Like some other progressive political web sites, we have been selling progressive political goods through Cafe Press for the last few years. Unlike many other sites, we have been committed to offering only those shirts sold by CafePress that are made without sweatshop labor. As we have pointed out in the past, too many online stores claiming to be progressive have actually been selling clothing made with sweatshop conditions in outsourced factories working outside the labor laws of the United States. These sites will complain about Wal-Mart on the one hand, and then themselves engage in exactly the kind of unethical commercial practices that Wal-Mart has become infamous for.
There’s some money to be made in that kind of business, but that’s not our way of doing things.
What we will do is sell the ethically manufactured clothes that CafePress sponsors. Through CafePress, we sell t-shirts, tank tops, and long sleeved shirts made by American Apparel, which are all made in the United States in factories where workers are treated with dignity. The shirts you buy through us in our Irregular Goods store are made by workers who are given fair wages and good benefits. That means we can’t offer the kind of bargain basement prices that Wal-Mart provides, but we’re betting that progressives are willing to pay a dollar or two more per shirt for the peace of mind that they’re part of the solution, not part of the problem. Besides, if we all bought more merchandise made under fair labor conditions, the economy would prosper, with the market flush with more consumer dollars from workers paid enough to buy ethical goods themselves.
Instead of a race to the bottom, we’re hoping to be part of a long American climb back up out of the depths of cheap discount junk made in outsourced factories.
In that spirit, we are currently working on opening a new store outside of the CafePress system in which we will be selling a wider variety of ethically-made clothing from American Apparel than we have been able to offer before. Check back with us at the beginning of February and we’ll tell you more about that development.
For the time being, we are announcing the opening of three new CafePress shops specifically devoted to selling only American-made, sweatshop-free clothes.
As with all our CafePress shops, 20 percent of the profit we make from the sales will be donated to progressive causes