TRUE COSTS™ REPORTS

There is no ethical consumption under capitalism. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t try to run an ethical business. This page highlights the True Costs™ of doing business in our current society. 

PRODUCTS

There are two costs to consider when producing an item: Money & CO2. Before the 2000s, the emissions produced to manufacture goods were often not even considered. The unfortune cost of that ignorance has put us on a planet that’s increasingly becoming more and more hostile to live on.  This isn’t to say buying more stuff is going to solve the problem of the drastic climate changes. Greenwashing is a real issue, hiding bad products under ‘green’ labeling, confusing and misleading consumers so that they feel better about buying an ungodly amount of products each year. 

So how does a business (An entity that sells products) get you (the consumer of products) to buy our products AND buy less products in general?

We think by offering goods that last a lifetime or at the very least a few decades, without creating new fossil fuel based plastics, is a great start. By being open about the environmental costs of goods, we hope to encourage consumers to be more aware of the real costs of buying so much stuff. Our planet is at stake, and as a society we have to curb our oil use drastically. 

ENAMEL PINS

Enamel Pins are small metal lapels that people wear to show some flair, support a cause, or express their personality. At their most basic, they are simply a piece of metal (usually Iron, Brass, or Copper) stamped in a way to give some depth and are then filled with colored enamel (melted glass essentially). It requires heavy machinery, skilled labor, and some serious heat to make enamel pins. 

Because of the economics of it, usually manufacturers produce pins in very large amounts at a time, reducing the energy needed to ramp up to the hot temperatures needed to stamp and melt enamel. In these modern times, time is money, and these manufacturers waste zero of it, and waste very little materials and energy. 

 

ORIGINAL MATERIALS

CARBON EMISSIONS: 1kg

FINANCIAL: $0.25

MANUFACTURING

CARBON EMISSIONS: 1kg

FINANCIAL: $0.50

SHIPPING TO US

CARBON EMISSIONS: 1kg

FINANCIAL: $1

These costs are only rough estimations and have been rounded up for easy math. The unfortunate truth is that nearly all enamel pins are made in China. For us in the United States, that means shipping on a huge oil guzzling ship across an ocean, and then it’s travel time across the states. Usually products are shoved into a truck with a million other packages, reducing some of the emissions and trips required to ship things. 

At the moment there isn’t a checkbox when shipping to request electric vehicles only. However one ‘hack’ we do use, is we don’t offer overnight or 2-day shipping. Planes are one of the biggest CO2 emitters on the planet.   By picking slower shipping options, packages usually travel by train or truck rather than by plane, reducing carbon costs drastically. 

At the time of  this writing we don’t produce our pins directly with a manufacturer, we go through a third party that communicates for us. This adds a little extra cost to produce our pins. 

 

MIDDLEMAN

CARBON EMISSIONS: 0kg

FINANCIAL: $1.25

PACKAGING

CARBON EMISSIONS: 1kg

FINANCIAL: $1

SHIPPING TO YOU

CARBON EMISSIONS: 1kg

FINANCIAL: $4

We could cut costs on packaging by picking up the cheapest possible solutions, plastic bubble wrap, poly sleeves, standard printing and inks, etc. But there’s the CO2 cost to consider, and we think packaging our goods in recycled and compostable materials is the better decision. 

Frankly as we researched shipping costs we were very surprised by how expensive it really is to ship something so small like an enamel pin. We really thought it wouldn’t cost more than $1. After finding the smallest possible packaging that fit our needs, and using a site like PIRATESHIP.COM to get bulk commercial rates, we were able to cut shipping costs drastically. 

Shipping one enamel pin actually only costs about $3 to ship via USPS. We put $4 up above because that’s what our average cost to ship will end up being. Most people will order more than one pin, weighing down the packaging and raising the rate, but also because consumers expect free shipping when buying products and so we imagine many people will take advantage of our free shipping promo codes we give out in our newsletter. 

Even though it’s free for you, it’s still a cost we have to bear, eating into what little profit we make, slowing down our potential to grow faster, bigger, and better.  Which is totally fair, it’s why we aren’t hiding the shipping costs into the price of the products.

You deserve the truth. 

 

SALES TAX

CARBON EMISSIONS: 0kg

FINANCIAL: $1.25

TRANSACTION FEES

CARBON EMISSIONS: 0kg

FINANCIAL: $0.75

SUPPORT

CARBON EMISSIONS: 0kg

FINANCIAL: $1

Usually businesses charge sales tax at the end of a transaction. You think you’re gonna pay $10 for something, and last minute, it’s $10.80. Seems pretty shady to us, and studies show ‘the market‘ likes their prices to include everything. If free shipping means everything costs $5 more that’s fine, most people think. So we include sales tax in the price of the product. 

Transaction fees are one of those things that are often hidden from the public for some reason. But basically all transactions are possible because for-profit companies like MasterCard and Visa have blessed us with a duopoly financial network. When you swipe your card at the bodega, the owner pays about 3% + $0.30 per transaction. Which is why you usually see small signs that request you spend $5+ or more to use a credit card. Otherwise it’s just eating up all the small profit they would have made. In our case we go through STRIPE and PAYPAL in some cases, industry leading businesses, but survive from archaic fees. 

$1 from all of our pins goes to support a cause related to the pin. An important part of being a small business is supporting your community. In our case, since we’re an online store, our community is global and covers quite a few sectors and topics. Enamel pins in particular are usually worn as a sign of pride or passion for a subject. Only fitting we give back to those who inspire us. Even if it’s only $1 at a time.

TOTAL COST TO SELL ONE ENAMEL PIN

CARBON EMISSIONS: 5kg

FINANCIAL: $11

FOR EVERY PIN WE SELL

WE CARBON OFFSET: 10kg

FINANCIAL: $0.10

So now you may be thinking, “wait a second, you’re offsetting double the CO2 it costs to make a pin and get it all the way to me, and it only costs $0.10? Why isn’t every company doing this??”. We have the same question. 

We buy carbon offsets from COOLEFFECT.ORG for a little less than $9 for every 1,000kg. Their prices fluctuate a little bit depending on the current project, some trees are more expensive to plant then others it seems. Some companies like Shopify have started spending venture capital on offsetting their carbon emissions and we think it’s brilliant. 

This breakdown is for one of our own pins. Occasionally we collab with artists who deserve to be paid, that usually adds $1-3 a pin. Pins have very small profit margins. Even charging $12 a pin, sort of a high price for the industry, is barely enough to cover all the expenses to produce and ship. Honestly it’s wild anyone can sell them for much less at times. There are some price cuts we can do with packaging or with the quality of the pins, but we don’t think our customers will appreciate those efforts. We would much rather cut costs by buying in bigger quantities on the next order, over putting more never-dissolving-plastic into the oceans.