The Big Picture for Our Side Step into T-shirts
The bigger trail video project we’re working on has always been a good idea that could be a real benefit to us and others as well as a long shot (with respect to getting the word out and getting it funded). We’re so ready to do that. There’s the matter of paying for everything though. We’re not ready for the successful funding campaign that has to come first.
We’re intentionally making the video project low impact, so when originally considering supporter rewards for the video project, we considered a t-shirt, but decided to make all the rewards digital. There were several reasons. First, because “no reward” support levels are often close to the same price point as “t-shirt reward level” support options. That can cause a supporter to think “Well, it’s basically free, I might as well go ahead and get the shirt.” When a person chooses a shirt that way, they aren’t necessarily that interested in wearing it. It may go straight to a thrift store, or worse, it might even get round filed before it ever gets worn, the worst form of Fast Fashion. Fast Fashion has big environmental and human costs so we didn’t want to offer clothing that might not be used.
On top of that, the shirt is never actually free. There’s a real cost of production. For every t-shirt reward the project has a real monetary cost and needs more supporters to meet the project budget, which produces even more t-shirts that may never be worn.
But when life changed, we came to the idea of doing a t-shirt as it’s own project, one that people would buy because they wanted to wear it.
When Russ lost his job, he broke the news with the joke that he’d have plenty of time to work on the project. In truth, the newfound freedom could be a potential stroke of serendipity that would make everything work out for the best, and things may still work out that way, they just haven’t yet.
The job loss blindsided Russ, and we needed to reassess personal threats and potentials to see how much actual freedom we had for the project in stress mode. We went in a few directions all at once without knowing what to prioritize. It doesn’t help that I’m so overdue to be earning something. Ongoing family obligations, the pandemic and the project have tacked years on to what would have otherwise been a short time away from paid work for me. I don’t have any regrets about choosing family, or pursuing the project, but the financial downside to those choices has been life changing. I’m not excited about all of the changes those choices brought.
As much as I need focus, direction, progress and movement right now, Russ has needed time. It’s just a really good thing that we love each other because we’re not in the same place and it feels like love is all we have right now. We keep recommitting to the project, but the challenge is how to get there from here without having epic failure rock our world.
Part of our reassessment has been to answer the question “Would the sale of a T-shirt ease the financial pain, or just delay the project?” With all the competing time obligations and the pressure to move forward with the project itself, we’re already swamped. But the answer seems to be that we should give it a shot… if we do it right.
As a frequent thrift store shopper, I see Kickstarter rewards in Atlanta area thrift stores from time to time. Don’t get me wrong. Just because a reward made it there doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t a worthy item. But, if a lot of any given item makes it into the mega dumpster out back, that, of course, would be a different story.
We’re willing to offer T-shirts as a stand alone project because people wear them. People wear them a lot, and T-shirts are only fast fashion if they have a short life cycle. Even if they make it to the thrift store fairly soon they’re only a waste of resources if nobody ever wears them. So we’ll do our best to create and offer a t-shirt that people will want to wear and use, responsibly sourced shirts that last well and can be recycled or up cycled.
I can’t wait till we have them ready to show you! They’re going to be great!