Boy, do we have a lot of trouble with terminology in our office. For starters, we’re in the “promotional products industry,” selling “custom-printed merchandise.”
Exactly. Even some of our best clients aren’t yet familiar with those terms.
On top of that, we’re in a niche market within our industry, selling Union Made in USA, locally made, and fairly traded products collectively known as “sweatfree products,” another slippery term that makes people scratch their heads. When you say “sweatfree t-shirt” to the woman on the street, she’ll probably think you’re talking about a t-shirt that’s specially made to prevent unsightly sweat stains. Actually, we cheerfully explain, sweatfree means the t-shirt was made by workers who were not mis-treated, and who have the freedom to bargain collectively if they so choose. (“What’s ‘bargain collectively?'”, she retorts. Sigh.)
“Sweatfree” Sweatshop-Free Apparel
Well…try this one on for size…the “moisture management” sweatfree t-shirt. Yes, that’s right…it’s a sweatfree sweatfree t-shirt. Which, now that I think about it, is actually pretty cool despite adding to the general confusion. A sweatfree t-shirt that doesn’t get sweaty? That’ll do nicely.
The moral of the story, of course, is that even pedantic or confusing terms always describe something basic. Sometimes your group needs t-shirts or other products, with your logo printed on them. And when it comes time to place that order, you can always do so while building up the middle class, rather than tearing it down.
Yeah, it may be a little bit more expensive to do the right thing by way of domestic and foreign workers. But at such times it’s useful to remember another sweaty phrase: