TL;DR – we have new t-shirts available! But for those of you who want to know a bit more – and where your money goes – read on.
Right from the very start, Pedal on Parliament has been funded almost entirely through individual donations and t-shirt sales (and of course some backhanders from the notorious Evil Cycle Lobby). This means that we’re not beholden to anyone except our army of supporters who are mostly just everyday cyclists – like the grassroots volunteers who make POP happen every year. Through the herculean efforts of our ‘t-shirt supremos’ each year’s t-shirts are designed, printed by a local firm, and distributed, usually in a mass scramble at POP itself. It’s not the slickest of retail operations, but it has suited us up until now, and it’s provided enough cash each year to print flyers, buy insurance and fund all the other things we do.
This year, we weren’t going to produce t-shirts, largely because we still have a pile left over from last year, having efficiently ordered them just before it became apparent we were going to have to cancel our pop-up plans due to the pandemic. Also, with the climate crisis looming ever larger on our radar, bringing a bunch more stuff into the world seemed wasteful.
However, as soon as we had our ‘THIS MACHINE FIGHTS CLIMATE CHANGE’’ slogan – and Andy Arthur’s fantastic polar bear design – we had a flurry of new t-shirt requests. After some in-depth market research (basically, half of this year’s POP organising committee spontaneously announced that they wanted a tshirt with the new slogan) we started to investigate how we could give people the opportunity to take our message to the streets without too much impact on the planet – and also raise some much needed cash. Selling more t-shirts will allow us not only to make next year’s Pop bigger and better than ever, but could also help fund some possible ‘PoP on COP’ action in Glasgow in November.
So this year, you have a choice. You can still order our fantastic vintage pop-up panda shirts direct from our website (and free up room in our current t-shirt supremo’s flat). Or you can order a print-on-demand t-shirt, hoody, baseball jersey or tote bag with our fantastic new polar bear print through our Teemill shop (link).
Teemill seems to tick most of our boxes for sustainability and ethics. Not only are their organic cotton products printed on demand, so there’s no waste, but they’re also all designed so that they can be sent back and recycled when they wear out. Obviously, this all comes at a cost, so the products are more expensive than our old t-shirts, and slightly less of the profit goes to us than if you buy directly.
In the interests of transparency, we wanted to lay out to you exactly how the finances of it work.
- If you buy a t-shirt directly from our online shop you get a bargain price (£10 for an adult’s shirt and £7.50 for a kid’s), and there’s no P&P. Of that, we make about £3.40 profit per t-shirt (it varies depending on postage and how many t-shirts we send out at once). In fact, the financial benefit to us is greater, as we’ve already paid for the t-shirts.
- If you buy one of our colour Teemill shirts, at £19 each, we would receive £2.09 for a lot less work on our part, and without having tied up a lot of money in stock. The details vary from product to product but all of our various Teemill merchandise would return us around 10-15% of the price that you pay.
Either way, every penny of the profit from our stuff is always spent on making POP happen each year by our volunteers (who also pay full price for our t-shirts).
So we leave the choice to you: panda or polar bear / cheerfully cheap (we can confirm that the green of those t-shirts is VERY cheerful, and possibly visible from space) or deluxe organic / vintage graphics or new climate-fighting slogan.
And if you really can’t decide … why not buy both?