As we navigate how to best support each other during a time of great uncertainty, one thing is clear: Now, more than ever, kindness matters.
Granted, I have always — to a fault — expected that people were mostly motivated by good intentions. Many of you, I’m sure, can cite examples to prove otherwise but pandemic or not, I refuse to deviate from my belief that humans at their core are social beings who crave positive interactions with others
On Friday morning, we gave out our first order of Keep Edmonds Strong T-shirts in front of Edmonds’ Hamilton Printing. For those who missed the earlier publicity, this was a volunteer effort in which My Edmonds News partnered with Hamilton Printing and Alwayzadvertising to design, print and sell T-shirts for men, women and youth. The cost is $20, with $10 from each shirt purchase donated to the Edmonds business or nonprofit designated by the you — the purchaser. The rest covers the cost of the shirt, printing, and sales tax
I am grateful to Ryan Pfeiffer of Alwayzadvertising for designing the logo for free, and to Jan Hamilton of Hamilton Printing for stepping up to do the printing. Both of them are small business owners who have seen a significant slowdown in work as a result of restrictions put in place to minimize the COVID-10 outbreak. Yet, they agreed — without hesitation — to do this for our community.
I have personally donated both time and money to this effort. Selling shirts is not a line of business for me, so I had to figure out an ordering system and set up a shopping cart, then deal with the logistics of ensuring orders are being fulfilled properly. The latter was mostly a smooth process, although we did have a few glitches due to rookie order fulfillment mistakes on my end. Yet, despite this, everyone has been very understanding about the process.
One of those picking up a shirt Friday was Sarah Richard of Alley Bell Music, who is a beneficiary of the promotion. I have a soft spot in my heart for Alley Bell Music because prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, I had been bringing my young grandson to Sarah’s weekly Music Together classes in downtown Edmonds.
Like many business owners, Sarah has had to rethink her business model going forward. For now, all of her Music Together classes have moved to a Zoom format, and she is offering Zoom-based voice and piano lessons as well as Zoom birthday parties, complete with a kids’ DJ spinning the tunes.
It’s business owners like Sarah that drive me to do my own small part to help. I was thrilled last week to send out the first round of payments to local businesses and nonprofits who signed up to be beneficiaries of the T-shirt promotion — with close to 80 shirts ordered that was nearly $800 from the first order. The second order was nearly 100 shirts, so that will be another $1,000 donated this coming week.
Which brings me back to my earlier statement that kindness matters.
I am paying out of my own pocket to promote these T-shirt sales on Instagram and Facebook (in addition to advertising on My Edmonds News). So imagine my surprise Friday at a litany of negative Facebook comments about this effort. One person complained that the shirt was only available in white. Another person noted that that white was “the color of privilege.” A third commented they’d be happy to support, but the design was unattractive. A fourth didn’t like the fact that not all Edmonds businesses were listed, stating we seemed to be prioritizing some over others.
So I figured I’d set the record straight on the color (for simplicity in this volunteer effort, we decided on just one color and made it white because it’s cooler in the summer months) and the design — you can’t please everybody and we don’t have the bandwidth to do other designs or other products. Finally, we publicized the availability of this fundraising opportunity through every Edmonds business group — the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Edmonds Merchants Association and the Edmonds Downtown Alliance — as well as through Highway 99 business contacts. We can’t force people to participate if they don’t want to.
You can purchase your T-shirts at this link. All orders will be available for pickup on Fridays at Hamilton Printing. Buyers will be notified of specific details after purchasing.
Any Edmonds business or nonprofit not currently on the list of beneficiaries can email email@example.com for details one how to be included.
Until next time,
Teresa Wippel, publisher