Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pink October #9

According to their website, 5% of Ta-ta Brand Clothing's 'adjusted gross sales' are donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and other breast cancer charities. Since the company's founding in 2004 that has amounted to 'almost $100,000.'

I have some mixed feelings about this sort of product. Sure, I think the 'save the ta tas' saying is really clever, but when I see a product line basically built around the 'pink ribbon' I kind of like to think that all of the proceeds go to support saving the ta-tas, not that sales of the product are lining someone's pocket. So, let's explore, shall we?

Ta-ta's donation of $100K, while decent, means the company had sales of about $2 million over the past few years since $100,000 is 5% of $2,000,000. Because the company's operating expenses are a big unknown, there is no way to know how much the company makes in profits from the public's desire to save the ta-tas, but no doubt they are raking in some bucks.

To her credit, company founder Julia Fikse is open about her business model. On her blog, linkable thru the main Ta-ta's website, Ms. Fikse coins her company a 'hybrid business' which she explains is "a company that exists to generate funds for a human need, but is not non-profit." She also notes that because the company donates 5% of the sales price as opposed to some percentage of proceeds or profits (which could be $0 if the company has no profit), people paying $24.95 for a save-the-ta-tas t-shirt can know that $1.25 of that will go to breast cancer research.

Bottom line: Ta-tas t-shirts are humorous, a buck or so goes to charity for each one sold, it could be worse. So, go save some ta-tas already. (But to all you companies out there who abuse the pink ribbon and give little or nothing to breast cancer charities: Tsk, tsk.)

More 'Pink October' here.


Sue said...

Thanks for the reminder

Anonymous said...

I wish ta-tas was raking in the dough like you assume. You should realize the cost of starting a booming new business far outreaches the 2 mil you claim ta-tas has made. No one there has deep pockets, but I know do work extremely long hours for the cause on a salary wage. Their hard work goes right down the drain when someone like you posts a negative blog about their company. I think it is an unfair and uneducated oppinion that you have posted.

Parlancheq said...

Sue: Hey. Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous: You did notice I ended my so-called 'negative' post by saying the t-shirts were funny and linking to Ta-ta's order page, didn't you?

That said, let's be clear about one thing: Ta-tas is a for-profit company, not one that exists to 'support the cause.' There is nothing inherently evil in that, of course, but at a time when we are so bombarded with 'pink' products it is important that consumers consider where their money is actually going.

In other words, if you want a Ta-tas t-shirt because it makes you laugh or you think it will bring attention to breast cancer or you just need to cover up your boobs, then by all means buy one. Or two. And if you are deciding between a Ta-tas t-shirt and some other t-shirt, then let the 5% that Ta-tas gives to charity sway you towards the Ta-tas shirt. But if what you really want to do is donate to the cause, then skip the t-shirt and just write a check directly to a breast cancer charity.

Although I used Ta-tas as an example, similar logic can and should be applied to every 'pink' product.