Teach for America (TFA) sells apparel advertising its organization.
At the TFA online store, one can purchase a TFA t-shirt for $11.95 (plus shipping).
As I was browsing TFA Houston’s Facebook page, I noticed an ad for TFA t-shirt sales “with the proceeds going towards helping those in our network affected by [Hurricane] Harvey”:
In the face of challenges, we rise to the occasion. We volunteer. We roll up our sleeves and get to work. We give. We put on for our city. We are #HOUSTONSTRONG.
I was curious about how much money from each t-shirt sale would be designated for Harvey assistance, so I clicked on the TFA swag shop link.
TFA Houston’s Harvey fundraiser t-shirt is priced at $23.99 (plus shipping) and is accompanied with the following self-gratulating text:
In the face of challenges, we rise to the occasion. We volunteer. We roll up our sleeves and get to work. We give. We put on for our city. We are #HoustonStrong.
With the purchase of this shirt, you’ll be making a $10 donation to families affected by Harvey.
If one purchases a TFA t-shirt on the main TFA apparel website as opposed to on the TFA Houston site, one could donate the $12 difference to Harvey relief as opposed to overpaying TFA to send $10 in relief. (Note: Not an “if” for me to buy TFA wear.)
Or one could purchase the notably overpriced T-shirt from the newly devised TFA Houston swag shop site and end up giving TFA a $2 tip after it donates $10 for Harvey relief.
Indeed, TFA additionally benefits from your TFA Houston t-shirt purchase as follows:
TFA gets continued advertising via folks wearing its t-shirts.
TFA gets even more mileage for advertising that TFA is “donating” funds to Harvey.
TFA has used a crisis to slyly fund-raise for itself (i.e., remaining profit, including that $2 tip).
Just how much is the wholesale cost of a printed tee like the one TFA Houston is selling?
According to Custom Ink, if I order 500 color Gildan Ultra Cotton Tees (a good quality t-shirt) with a print on one side in 7 colors (like the TFA Houston t-shirt) and have them delivered to New York (zip 10004, TFA headquarters), each t-shirt would cost $6.76 (shipping free). (Note: Price is the same if shipped to TFA Houston, zip 77046, though shipping to Houston does not seem sensible given the post-Harvey devastation.)
If I increase the order to 2,000 shirts, the price per shirt decreases to $4.87.
At 5,000 shirts, the price becomes $4.14 per shirt.
TFA’s Harvey fundraiser is less altruism and more opportunism, especially as one considers setting the retail price.
T-shirt Magazine Online offers the following guidelines about retail t-shirt pricing:
COMMON T-SHIRT PRICES
Let’s take a look at some of the common price ranges for t-shirts:
This is usually found in new brands who plan on going with the ‘cheap shirts’ approach or brands who have been around for a while and can afford huge bulk orders that allow them to sell their t-shirts for low costs and still get a good profit.
The unofficial average price range for the majority of t-shirt brands. Most brands you come across will have their tees at this price range whether they’re new or have been around for a while. Great profit margin if you can afford huge orders, good enough margin if you place small wholesale orders.
… Typically, retailers will take your product and sell it for 2x as much as they bought it for. [Emphasis added.]
If I pay $6.76 per t-shirt and sell each for $23.99, I am making a killing.
If my cost per shirt drops below $5, it’s even more of a killing.
In donating $10 per price-hiked TFA Houston t-shirt, TFA is using Harvey as a fundraising opportunity for itself.
Either that, or TFA is selectively poor at getting a suitable wholesale price on its t-shirts.
Originally posted 09-09-17 at deutsch29.wordpress.com.
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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.