merch vendors (was Re: starting the discussion: merchandising at Conservancy)

Tony Sebro tony at
Mon Feb 11 17:30:51 EST 2013

On 02/11/2013 04:37 PM, Amy Terlaga wrote:
> Tony--
> I've looked into Works in Progress NYC.  Their costs are competitive, they
> don't require a big minimum (36), and there's no setup fee as long as you
> hit that 36 minimum.  I'm going to recommend to the Evergreen Oversight
> Board that we use them.  They've also been very responsive via email (I
> asked them a bunch of questions today).
Good to hear it.  :)  Do you mind sharing the quote you received from 
WIP with the rest of the group?

Now, re: Bradley's suggestion that we prioritize sourcing shirts from 
vendors that don't use sweatshop labor:   I'm sure that WIP can print on 
whatever stock tee you want them to order.  I've personally used 
American Apparel as my stock tee of choice for projects unrelated to 
Conservancy in the past; however, I admit that I don't know much about 
their track record relating to sweatshop labor.  FWIW, their Wikipedia 
entry states that PETA uses them for their t-shirt campaigns, and that 
they pay above market in the US and no less than US minimum wage in China.

I've heard of, but never used, Alternative Apparel.  Their site has a 
nice write-up on Social Responsibility:

Here's an article I found with a quick Google search that provides an 
overview of various leading stock tee vendors (fit, quality, etc.).  The 
article does not include any information on each vendor's labor 
practices, however.

Let us know which tee vendor you select.

> Question for you:
> How do we deal with the collection of money?  What's easiest?  Not sure how
> to handle this part.  I do think I'd like to have people pay before I order
> them, but I guess I could take a person's word that they will pay if it
> meant not getting the order in on time.
That's going to depend on your community, and on what you want to see 
happen at the Evergreen conference.

If you're worried about gauging your community's demand, you could 
require that people pre-pay.  As I said, you're going to need to at 
least have a graphic mock-up of the shirt available in order to 
advertise the tee.  But, if you give everyone a deadline that gives you 
enough time to order the shirts in advance of your conference, then you 
could place the order based on who's submitted.  If you get less than 36 
advance orders, you'd have to take the risk of ordering the extra tees 
to meet WIP's minimum, and hope that you could sell your inventory at 
the conference to recoup Evergreen's costs.

Re: collecting payment:  Collecting cash on-site is always a pain; I'd 
discourage it.  I'll confirm with Bradley, but I'm sure that you could 
ask people to pay via PayPal or Google Checkout on-site and, if a note 
is made in the memo field, we'd be able to track those transactions 
properly on our end.  The same would go for advance orders.

Re: pricing:  when you set the price for your shirts, bear in mind the 
- do you want to add a little buffer to your price, as a means to raise 
additional funds for the project?  A few extra dollars on the purchase 
price could cover the cost for a few extra tees that your project may 
want to give to your conference's guest speakers, for example [1].
- as with all income-generating transactions that flow through 
Conservancy, a percentage of the proceeds will be treated as a donation 
to Conservancy.  So, don't forget to include that in your break-even 

Best, -Tony

[1] If you want to give any merchandise away, let Conservancy know in 
advance so that I can vet the proposed gift and make sure that it 
doesn't run afoul of any IRS rules.  It shouldn't be an issue for the 
most part, but in particular, I'll be watching out for gifts made to 
donors (since it'll impact how we treat their revenue), gifts made to 
certain people and not others (without logical justification), and gifts 
made to PLC members who participated in the vote to approve such a gift.

Tony Sebro, General Counsel, Software Freedom Conservancy
+1-212-461-3245 x11
tony at

More information about the merch mailing list