Yep, we really think you should. Hear us out, we do offer $25-$30 options on our site, but we want more people to understand the story behind those $45 tees.
The nCo side of our brand started strictly as a donation model for our oils business. We needed a way to give back and found a path with a local Lake Tahoe non-profit. A few others who owned branches of our Grow Wild Oils business also needed an outlet for donation, so we began to grow. And we strictly donated money, absolutely NO product in exchange! Some pledged $50/mo, others $150 one time, it really had to do with making charitable contributions thanks to the growth and expansion of the essential oils empire.
At one point we took it to the beaches and started cleanups and tree planting activism. We got shirts made and other members on our team wanted to buy some, so we had our Grow Wild shirts. We felt weird selling them, so we donated all the profits. Our model clearly separates revenue from profit and keeps up with sales tax and business tax responsibilities. So we were not making a huge contribution when you looked at the cost of purchasing shirts, paying a graphic designer, paying a print shop, the cost to package them, with shipping and handling. We also had to invest in tracking and order fulfillment software. It was not a big deal, until it was.
People started asking for stickers, and then those outside of our little oils tribe also wanted to buy items. We set up an instagram for this apparel/retail line and it took off from there. We started to get international orders and had to pay even more people just to keep up. The only thing that stayed the same was that donation to the environment. Except now you got a shirt in exchange and whatever else you added to your cart!
Going global meant international taxes, crazy shipping costs, and the need for a 24/7 chat support and customer service team. We invested yet again and continued to grow. You will see a common theme, growth costs major $$ and we had to keep using the business money to fund the next chapter, all while paying our US based employees fairly!
While the international business picked up thanks to some global brand partners, we wanted to keep our local ties strong so we started a second website - our local collection. Now we got to pay local brands to do the manufacturing and product quality process, and we got to simply manage the donation platform. Employees, product cost, order fulfillment, and shipping remained the same, but quality of shirts greatly increased because we paid a department to fully support that effort and free up our time for our community outreach efforts.
So $45 has a history, and it used to not include a t-shirt at all. We are so grateful to be able to provide product in exchange for donation, and help other brands along the way.