Khrysso and I share a certain outlook on life: we believe in being kind, we believe in casting our net as widely as possible to help those in need, we believe in activism to change the world. We do the best we can.
When we began SoFonda Tees earlier this year, the development of the site kind of poked along as we investigated our options, like two old guys without a deadline. Go figure! Other matters had our attention, like volunteering to be local leaders in southern California for the explosively expanding Free Mom Hugs. As we spoke with other members of our California group, our state leader asked if there was anyone who had a connection for printing t-shirts. Khrysso answered that the two of us just happened to have an online t-shirt shop. We could print shirts for California Free Mom Huggers!
Within a week, we were asked by the board of Free Mom Hugs Inc. if we could become the supplier of their official shirts for the entire country. For one, we were friends with Sara Cunningham, the founder and director of FMH; two, we were an LGBTQ+ owned business and they really liked that; and 3, Free Mom Hugs was an organization and movement that Khrysso and I were both personally vested in, as we had both faced judgement and rejection by church and religious family in our younger years for being gay. It never even crossed our minds to say no.
And but of course, this all just had to happen during June, too: the nation’s most common month to celebrate Pride with festivals and parades everywhere. We scrambled without sleep for weeks and dropped other projects to create and upload Free Mom Hugs shirt design files, load them into our store catalog, and mostly, learn more than we ever wanted to know about e-commerce integration and technical challenges. I was the tech donkey and Khrysso fielded customer service in those early weeks as we trialed and errored our way through setting up our print shop to handle the onslaught of orders.
One of our proudest negotiations came with Free Mom Hugs: we’d supply shirts, but on the condition that we could offer a basic shirt at as near cost as possible, because many times volunteers have more heart and time than money. We wanted as many people as possible to be able to wear the shirts at the events that spread love and affirmation to the LGBTQ+ community. And so our FMH Essential shirts were born. We also wanted to carry a higher priced selection of shirts, with state specific logos, in abundant colors and styles. And for those shirts, we would commit to donating the majority of profit after costs to Free Mom Hugs. Tough negotiators we are, right?
In our first 2.5 months, we’ve made available over 300 of the Essential shirts at very nearly wholesale cost to our customers. And we’ve donated over $4000.00 to Free Mom Hugs. For a couple old guys who believe in activism and casting a helpfully wide net, this is beyond our wildest imagining! And we’re really not looking for any kind of praise or pats on the back, and it would behoove us to do all this quietly and modestly, except…
Our customers who buy Essential shirts pay very nearly wholesale, but there are business costs to us to provide those shirts at that price. Those are a loss for The Artists LeFey LLC, not really offset by the portion of the higher priced items that we don’t donate. And here it is: what makes it possible for us to pull this off, to pay for server space, and domain registrations, and software, and hardware, and so much more, and practice other art as well, is our hugely-hearted supporters, Clan LeFey. Clan LeFey is how we lovingly refer to our team of backers on Patreon. You may have clicked on the link on our main menu bar, but if you haven’t, read it here. These people are like us, who believe in spreading art and spreading good, in being kind, and changing the world. And if you are so inclined, you can join them for only a buck a month if that’s what you’ve got to spare. Head on over and check out Clan LeFey on Patreon. And we’ll keep doing good and helping to change the world, with help from our friends.