Obama underwear, eewww, how about a puma pawprint instead?

The latest way for soap opera stars to show their support for Obama is to model Obama underwear.  I kid you not.  Does anyone really vote on the basis of what their favorite soap opera star wears? Or does anyone else think this is just gross?

Here’s something better that should make cat lovers and P.U.M.A. political junkies alike smile.  A big cat paw.  There’s Puma Paw boxer shorts, Puma Paw thong underwear, a spaghetti strap Puma Paw camisole and a Puma Paw trucker’s hat.


Posted in Election 2008, Hillary, Merchandise. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Comments Off on Obama underwear, eewww, how about a puma pawprint instead?

Who won the Democratic Debate–Edwards, Obama, or Hillary?

I’m still looking at the transcripts for the January 21, 2008 Democratic debates on CNN. Who won–John Edwards, Barack Obama, or Hilary Clinton?

Here are the links to the transcripts: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3.

And here are the T-shirts:

a T-shirt for Hillary for President,

a T-shirt for Edwards for president,

and a T-shirt for Obama for president.


Obama Tee Edwards Tee Hillary Tee

It will be interesting to see which shirt is the most popular.  Right now the Edwards bumper sticker is ahead of everything else.

Posted in Election 2008, Merchandise, Obama, Products, T-shirts. Comments Off on Who won the Democratic Debate–Edwards, Obama, or Hillary?

What is happening to Goodstorm?

A little over a year ago the internet fulfillment company Goodstorm announced it would start selling black t-shirts that were ethically produced in the United States. I was excited by the thought of offering tees that weren’t produced in sweatshops with child labor, so I started a little shop with some Arabic language tees.

Now Goodstorm has stopped paying out shopkeeper royalties. One blogger even reports he has never received a payment and can no longer access his shop in order to close it. He has discontinued working with Goodstorm and no longer recommends it. In fact, he even posts a link to the Better Business Bureau in case someone wants to file an official complaint.

I can still access my shop, but I have closed all the links to it. I have been promised more information about when I might receive a check within a few days. When a company has already received payment for items purchased, but can’t pay the royalty, that does not look good.

Still, people keep asking me for the products, especially the black “lan nesmit” (We will not be silenced) black t-shirt in Arabic.

I will try to work with Goodstorm a little longer.

In the meantime, I will be looking for another source for union or ethically produced black tees.

Posted in Arabic, Fair Trade, Merchandise, Products, T-shirts. Comments Off on What is happening to Goodstorm?

I heart Miami tees for Florida lovers

Kathryn wants to know if I can make her a tee shirt that says “I love Miami”. Why not? Here it is in the Arabic language. Available in fitted (shown), tank (shown), raglan, hoodie, and even dog. iheartmiami-fitted-tee.jpgiheartmiami-tank.jpg

If you’re in the mood for summer colors, check here.

I hope that’s something like what you were looking for, Kathryn.

Posted in Merchandise, Products, T-shirts. Comments Off on I heart Miami tees for Florida lovers

CafePress responds to Fair Trade concerns with form letter, maintains holding pattern

Last week I wrote about CafePress and their plan to discontinue a tee shirt made by American Apparel, a manufacturer known for its fair labor practices–and substitute a T-shirt made by an unknown source.

In a letter I wrote to them, I pointed out that I offer only sweatshop-free T-shirts. If I can’t determine the source of a shirt, I can’t offer it for sale. I also pointed out that the market for free trade coffee has grown by 75% in the last year. There is no reason the fair trade t-shirt market can’t grow as well.

Monday I received a reply from Director of Merchandise Cindy Clarke. Ms. Clarke writes:


I understand your concerns.  CafePress shopkeepers require a broad
spectrum of product choices to build their product assortments.  Since
our objective is to cover as many of those shopkeeper requirements as
possible, some of the items that we source are domestic and some are
sourced internationally.  Likewise, our product assortment covers both
branded and CafePress Exclusive Label items to meet the broad demand.
We leave it up to Shopkeepers to determine which products are
appropriate for their shops.  CafePress services as many Shopkeepers as
possible both legally and ethically.  

We have had several requests like yours for specific and detailed
information about our vendors and we are currently investigating how
when we can provide specific information about individual vendors.
more detailed information is available we will communicate out to the
CafePress community. 

Best wishes,

Cindy Clarke
Director of Merchandise

Well, that’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that CafePress can have something manufactured on the cheap in a sweatshop and hide it behind their “exclusive store label.” The good news is that they are “investigating how and when“, not if, they can provide information about vendors. That would give some real alternatives to those of us who don’t want to sell or wear a t-shirt, however cheap, made possible by inhumane working conditions and child labor.CafePress needs to hear from more people who buy or sell t-shirts. If you have not yet written to CafePress, can you take a couple minutes to drop them an email? If you have a blog, you might consider blogging about it as well.


Related posts:
Make a difference on World Fair Trade Day–contact CafePress
Is CafePress.com hiding sweatshops?


Make a difference on World Fair Trade Day–contact CafePress

So what have you done today to promote Fair Trade?

Here’s something you can do without leaving your keyboard. Contact CafePress.com and ask them to provide product information so that people who want to buy t-shirts that aren’t made in sweat shops can figure out what to buy.

Why is this important? Last year the National Labor Committee reported that companies like Walmart and Hanes use child labor to manufacture their oh so cheap products. Some CafePress products come from Hanes. Here is what work conditions were like for those children:

The children report being routinely slapped and beaten, sometimes falling down from exhaustion, forced to work 12 to 14 hours a day, even some all-night, 19- to 20-hour shifts, often seven days a week, for wages as low as 6 and a half cents an hour. The wages are so wretchedly low that many of the child workers get up at 5 a.m. each morning to brush their teeth using just their finger and ashes from the fire, since they cannot afford a toothbrush or toothpaste.

The workers say that if they could earn just 36 cents an hour, they could climb out of misery and into poverty, where they could live with a modicum of decency.

In the month of September, the children had just one day off, and before clothing shipments had to leave for the U.S., the workers were often kept at the factory 95 to 110 hours a week. After being forced to work a grueling all-night 19- to 20-hour shift, from 8 a.m. to 3 or 4 a.m. the following day, the children sleep on the factory floor for two or three hours before being woken to start their next shift at 8 a.m. that same morning.

The child workers are beaten for falling behind in their production goal, making mistakes or taking too long in the bathroom (which is filthy, lacking even toilet paper, soap or towels).

Thursday, Jim over at Irregular Times wrote a piece about CafePress replacing one of its ethically produced shirts manufactured by American Apparel, which is well-known for ethical labor practices, with a shirt of unknown source. He suggested people Email CafePress with their concerns, sending the email either to:

a) Cindy Clarke, Director of Merchandise for CafePress, at cclarke@cafepress.com.
b) smart07@cafepress.com — the special e-mail account which CafePress has specifically created to take further questions about new merchandise

Today Jim reports that he has received a communication from Ms. Clarke saying she has received “several requests like yours for specific and detailed information about our vendors”. Cafepress needs to hear from more people.

Whether you are a seller or a buyer, please take a few minutes to send a note to CafePress asking them to provide sourcing information about their vendors.

Here is my letter:

Ms. Clarke:

I am concerned about your recent announcement to substitute an unspecified brand of “junior jersey tee” for the “baby doll” tee manufactured by American Apparel, a company well known for ethical labor practices.

I advertise all the T-shirts I offer as ethically produced or sweatshop free. If I can’t identify the sourcing of the item, that means I can’t offer it for sale.

That also means I can’t use CafePress for my most popular item, a black tee, since CafePress does not offer a union or fair trade version of the black tee.

There seems to be no place on the CafePress website that gives product information, particularly about t-shirts. The information I have about your product sources comes from other websites and blogs–hopefully they are portraying CafePress goods and services accurately.

Last year the fair trade coffee industry grew by 75%. There is no reason the fair trade T-shirt market can’t grow as well.

I hope Cafepress can make it easier to identify your product sources for those of us who wish to offer union and fair trade products for our buyers.

The Camel’s Nose


Related posts:
Is CafePress.com hiding sweatshops?
CafePress responds to Fair Trade concerns with form letter, maintains holding pattern

Is CafePress.com hiding sweatshops?

Now that the semester is over, I have a little time to contemplate what is happening with the products I offer in the side widgets. I thought I might be adding some more products and some more slogans, but now it looks like I might be spending the short break before summer session deleting products that I’m currently offering through CafePress.com.

When I first started blogging, first at MySpace, then at Blogger, I decided all the products I offered would be sweatshop free. Having lived abroad, I have seen firsthand the difference that scrutiny–whether from sponsors abroad or from members of the royal family–can make in the lives of the ordinary people. A good part of what I blog about is the developing Arab world. I want this blog to be part of the solution for finding a world that is fair, a world where children can go to school instead of working, a world where everyone has a chance at a future, a world where people have choices about their lives and their work. This kind of economically fair and interconnected world would be much less likely to go to war.

fairtradelogo.gifIt wouldn’t make much sense for me to talk about economic development then turn around and act like profits are more important than people. Surely both are possible. Fair tade coffee experienced a 75% growth last year alone. Awareness about fair trade alternatives has been stronger in Europe, but American awareness–and the market for fairly traded items–is likely to grow.

So then, what about CafePress? Why delete shirts? CafePress has decided to discontinue their American Apparel “Baby Doll” style shirt, and in its place, substitute something called a “Junior Jersey Tee.” Neither this shirt or their new maternity shirt is made by American Apparel, a company well known for its fair labor practices. But who makes the shirts, and under what conditions?

Unlike some other internet fulfillment companies, the CafePress website does not provide product information–at least none that I can find. Not in the general information areas and not in the community forums. So how do I know the products I offer here are sweatshop free? Most, no, all of my information about their products comes from the folks at Irregulartimes.com, who have done a lot of research into products, fair labor practices, and fair trade. Chicago Fair Trade also has an interesting piece about clothing fairness issues.

Be assured that I will continue to offer only fairly manufactured items. I will be attempting to correspond with the CafePress product information people to try to find out something about these new products. If I can’t determine that they are sweat free, I’ll be removing the “Junior Jersey Tee” from my offerings.


Related posts:

Make a difference on World Fair Trade Day–contact CafePress
CafePress responds to Fair Trade concerns with form letter, maintains holding pattern