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The Big Business of “Charity”

It was announced by the Washington Business Journal this week that CustomInk bought Represent. Represent is about celebrities (and others) selling t-shirts to make money for charity. Their most well-known shirt being FUCK CANCER by some celebrity actor dude. Reportedly CustomInk paid $100 million for Represent which is owned by basketball star Kobe Bryant and other LA celebs.

$100 million for a company that makes money for charities?

I tried a little campaign of my own to see where the money goes.

I went on and I set a goal of 108 shirts and a selling price of $20.  They will give me $6.34 per shirt on that sale price. If you ordered this shirt from a printing company X that I know,  which pays union wages and benefits (let’s hope this charitable donation generating company Represent does but…whatever) they would charge you $4.60 for those 108 shirts today for the same print and same black shirt. I’m guessing with the volume they do that Represent might even do better on both the blank and the printing and have costs of much less. An educated guess is that they get that shirt with printing on it for under $4.  Also realize that company X prices with a mark up of 35% on the blank shirt and at a profitable printing rate. So Represent makes money on the shirt and printing, then also takes in $9 per shirt above that. They also make money on the shipping, they charge $3.99 but a mailer and postage are under $3.

So recap of where your $23.99 goes when you buy one of these greed shirts I hastily designed.

$6.34 to my charity (unspecified at this point…)

$3 for shipping and the envelope

$4.60 for the printing cost and the shirt (at the most)

leaving over $7 for Represent to handle that envelope, maintain the website, and put money in their wallets. Not a bad haul, no wonder they sold for $100 million.

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They do mildly encourage the money you make to be made for charities, but they don’t really care if it is for profit or charity.

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I doubt my shirt will reach the tipping point, but if it does, I’m giving all my profit to the charity listed below.

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