I'm a student going into the ninth grade this fall. I launched a clothing store called Misercordia (misercordia.square.site) to promote effective giving. The idea was inspired by Brad West's post "Guided Consumption: Funding Charities by Leveraging Consumer Sentiment in the Broader Economy". If you haven't read it, the basic idea is that rational economic transactions create a surplus of value for both the consumer and producer and that consumers might be more inclined to choose a producer that directs their profits towards charitable causes. He posits that this could be an effective means of raising money for effective charities.

I've spent much of this past week setting up an online clothing store. We thought: What if you could wear the coolest shirt you've ever worn, and save the world doing it? 100% of profits will be split between Clean Air Task Force and Against Malaria Foundation, although I think much of the value of the project could lie in the growth of the Effective Altruism community as well. 

Here are some of our products if you are interested:

Like a Phoenix T-Shirt
Misercordia Red T-Shirt
Like a Phoenix Long-Sleeve Shirt
Misercordia Black Long-Sleeve Shirt
Like a Phoenix Hoodie

The website (misercordia.square.site) is up and running as of this afternoon. 

It would mean the world to me if my community coalesced behind Misercordia and purchased our clothing and (perhaps most importantly) recommend and discuss it with as many friends, colleagues, etc. as possible. Unfortunately, for the time being, our products are only available in the United States. 

Thank you all so much!!!

Website: misercordia.square.site

Instagram: @shop_misercordia

22 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 12:00 AM
New Comment

It is great to see people experimenting and starting new projects. I'm really glad that at such a young age you are already building things.

Did you find it easy to create the website, the shirts, and the whole system, or were there a  lot of challenges?

It only took ~10 hours of work. I initially drew out the original design in pastel, and then scanned it and uploaded it to Figma, after which I edited it to my needs. The other one I paid a classmate $0.50 for the design and played with the filters on Figma to design the shirt.  All the shirt designs were then uploaded to CustomInk, which allows for print on demand to multiple addresses so I don't need to have any inventory. I originally tried to create the website on Wix.com, but it was too expensive for my needs. The current website is built on Square, which is free and easy to use. It does take a cut of every transaction, but it is >2%. The domain name was free as well.

It's pretty exceptional that we live in a time where you can go from a neat idea to a company accepting transactions within a few days.

It's very normal to pay up to 2% for a transaction (even at scale), so I wouldn't worry about that. We're paying 1.8% on average on our Shopify and at massive scale that number will still be around 1%. 

Looking forward to our talk today!

I'm really flattered! I I will share this with everyone I know and buy myself some clothes.

I hope to work with you going forward to make a world economy brimming with Misercordias!

You can buy them at misercordia.square.site! Thank you so much for all you've done!

This is really impressive! I like the color on the abstract designs.

Great designs! I just have to ask… the "typo" is intentional, right?

Yes! I made a silly error when writing out "Misericordia" on the original design, but I thought it sounded cooler, so I ran with it.  

These are really nicely designed- well done! Look forward to them being available in the UK

All Misercordia products are available globally ($8.00 shipping fee outside of the U.S. and Canada)! You can check out our newest E.A.-themed products here.

You might want to look into setting up a EU version of the website that's linked to a EU based print on demand supplier. This will save shipping costs and delivery times substantially, 2 factors that are very important for consumers. 

"The universe is vast, dark, and cold, but we are not.

The laws of physics are indifferent to desperation, hope, or love. But we are not.

There is no destiny written for us in the stars, so we write our own.

The stars and the mountains do not care, but we do! There is light in this world and it is us!"

———--

from a secular solstice. I'd pre-commit to buying a t-shirt with any of those paragraphs with some cool cosmic futuristic design.

Done. Thank you for the inspiration!

Wow, that was quick!

I love it! A newsletter notifying you about new products would be great (assuming there is more to come). I'd love "existential hope" themed motives!

I'll try to set that up for sure!  In the meantime, you can follow us on Instagram @shop_misercordia  (https://www.instagram.com/shop_misercordia/). With regards to existential hope, I'm looking into some designs for utopian cities, as well.

Thank you so much!! 

Love this concept based on Brad West's paper. Maybe it's an idea for CEA to do their shirts for events with Misercordia? You could ask them. (Perhaps the most important advice I would give to a young social entrepreneur is to ask, ask, ask). 

Awesome stuff! The designs look really cool.

Have you joined the EA Creatives and Communicators Slack?

Also, are you looking for other designers to join your site?

It will be hard/impossible to find a design that suits everyone. One solution might be:

  • offer multiple design versions (let others submit them)
  • allow people to pre-commit to buying the designs of their choice
  •  if enough people for it to be worth it for you pre-commit to the same design, it will be printed and sold. Otherwise, nothing happens.

But yeah, much more effort!

Hi Tomer, congrats on the launch! I really love your designs. 

Some questions/ideas:

  1. What's the profit margin like for each item? It would be cool if there were transparency about the profit from each item, and maybe a ticker at the bottom tracking how much has been donated so far. 
  2. I'm a little blackpilled from seeing so many 'for good' clothing items be a total wash - the net amount donated per item is often tiny in comparison to just donating to the charity. For example, someone sells a shirt for $20, the costs associated with making/selling the shirt are $15, they net $5 profit to donate from each t-shirt. As a consumer, why wouldn't I just get a t-shirt at a charity/thrift shop for $2 and donate the $18 difference directly? 
  3. Another reason I'm a little cynical about clothing as a charity motivator is that a lot of people (in developed countries) are already pretty flush with clothing, and clothing is pretty labor and resource-intensive relative to the final product. Sewing/pieceing a garment is a difficult-to-automate task that requires a lot of (often poorly-paid) human labor for each shirt, a lot of resources for the cotton required to make the shirt, etc. Perhaps you should address your sourcing process on the site somewhere?
  4. With the above points being said, I would totally buy a 'shirt' - literally just a button on the website where I can donate $x (where x = profit from a shirt) to AMF/Clean Air Task Force. Maybe a little cheeky but could also be a good marketing point with some copy. Or maybe it links to an image file that someone could print to a transfer and iron-on to a thrifted shirt?