Introducing Just Cause Market

Stephen Legler1/ 1/20

Background

Just Cause Market started as a desire to find a company that could manufacture my self made puzzles and allow for me to create a customized box for the puzzle.  I love puzzles and I love finding vintage photographs or photographs of abandoned places around the world (which I have come to love the dilapidated buildings in Detroit and the lost places of Europe).  This then turned into creating puzzles as a gift for family and friends including a 20 or 30 year old marriage photo that could be given as an anniversary gift or a family or toddler's photo given as a birthday gift.

This hobby project then expanded into creating customized t-shirts and hats and I quickly created an Etsy shop for those that may want to easily purchase an item.

But, I was finding a void in my passions (helping local and international causes of outreach) with some of my hobbies (learning and using Photoshop and creating things) with the balance of my full-time job that I absolutely love (and am celebrating 19 years with the company this month --- January 2020).

Over the last several months, I've been in discussion with a few not-for-profits and groups that have rallied behind a cause (i.e. a group raising money to save and protect orphans, an organization that looks to come alongside young mothers that have chosen life for their baby, an outreach organization that uses dance as their form of expression and love, an events planner that hosts retreats for 1,000+ individuals... just to name a few).

The Challenge(s)

One of the challenges that these organizations are facing is that they may already have a "t-shirt person" that will print the 200, 500, or even 1,000 t-shirts; however, they are getting more requests beyond just t-shirts and they also have a difficult time to provide a mechanism if they need a replacement shirt (i.e. the old one was torn or lost during a trip) or if extended family members want a shirt.

The organization doesn't want to go through the setup and costs of establishing an online storefront to sell products for profit... but, they would like to offer up a variety of logo'd items for their members, their family, and the community.

These organizers are constantly faced with "I love this shirt, do you have a handbag or sweatpants?"  99.9% of the time these organizations do not have the capacity to design and create these additional items --- in fact, most of the time they are lucky to have the bandwidth to do a single bulk order for a simple t-shirt.

The last major challenge that they face is ordering enough shirts without having a surplus left over as it is difficult to plan for an event where you may be expecting 1,000 attendees.

Simple Event Example:

You are planning an event and hope to have 1,000 attendees.  You conduct the registration and have 800 people register.  You are working with someone on your bulk order of t-shirts, but how many do you purchase?  Do you just buy 800?  What about last minute registrations or walk-ins?  Do you buy 1,000 t-shirts hoping that you get the extra 200 attendees?  What if you only have 50 walk-ins?  Now you have overpaid for 150 shirts that will most likely sit in a closet collecting dust.  Since you run on razor thin budgets, that could be wasting appx $1,800 that could have been better used for your organization and outreach.

And don't forget.  How do you manage all of various sizes from Extra Small (XS) to Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, 2X Large, 3X Large, etc.  What if you want to allow for color variations vs. just the one?  Depending on the shirt, we could pick from an array of 14 colors.

Welcome to Just Cause Market

Just Cause Market isn't seeking to replace your friend or family member that is currently doing your bulk t-shirt orders (although we can do affordable bulk orders as well).  Just Cause Market has been created to fulfill the other scenarios such as:

  • A partnership with your ministry organization, your outreach organization, your small business, your club, etc. to provide a range of items with your logo that can be offered to your members, family, community which can enforce your brand and get your message out.
  • An ability to offer more than t-shirts including hats, jackets, coffee mugs, auto shade visor, umbrellas, bean bags, rugs, sheets, quilts, etc... and even shoes.
  • A low to no risk for you and your organization.  You supply the details, we just put that on the items (see "What are the costs and requirements" below)
  • An ability to partner with you on potential fundraiser opportunities (see "Fundraiser opportunities" below) to raise additional funds for your organization.

Fundraiser Opportunities

More information will be released soon on this and we'll update this section accordingly.  The simple idea is that we can work with you on your fundraiser initiative to potentially bring in more money to your organization.

As an example with using T-Shirts, there could be 2 options for your organization:

  • Option 1:  We post the fundraiser t-shirt on the website with a fundraiser amount (i.e. $25) and you encourage people to go and order the t-shirt.  At the end of the time period, Just Cause Market will write your organization a check based on the number of orders received (i.e. $5 X # of Shirts... if 500 shirts get sold, Just Cause Market will write a $2,500 check to your organization).
    • NOTE:  Each order will incur a shipping cost to the person ordering product.
  • Option 2:  We will work with you to create a fundraiser catalog and order form.  You will collect all of the quantities and details.  You place a bulk order using your specialized code while keeping the profits (i.e. You collect $25, place order for $18... if 500 shirts get sold, you collect $12,500 and place order for $9,000 + shipping/taxes and keep the profits).
    • NOTE:  You can streamline the shipping into a smaller single order.

What are the costs and requirements?

Most organizations may charge a setup fee, etc.  Just Cause Market makes this a $0 cost for you and your organization (we receive a small markup on any item sold which is how we are paid for the infrastructure, maintenance, and upkeep... even if you sell nothing).  The only requirements that we would seek to get your collection up and running are the following:

  • Your logo; preferably in PSD or document that can be imported into Adobe Photoshop and permission to possibly make slight modifications (i.e. if your logo is white we need to decide if we are doing white t-shirts or do we modify the logo slightly for a white t-shirt)
  • Your colors
  • (optional) Any words or taglines that you may allow for inclusion (i.e. "Hard Work" or "Practice Makes Perfect" or "Love Conquers").  As an example, maybe we create a poster... would you want that poster with just your logo or some sort of word or tagline?

If you provide approval for slight modifications, you still have full authority.  As an example, if a t-shirt design was created and you don't want it on an orange shirt, we can remove orange... or, maybe you don't like the small color change or outline in the actual logo.

The other consideration is on the flexibility of your potential layout of company name?  As an example, if your organization name is:

Parents For Safer Drivers in Michigan

Would I have the flexibility to break this up such as:

Parents For Safer
Drivers in Michigan

or

Parents
For Safer Drivers
In Michigan

Catalog For Your Organization

More information will be released soon on this and we'll update this section accordingly.  The simple idea is that we can provide a few artifacts for you and your organization, including:

  • A direct link to your collection on the Just Cause Market which you can place on your website, email to your members, etc.
  • An extracted PDF of the items that have been made for your organization.  The PDF can then be added to your website or emailed which also has live links that will take you directly to the item in your collection on the Just Cause Market.
  • The extracted PDF can also be printed for you to hand out as well

Conclusion

Just Cause Market is just a small business looking to provide value to your organization by means of offering flexible products that your members and others could purchase... giving you the ability to focus on your mission and outreach.