One per fifty binders. Over five thousand sales means over a hundred binders made for folks for free.
That’s not even counting the over twenty donor-funded giveaways, or the couple hundred stock binders we’ve given to charities like LGBT nonprofits, student groups, and clothing swaps over the years.
The first time we did this, it was a celebration of having made it to fifty sales. I said, then, “here’s to fifty more!”, and it felt like a dream, a maybe, a Who Knows When. It was late 2014, then; I was still working full-time and sewing in the evenings, overemployed and underpaid, desperate for something better. Trans people were finding each other online in wild numbers, rapidly connecting, more and more every day.
The second time it seemed normal, obvious. “Here’s to a hundred more!” It’ll happen, I told myself, and maybe faster than we thought. When we hit 150 we decided it was officially tradition.
We hit five hundred somewhere around year two. Our tenth giveaway! It was wild. I think that was the first time we did a Spoonflower binder — as a prize for lucky number 10. “Here’s to five hundred more!” said I, on Tumblr, starry-eyed and, let’s be honest, a little disbelieving. How could I possibly dare to imagine that we’d do that again?
2015 was such a good year, a hopeful, heady year.
Every thousand since then has passed in a whirlwind: we were going full-time, we were moving, we were getting a studio space that wasn’t our dining room. We cleared five thousand just this summer, five years and a season after we started.
We’re still giving back at the same pace, one per fifty. Every binder you buy contributes $1 to a $50 binder that someone who needs it gets for free.
It feels more important than ever, now, to reserve that space for folks who need it. To send out this thing that’s useful, important, comfortable and identity-affirming, to people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to it. We see you, we hear you, and we want you to have this.
The next five thousand won’t be like the last. 2019 is not 2015, and who can even say what 2021 will bring. Our hard work now is in sustainability, not growth; we’re dedicated to setting up reliable supply lines, streamlining production, and paying our employees fair rates. On the culture side, we’re more determined than ever before to make chest binding an utterly unremarkable and normalized thing to do, for all our customers out there and everyone who might want to try.
So. Here’s to five thousand more.