gement


quality posts: 7 Private Messages gement

Anvil: 77% unionized.
American Apparel: 0% unionized.

"The plant’s workers have no union, and in 2003 American Apparel fought a union-organizing drive with the same sophisticated savvy they bring to advertising." Clamor Magazine article on AA business practices

To all of you knee-jerking about American jobs, all boats rise with the tide. The world economy is floundering, and one of the ways to turn it around is pay fair wages and support organized labor wherever you're buying.

Exploitative practices exist in the US, too. If you think you're anti-sweatshop, you still have to do your research, not just look at the "USA" on a label. If you think you're pro-jobs, you need to learn about global-scale economics.

(I admit, I only read to page 5 of comments, but seriously people.)

Woot, thanks for addressing human rights concerns. You really could have handled the combination announcement of price increase and supplier change better since you knew they were both in the works, and I suggest you still work to do so.

jagendorf


quality posts: 8 Private Messages jagendorf

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." This is a quote from the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Woot is selling shirts to make money, not because they care that we have awesome shirts to wear. It's just business as they say. Sure we can bring up the whole Invisible Hand thing and talk about the blood and tears that go into shirts made in sweat shops or that Non-American made products take away from our economy, but the bottom line is that money makes the world go round. I'm not saying that Honduras uses sweat shops, although you never can be sure. I have no hard feelings towards Woot because I would do the same thing if it meant more profit. From the customer's viewpoint it always seems bad, but when you look at if from the business's side it makes you understanding. So...Great Plan Woot but maybe Poor Execution.

Bilyum it up all day long!

ndevries1981


quality posts: 1 Private Messages ndevries1981

It's been over an hour since someone posted anything here... possibly since everyone's exhausted from the AA-Anvil back-and-forth.

yigzat


quality posts: 0 Private Messages yigzat

This whole thread, and discussion, has me very conflicted. I've never been more pleased with a shirt with respect to quality of the print, softness of the material, and ability to maintain an image without fading or cracking after numerous washes. AA shirts excel.

I've had much less favorable results with Anvils. These tend to be the shirts sold at concerts, and in my experience aren't as soft or durable.

I also am conflicted about the companies- AA is USA, Anvils are not. But Anvils are unionized and AA is not. Which is a good thing for Anvil.

Here's the only comparison I've seen about any of the standard blank brands.

But when it comes down to brass tacks, I enjoy the derby, like the designs and the artists that are found here. I would appreciate if Woot did a small video about the old and new shirts, showing a typical L blank in comparable colors of each, and how they compare with respect to sizing, closeup of the texture, and generally do a little PR.

Bluchez, I hope shirtwhat comes back, but I love that you took a stand.

Josephus


quality posts: 25 Private Messages Josephus
Darquis wrote:I get that. I really do - I don't think I've bought a shirt since the increase. And it's not because I don't think they should have (though I wish they hadn't), but it just makes you think more about it when you hit your big button. And I understand why people are seeing that, combined with the move to a shirt blank that costs less to purchase and associating that with dollar signs in woot's eyes (or at least, getting very displeased).

But, and I'm certainly not the only to point this out, woot's cost doesn't end at the shirt blank. They have to pay people who do the printing, packing, distribution of the shirts. Ink, machines, all the stuff that goes into making the shirts costs. Storage, manufacturing facilities, etc. costs. Heck, maybe smartpost costs more - who knows. I don't. I'm betting most of us don't. SO while I totally understand and sympathize with the frustration, I also understand that there's more to a shirt.woot shirt than, well, the shirt.



It's just frustrating that everything I can find says that the costs are NOT going up. cotton had a big spike in price, but it's fallen back to near the earlier price. Now maybe there's a delay in price increase between the cotton and the shirt blanks, but I really doubt it. and the rest of the costs just don't seem to be more. labor? in the US? no way it's increased in cost over the last 4 yrs. Machinery as well, considering the decreased demand with this sour economy, I can't make the economics give me a reason that the price would be any higher now than before. Shipping? mebe, but we'd know if Smartpost was going up, what with the USPS being so public in the weird manipulations of their costs thanks to the US Congress. I can't imagine that woot's 'storage' costs are increasing on a per unit basis- unless they are moving everything into downtown Seattle, which would probably have increased cost vs. Texas.

So where are these increased costs coming from?

Darquis


quality posts: 27 Private Messages Darquis

Ink? (and whatever other stuff they use to print the shirts, not just ink).

Also, labor costs can totally be increasing, even in this economy. More labor=more $. Employees may have contracts that guarantee them certain things (like pay increase, or benefits, or whatever) that cause costs to spike.

Basically based on what's been said (and left unsaid) in this thread, It hink woot's going to be expanding their line in some fashion (no pun intended) very soon

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
Josephus wrote:So where are these increased costs coming from?



mabe they had to give raises to people who moved from st. louis to seattle, to cover cost of living difference between the two places, and have been living with thin profit margins since. i don't recall when tgentry came on board woot relative to the move, but talent doesn't come cheep. mabe shirt.woot just has higher staffing/overhead costs than when they started, and mabe the $2 price increase drove down volume, so the price increase didn't improve margins as much as they had hoped.

annewaterman


quality posts: 3 Private Messages annewaterman


geekfactor12


quality posts: 11 Private Messages geekfactor12
Josephus wrote:It's just frustrating that everything I can find says that the costs are NOT going up. cotton had a big spike in price, but it's fallen back to near the earlier price. Now maybe there's a delay in price increase between the cotton and the shirt blanks, but I really doubt it.



I'm not sure what the deal is with blank pricing on all t-shirt blanks, but I'm on the mailing list for one. That brand has increased prices a few times in the years I've been on the list (ostensibly due to cotton prices rising), but I've yet to see them decrease the cost of their blanks for any reason.

Just one data point. But at least for some blank companies, blank prices have not dropped again.

chennai8


quality posts: 2 Private Messages chennai8
Darquis wrote:Ink? (and whatever other stuff they use to print the shirts, not just ink).



Pixie dust and Love? Love is never cheap...

neyfam2000 wrote:Woot!--going from "Deal-a-day" to "Site-a-day"

danimal1960


quality posts: 0 Private Messages danimal1960

I buy woot shirts not just for the image, but I like how they feel...soft and stretchy...If they start feeling bulky and cottony...hell, I can get that at any t-shirt shop...

Lane03


quality posts: 1 Private Messages Lane03
elezar wrote:It's certainly possible. If a company that used to make 50,000 of something per month, then gets a new customer that adds ANOTHER 50,000 per month, they're almost definitely going to have to make some new hires to handle the 100% increase. On the flip side, if a company that makes 5 million of something per month, then loses a customer that bought 50,000, they might not need to let anyone go because of the 1% decrease. I'm pretty sure that's not the case in this instance, as both Anvil and AA seem to be fairly large companies with several very large customers. Just pointing out that it's possible.



Yes, it's technically possible. You mentioned that a company might not have to let anyone go if they lose 1% of their sales, however what if they employee 200,000 people solely to produce what they sell? That means that they will only need 198,000 employees to meet the new (lower) demand, which would mean they don't need 2,000 of their employees. Is this a likely situation? NO. Technically possible? SURE.

However, as you pointed out in your second to last sentence that is not the case here, and this situation is what prompted my reply. In this situation both companies are very high volume t-shirt manufacturers with a comparable customer base. So again I don't see how llandar can say that taking business away from AA wont cost anyone their job, but giving this business to Anvil will create jobs. Nor does it look like llandar is going to explain it, as he/she hasn't replied to my post but has replied to other posts made after mine.

Rudeboy2025


quality posts: 22 Private Messages Rudeboy2025

I've just crawled out from under that rock and found out about this change. My first shirt.woot purchase was on April 2, 2010 and I have purchased a total of 12 shirts. I love the shirts and how they fit me. The fact that it's not American made anymore and you are moving to inferior shirts means no more purchases.

Good job Woot.

skev


quality posts: 0 Private Messages skev
j5 wrote:1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance <--Are we there yet?



I'm there and I'm out.

The made in the USA thing was a big deal for me. Woot is free to choose their suppliers as they see fit and I've accepted that I'm not buying anymore shirts from them.

tsero4


quality posts: 6 Private Messages tsero4
skev wrote:I'm there and I'm out.

The made in the USA thing was a big deal for me. Woot is free to choose their suppliers as they see fit and I've accepted that I'm not buying anymore shirts from them.



Yep me too see ya woot!!

Darquis


quality posts: 27 Private Messages Darquis
no1 wrote:mabe they had to give raises to people who moved from st. louis to seattle, to cover cost of living difference between the two places, and have been living with thin profit margins since. i don't recall when tgentry came on board woot relative to the move, but talent doesn't come cheep. mabe shirt.woot just has higher staffing/overhead costs than when they started, and mabe the $2 price increase drove down volume, so the price increase didn't improve margins as much as they had hoped.



tegentry was hired after the move (if I remember right), but I imagine for him it worked out ok because (again, if I remember right) he's from/was from Monroe, which is about 30 miles from Seattle.

bluchez


quality posts: 2 Private Messages bluchez
thatrobert wrote:Quality Post!



That can't be true, look at the first post of the thread. The ONLY quality posts (of the 16 pages of posts) are by woot staff, duh. (yes, I am back to just posting snarky BS to amuse myself. I still disagree with the decision, but this is meant in fun and I hope taken as such).

Ronski


quality posts: 2 Private Messages Ronski

so disappointed, been with woot for many years. Worst move I've ever seen. USA USA USA , oh and something to do with 99%.

Invisiblemoose


quality posts: 17 Private Messages Invisiblemoose
Josephus wrote:
So where are these increased costs coming from?


It's possible that AA increased their prices for making Woot T's, right? That's been speculated a lot in this thread. It would explain the $2 price increase.

However, if that were the case, there'd be no reason for Woot not to be transparent about it -- unless they realize that admitting the price hike was due to increased AA blank costs would mean losing any plausible justification for not dropping the price back to 10 bucks after switching to a much cheaper blank -- except for the obvious reason of greater profits.

Woot's a business. They're just trying to make money. I get that. It's long-time loyal Shirt.woot customers that lose out, though, so why shouldn't we moan and groan about it? I'm not going to buy any more shirts here, but I'm not exactly happy about it...

bongosolo


quality posts: 11 Private Messages bongosolo

Apparently, American Apparel is in serious trouble and may face bankruptcy in 2012. Certainly this would have played a part in Woot's decision to leave them.

annespeck


quality posts: 0 Private Messages annespeck

I was disappointed to read about the change -- as so many other people have said, I love the fit of the AA tees, and supporting American workers is just as important to me as supporting artists.

I was also disappointed because I haven't loved the Anvil shirts I've had in the past. They were just okay.

That being said, I just checked out the Anvil catalog and I'm impressed with how they've diversified. Based on what I see there, I'm willing to stick around until I actually get a couple of the shirts.

I do hope that as much as possible you will be using the American and/or Eco lines, and I am willing to spend a buck or two to select those options.

One more thing though -- is the user base big enough that you can start to offer more shirts? There are many shirts I see in the derbies I would love to buy but they don't make it to the very top of the pack.

xxchange


quality posts: 44 Private Messages xxchange

This is displeasing. My only concern with the shirts was that they not get shorter. Now I'll have to go up a size.

My Colours: 6 Black, 9 Asphalt, 7 Cranberry, 4 Royal Blue, 10 Navy, 7 Silver, 7 Grass, 2 Orange, 2 Kelly Green, 8 Brown, 1 White, 2 Lemon, 7 Baby Blue, 3 Cream, 2 Heather Gray, 5 Olive, 1 Pink, 1 Eggplant

Last 12 of 85: Little Dreams, Black and White, Fall, I'm not prickley on the inside..., Released, Nature Owl, Mirror Mirror, The Last Day, Playful Foxes Remix, My Special Day, My Special Day Tote, Circuit-ulatory System Remix

ltcoke


quality posts: 0 Private Messages ltcoke

No longer made in the US? Sad to say it, but I'm not going to purchase from shirt.woot anymore. Thanks for saving me the money!

Josephus


quality posts: 25 Private Messages Josephus

Is the woot-off rumor true that the Anvil screamin' woot monkeys couldn't be used? -that they were mostly made of horsehair and spit?

modsquad


quality posts: 0 Private Messages modsquad

The thing that made me decide to vote with my dollars & no longer purchase from shirt.woot is that if AA is having some troubles in these difficult economic times & another American company pull their account. Thanks for kicking them while they are down! It would be one thing if there had not been a price increase. The smart move would have been to stick by your original business model of having the shirts made by Americans, printed by Americans, etc.

I'm even more ashamed it's fellow Texans that are responsible. Thanks for all the great Potty Emergency! in my closet...good thing I have plenty to wear for years to come.

By the way, I have an Anvil tee from a recent Misfits concert & it fits horribly. The hemmed band at the bottom rolls up & doesn't stay very flat. Also, being 6' tall & stocky, the anvil's don't fit well as do the AA on my frame.

Thanks for years of great shirts, but I knew at some point the whole Amazon big business buyout would have probably led to something like this. It's much easier for a business to lose site of it's founding principles when it starts worrying too much about the bottom line & less about the customers & WHY they may have decided to become loyal customers. For me, I was supporting my fellow Texas (& American) entrepenuers. As a former small business owner, I have a real appreciation for supporting my local businesses.

In the end, I would have rather paid more for an all American shirt...if I want cheap imported ones, there's a TON of places to get those.

Good luck to all the artists & thanks!

kawooda1


quality posts: 0 Private Messages kawooda1

I'm with all the other wooters who think it is a TERRIBLE business practice to tell us you are raising your prices because of low margins, and then as soon as we accept it start using cheaper imported shirts. One or the other. Both just makes you look greedy, and makes me want to take my business elsewhere. It was a pleasure doing business the last 4 years, but I'm done unless you show you care about your customers and not just your bottom line. Either bring back AA, or lower the price back to $10.

nocturnx


quality posts: 1 Private Messages nocturnx

I agree, half the reason I purchased Woot shirts was to support American companies. When the AA shirts run out so will I.

kawooda1


quality posts: 0 Private Messages kawooda1
bongosolo wrote:Apparently, American Apparel is in serious trouble and may face bankruptcy in 2012. Certainly this would have played a part in Woot's decision to leave them.



Which makes it that much worse that woot is just going to leave them hanging. If they were on the brink of bankruptcy, woot should use some of the $2 increaseto pay them a little more to try to keep them going. Instead they said its not their problem.

boudicca


quality posts: 0 Private Messages boudicca

Anvil shirts are Terrible for women. The cut is not as good as the AA shirts, especially in the neck. But more importantly, Anvil shirts don't drape right and AA shirts do. I sometimes get Anvil shirts as swag and they go straight to Goodwill no matter how much I like the company or product.

I agree this about the "thin margin". Why can't Woot offer both types of blanks?

Why not have AA shirts available at the higher price and Anvil shirts at a lower price and let people choose? Other shirt sites let you choose between the good shirts for a slightly higher price and the cheap ones like Anvil.

bmill3


quality posts: 0 Private Messages bmill3

This is incredibly disappointing, I always loved the fact that woot shirts were designed, manufactured and printed in the USA. I'm definitely going to be hesitant to buy any more shirts from woot.

poohgirl4055


quality posts: 2 Private Messages poohgirl4055

Just pulled my head out of a rock and read about this change. I'm really a bit sad over it. You know, my first Woot shirt was a gift. The fact it was Made in the USA was the ONLY reason I even bothered to check out the shirt.woot site. I have since bought a total of 10 shirts and thanks to today's awesome derby winner, will be buying at least 3 more. I love the brilliant art the artists here do, but being made in the USA is the main reason I keep coming back to shirt.woot to look at everything.

I have since become a woot addict so while I'll continue to come and look, I will probably be less inclined to buy. And if and when I receive my first Anvil blank woot shirt and it is NOT up to the AA quality, you can bet I won't be coming back to shirt.woot. I hope you guys really know what you are doing.

apocello42


quality posts: 1 Private Messages apocello42

Lots of people here going back and forth about AA vs Anvil but that's not really the issue. As long as the overall quality doesn't drop people will be fine in a few months. USA vs Import isn't really the issue either. There are arguments for both, and some possible issues at AA muddy those waters even more.
The real issue here Woot! is that on the 16th of Jan you announced a $2 price hike and it was put out that this was to keep the the product fully in the USA, then on the 21st of Feb you announce the switch to imported blanks. If your testing and the thought you put into this decision was as rigorous as you claim, you had to already be seriously looking into new, out of country, suppliers. Individually I wouldn't baulk at these changes, or if they occurred a reasonable time apart, but so close together I feel like I was lied to. It reeks of corporate B.S. and makes me wary moving forward.
I've had some previous bad experiences with Amazon's treatment of me as a customer which led to a three year personal boycott which I'm just now letting slide. Don't ruin this Woot!, don't let Amazon change you for the worse.

Mavyn


quality posts: 22 Private Messages Mavyn
apocello42 wrote:
The real issue here Woot! is that on the 16th of Jan you announced a $2 price hike and it was put out that this was to keep the the product fully in the USA



That was never ever said by a woot staff member. Ever.

My speech is not parsing. I am speaking in ellipsis.

sensenigk


quality posts: 8 Private Messages sensenigk

Wow. Woot's just screwing up right and left at this point.

Frankly, I hate AA shirts. Always have. And, frankly, I buy shirts all the time that aren't made in the US. So, while I'd rather see my money go to support a local economy, that's not ultimately a deal breaker for me.

What is a deal breaker for me, though, is the bullsh*t explanation. I worked in marketing for over 15 years. One of the first things I learned: be honest. Customers can smell a lie a mile away. Packaging it up with a pretty bow doesn't make it the truth.

And when you lose our trust, you lose our business.

Did you learn nothing from Netflix?! When you decide for financial reasons to make a change, you don't tell the customer that it's for their convenience! And you don't raise prices, and then cheapen the product!

Ultimately, I'm sure woot will still make money. Hell, you'll probably make more money in the end. And if that's what it's about, then you're losing all the things that made the woot community great in the first place: honesty, transparency, frankness, and what seemed like a genuine desire to do the right thing. And that freaking sucks.

sensenigk


quality posts: 8 Private Messages sensenigk
Mavyn wrote:That was never ever said by a woot staff member. Ever.



I just re-read the price change thread, and you're right that no staff members says anything about shirts remaining US made. (I have no idea if they did or didn't say anything elsewhere, though.)

But non-staff mentioned it all over the thread. In fact, the first customer post (from Narfcake) was "No qualms here, so long as you are still sticking to blanks made in the USA." And woot didn't pipe up to correct that?! That's called lying, my friends.

Take it another way, if it'll help clarify. Let's say you've just planned a guys weekend in Vegas. You need money, so you ask your wife if you can dip into savings. And she says "Of course you can, as long as you're not using it to go to Vegas." And you just smile at her and say nothing?! That's called LYING.

taternuggets


quality posts: 22 Private Messages taternuggets

Wow. I just received a package from Woot containing various sizes of the new blanks. THANKS WOOT!

I'll do my best to offer an honest assessment of the blanks. Although I am certainly no expert.

Woot sent 3 sizes, 3x - which is my normal size and also a large and medium. They appear to all be "men's" sizes, as the tags match.

I am over 6' 4" and a bit of a fat hulk at around 275... The 3x shirt fits quite nicely and is plenty long. Checking it next to an AA woot shirt I own, it is a bit shorter but it still fits me fine. The shirt is a tad "roomier" and doesn't hug my gut like the old AA blanks would. These are also a little roomier in the shoulders.

In my opinion, the shirts have the same feel as before. They are soft to the touch. I am not noticing a difference in the weight of the shirt.

I'll throw it in the wash this evening and see if I notice any shrinkage.

Personally, I am pretty happy with the blanks.

Thanks again Woot!


Nothing follows.

Mavyn


quality posts: 22 Private Messages Mavyn
sensenigk wrote:I just re-read the price change thread, and you're right that no staff members says anything about shirts remaining US made. (I have no idea if they did or didn't say anything elsewhere, though.)

But non-staff mentioned it all over the thread. In fact, the first customer post (from Narfcake) was "No qualms here, so long as you are still sticking to blanks made in the USA." And woot didn't pipe up to correct that?! That's called lying, my friends.

Take it another way, if it'll help clarify. Let's say you've just planned a guys weekend in Vegas. You need money, so you ask your wife if you can dip into savings. And she says "Of course you can, as long as you're not using it to go to Vegas." And you just smile at her and say nothing?! That's called LYING.




Woot didn't lie, woot didn't reassure people that the price change was not going to be accompanied by a vendor change. People read between the lines that silence meant concurrence, and now are reading between the lines to presume a lie. As has been mentioned multiple times, there are limits on what staff can say about business decisions. A formal announcement was in the works, 'spilling the beans' before the contract was finalized would be worse.

Being an active woot buyer, or active on the forums, or friendly with the moderators doesn't mean knowing anything more about what's happening behind the scenes.

My speech is not parsing. I am speaking in ellipsis.

thumperchick


quality posts: 239 Private Messages thumperchick

Hey ladies and gents! Someone awesome at woot sent me some tester shirts - new Anvil blanks. I'm guessing it was ProfHotpants*, THANK YOU!
*It was Barbara Rutledge, shirt.woot director. A big thank you to her! And still thanks to PHP - if you aren't the same person - for working so hard on this.

I was sent a grass green new Ladie's XL and a new Men's L to compare.

*I am comparing brand new, unwashed Anvil tees to well worn and well loved AA tees*


Shirt ON Shirt comparison!
The new women's XL is larger than my old Men's L! Here's a photo of an AA WXL, on top of an AA ML, on top of a new Anvil WXL.

Says a lot, doesn't it? I'm sure we'll lose a bit of that extra on the Anvil with the first few washes. (I do use my dryer on my woot shirts.)

Now, here is just an AA WXL on the Anvil WXL:

*Granted comparing a baby blue to a grass green may have some inconsistencies lighter colors tended to run smaller in AA.

And, for those curious of the new Men's L vs the old:


If anyone has any questions - hit me up!

I'll be throwing both of these testers in the laundry today/tomorrow and treating them the exact way I treat my AA's (cold water, fabric softener, and medium heat) and will add an update to see how they did.

gement


quality posts: 7 Private Messages gement
Josephus wrote:So where are these increased costs coming from?



Well, all other things being equal, $0.53 of it is inflation since 2008, according to the Inflation Calculator. That's a general figure and I don't know how specific it is to this industry. In particular, as others have pointed out, there was a major cotton price fluctuation and once a supplier raises prices, it generally doesn't lower them again.

Between inflation, capital investments (things like shirt printing and packaging equipment), human resources concerns that we don't know about, and the fact that they've been selling these 6-color screen printed shirts for less than a tee wholesaler will sell you a blank? I'd say they were running on a very tight bulk margin, and yes, an increase of $2 and a switch to a cheaper supplier with what they see as better options are both potentially reasonable business decisions.

DianaSprinkle


quality posts: 112 Private Messages DianaSprinkle

Wooooo, I got free shirts too. They sent me 2 grass green shirts -- how did you know that was my favorite color woot? I have a small and a medium, both woman's sizes.

I am 5'5" and used to be a WM in the old blanks. The old blanks fit very snugly on the shoulders after a wash and I was never a huge fan of that. I'm now pretty sure I'm a WS in the Anvil blanks. I still have to wash these new blanks and see what my drier does to them, but I'm very happy with the fit.