so-called eco-friendly products that are manufactured abroad using cheap labor and are shipped miles and miles around the globe, from the farming & picking of fibers and/or extraction & production of synthetic fibers to the weaving of fabrics, to the shipment abroad to where they are printed, then to where they are held in a warehouse for delivery, to the customer’s home to where they are finally shipped. If one considers all the gas & pollution that goes into shipping these products, then one can’t really consider them eco-friendly. I’m also frustrated with mass production and think people need to buy less new shit and more used items. The would-be supplier makes some items in the U.S. but not utilizing eco-friendly materials, so we’re stuck with a choice between the two. Another thing – they don’t have the option of Union-made & union-printed clothing. Additionally, if you manage to get clothes that are made from truly eco-friendly materials sourced locally using union-made labor & printing and are sold in a brick & mortar store (because shopping to individual addresses is bad for the environment), then you end up with a product that only a rich person can afford. Of course, the masses really need to be buying mostly used. We really need to transition to a primarily resale-based economy. The system we have is totally unsustainable and it leaves it up to the free market and free market consumers to make their own individual choices about what to produce and what to buy, when we’re faced with detrimental resource depletion and climate change that are an imminent danger to humans and other life on earth.
by Myra Sue St. Clair Baldwin
There are general considerations that sellers are supposedly supposed to make when deciding how to price stuff. Competition is supposed to be a biggie, that or going after a niche market. I say to hell with competitive pricing! How cheap SHOULD clothes be? Charging less just leads to more mass production, shipment of goods around the world, mass consumerism, and poor working conditions – including wage slavery, debt slavery, and downright slavery.
I grew up poor, so really I know what it’s like to not be able to afford something that others can. I blame society for this – for teaching us to want so much.
People should be encouraged to wear their clothes until they’re worn out, and to have their clothes patched and hemmed. The price for mending seems expensive because we’re so conditioned to cheap, sweatshop labor & underpaid cotton pickers. But poor people like me can buy a lot of our clothes used (which is more sustainable). Or we can save up for high quality clothes and wear them longer. We need of course to wear undergarments, and our undergarments should be sustainable too, and most of us don’t want to wear used underwear! Rich people should pay for our high-quality organic undergarments. We can call it “The Sustainable Underwear Bill”! Really, we should abolish poverty and wealth all together and work towards everyone having sustainable clothes, from head to toe. We need to produce, ship, and consume on a much lesser scale. But in the meantime, let’s make do with what we’ve got and scrap mass consumerism!
I’m trying to decide how much to charge for our promotional shirts, and I think $21 plus tax and shipping for t-shirts made & printed in the USA will be a good deal, and will let us make some money without selling lots and lots of t-shirts. I’d rather us think small and sell small and stand up tall!
I’m waiting to hear back from my business partners on this matter. We won’t be selling any of our nonessential products at all until this COVID-19 crisis is over because delivering packages puts the lives of others at risk and for the most part people can live with the clothes they already have. Unless they’re gaining weight, like me, or losing weight. I guess when I have to get clothes that fit then I’ll absolutely do that. But I think there’s plenty of clothing dealers out there, that the world isn’t in absolute need of our logo t-shirts. The world can wait!
I heard back from my co-founders and they agreed that $21 was a good base-line price for a t-shirt made in the U.S.A. and that we shouldn’t go any lower than that. Unfortunately our supplier doesn’t sell clothes that are BOTH sustainable and made in the U.S.A. (or preferably union-made). We’re just starting out, so the supplier we’re using makes good business sense because we don’t have to buy a whole inventory of products, our supplier will do the shipping for us, and there are no up-front costs.
If you want to shop sustainably, you might want to consider buying at least half of your clothes from a brick & mortar thrift store in your area. Other than that, be choosy who you shop from; make sure that the branded clothing you wear represents what you really believe in and want to support, and wear your clothes till they’re rags & use the rags for cleaning. I hope you will wear our t-shirts with pride, knowing that we stand with leftists worldwide for a better future tomorrow.