Merch for Charity

The Skooled Zone will donate all proceeds from its merchandise store to some worthy causes! Check out the video for more info...

➽ Link to the Merch Store:

Video Transcript

Hey everyone and thanks for tuning into this special Homeroom Announcements video. I have a feeling I say a lot of the Homeroom Announcements are special, but this one is very special. The Skooled Zone swag store is now open for business. If you're a fan of the Skooled Zone or maybe just think the logo looks cool or what have you, then this is the time to jump on some sweet gear for your very own.

I decided to go with Spreadshirt as the vendor, at least for the first year, and see how things work out with them. The thing I like most about Spreadshirt is that they have actual human beings that you can talk to you on the phone if you ever need assistance with any troubleshooting on your account, unlike ahem Instagram. So that was a big bonus for me. They also have a very customizable shop interface. And of course, they take care of all the printing and shipping and returns and all that kind of stuff. They also have a way for me to directly access the data behind the sales which is going to essential for the most important element of the Skooled Zone merch store which I'll get into right now...

As some of you may have heard me elude to in past videos, I plan to donate all the profits from the merch sales to charity. Yup, you heard that right! I'm not going to keep a penny of profit for myself. This is an important thing I've been building towards for a long time. Some of you may have even seen the placeholder pages on the Skooled Zone website that mentioned my plans for it as far back as 2015. I want the Skooled Zone to be a force for good in the world and this is my small way of making that happen until I become a much bigger YouTuber and can do more.

But wait, Paul, isn't selling merch one of the ways YouTubers make money? Absolutely. In fact, some of the bigger YouTubers make a killing from selling their gear. But that's not my plan. This isn't intended to berate any other channels who want to pocket the money for themselves. If that's an important source of income for them, then that's their choice. But for the Skooled Zone, this is one of the ways I plan on giving back. I've always been a charitable person and I think everyone should include some form of charitable giving in their life. Not only does it give you that warm fuzzy feeling but I think it also opens you up to more opportunities in life. And if nothing else, it's spiritually fulfilling. For example, many religions around the world hold charity dear among their core principles. I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "Faith, hope, and charity." I don't personally ascribe to any particular religion. I just do it because it helps people.

But why the profits from the merch store, Paul, and not like your YouTube income? Well first of all, a brotha's gotta put food on the table, right? But nevertheless, that's still a relevant question. Here's my philosophy about merch in general. Branded merchandise is ultimately a form of advertising, right? When you buy a Nike t-shirt, for example, you strut around around basically advertising for them. Think about that for a second. You pay them money and become one of their walking billboards. It's kind of a strange concept if you think about it. Now the idea is that you want to promote their brand because you share a belief system with them or a brand holds a particular sense of status for you. More often this is the case with luxury items or bands or sports teams and stuff. You want to show either prestige or pride. But here's where my philosophy diverges. I feel like I shouldn't make money off you guys helping to market my channel. That just seems weird to me, ya know? I mean companies spend money all kinds of advertising. Why should they make money off this type of advertising? I don't know. It just seems weird. I should be thanking you guys for walking around with a Skooled Zone shirt on, ya know, showing pride in the channel, letting others know where to find it if they ask, that sort of thing.

Obviously there are costs to creating the products themselves. And of course Spreadshirt will take their cut for that as well as to cover the item itself, printing, shipping and handling and processing, their business margins and all that. The way Spreadshirt works is that they have a base price for an item and then the shop owner adds how much extra they want to make on top of that. Most channels add anywhere between $5 and $10 extra to that for themselves. But here's my plan. I've only tacked on one to three dollars to all the products in the store, depending on whether there's a design just on the front or on both the front and the back. That one to three dollars will be accessed to me and accumulated in a special account that will grow throughout the year. At the end of the year, I will take that total amount in profits from merch and make a lump sum donation to charity. I'll get into what kind of charities in a moment. But just so you know this will be 100% completely legit, I'm going to make a dedicated video at the end of the year announcing the total and show you guys screenshots from Spreadshirt's analytics and profit data. Then I will hand deliver a check to each of the charities and hopefully be able to record the event on camera if they'll let me. I don't see why they wouldn't. It'll be around Christmas time so it'll all be in the holiday spirit. In fact, along with the bag of 1Up Box toys I'll be taking to the children's hospital, this December is going to be a pretty philanthropic month for the Skooled Zone. It'll be fun.

Okay, now to some of my ideas for charities and then to some of the killer gear you can get your hands on from the store. There are many causes I believe in strongly. Things like caring for the environment and helping the sick and less fortunate. With the Skooled Zone having a learning theme, educational charities ought to be on that list. But there are two particular causes that are very important to me. The first one is animals and the second one is bullying. Obviously pro-animals and anti-bullying. I've always been a huge animal lover. Animals don't really have a voice to speak out in this world and let us know they need our help or you know, don't appreciate being harmed. You'll see me kill animals in video games because, you know, they're just video games. But in real life, I think animals play a much more important role in the world than most people realize. Now there are a thousand different angles to approaching the issue and it can get overwhelming for most, ya know? Should the focus be on preventing extinction? Should it be pet adoption? Should it be preserving natural habitats? You know, there are so many options. But you gotta start small and you gotta start somewhere because every little bit helps. One charity I'm leaning towards helps place pets with veterans. I think that's a worthy cause because it actually tackles two issues at once. There are so many pets in need of caring homes and there are so many vets that need the comfort and solace of a good pet. Pets do absolute wonders for mental health. I still have some more research to do, but the charity I donate to will be something along those lines.

As for the second charity, I think education is very important in a child's life. Obviously I wouldn't be running the Skooled Zone without a good education. But at the same time, there are also a lot of impediments to getting a good education. One of them is having a safe and stable environment in which to learn. Bullying is something that can stand in the way of that. Now matter how good you may be at school, grades can suffer if you feel like you're constantly having to watch over your shoulder or having to check your social media to see who is cyberbullying you. I realize this doesn't happen to everyone, but I'll be honest with you. It happened to me. Yup, your boy Paul here was hella bullied in school, mostly middle school. That was the worst! Now I solved my problem in a rather unusual way. I starting taking martial arts classes after school. I took it really seriously and ended up getting my black belt in Karate and then later in Kung Fu. That obviously solved the problem. And interestingly enough, it didn't solve it because I got into a bunch of fights with bullies. It solved the problem because the martial arts was a massive boost to my self-confidence and let's face it, bullies prefer the path of least resistance. If you look and act like you're not going to make it all easy for them to bully you, they move on to a more vulnerable target. Bullies in general deeply lack a sense of self-worth, which is different than self-confidence. You can have a great sense of self-confidence but lack self-worth just as you can have a great sense of self-worth but lack self-confidence. But I understand that not everyone has access to or can even afford martial arts classes and obviously martial arts classes don't help at all with cyberbullying. That's why I want to make this issue the second of the charities I focus on. I think all kids in school should feel safe and secure and excited for learning. And if you've ever been bullied yourself, you know the school system leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to tackling the issue. But there are several great non-profit organizations that are focused on both bullying and cyberbullying and I'll be doing some more research for a final choice.

Okay, so there ya go. Now that you know your money will be spent on good causes let's get into the logistics. The link to the Skooled Zone merch store is in the description below as well as in the channel banner. There will also be an entire dedicated webpage on the Skooled Zone website, which in case you don't know is simply Skooled.Zone. Just type that into the URL bar of your browser and it'll get you there.

So here's what I did for the merch shop. I picked out a handful of starting designs and put them on a bunch of products. You'll see items with the full Skooled Zone logo to others with just the text logo. I also included a few of my catchphrases, like Lootin' & Skoolin' as well as Love, Peace, Knowledge. This was just to get the store off the ground. I actually didn't realize how much work is involved in setting up a merch shop. It's kinda take me months to assemble to be honest. But it'll definitely be worth it in the long run.

And now that's it's up and running, I can keep adding more designs and more products week by week. For example, might be kinda cool to have a shirt with the logo and that little wacky kid yelling, "You got skooled, son!" behind it. Or even just the phrase "You got skooled, son!" which when spelled with a 'k' I've actually trademarked. And then later I'll add more slogans and memes and fun stuff related to the channel. So it'll be a constantly evolving place to check out.

Now a few notes about Spreadshirt. Some of their items may seem a bit pricey. I just wanted to let you guys know that's what they charge. As I said earlier, I've only added a couple of dollars to their base price for the charity element. However, the reason they're a bit pricey is because they have very high quality items. For example, their shirts are often name brands like American Apparel and stuff like that. They also use super-high quality printing methods, so you'll be assured to get your money's worth. And of course, you'll be helping the channel out by using the item with pride as well as helping out animals and helping to stamp out bullying. So it's a win-win!

Last thing I'll say is that I'm open to suggestions for the merch store. In fact, I have a feedback form on the website specifically for giving merch suggestions. And since I'm a graphic designer for my day job, it wouldn't be too hard for me to crank out a new design or add a new product to the line-up pretty quickly. Let's say, for example, you really like the LPK design but you want it on a hat or let's say you really like the logo but you don't see that on a particular mobile phone case you own. All you gotta do is head over to the Skooled Zone website, go to the Contact page and then under merch, click on merch suggestions. You can leave a comment down below as well, but I'll be giving priority to the people who actually email me with their ideas. You know maybe you like lootin' and skoolin' slogan but want it on a blue shirt instead of just white or black. Go ahead and leave me that suggestion. The reason I'm doing this is because there are literally hundreds of possible combinations between all the designs and the products they offer. I got through a few dozen and then said, why not basically add more items on-demand.

Just a few notes about that though. I will only be using the Skooled Zone color scheme, which is basically yellow, white, black, and blue, sometimes gray or green too. But mostly the first four. So if you want something in red or purple, for example, it may not get made. And remember that if you make a suggestion for a design and I use it, it has to be available for everyone. It's not about giving credit, do it because you really want to buy that new item or you think others will like it.

And really I think that's about it. Oh and if any of you want to show your Skooled Zone pride and send me a selfie wearing one of the items or drinking out of a Skooled Zone mug or whatnot, and I will post it on either Twitter or Instagram. More likely Instagram since Instagram's kind made for that sort of thing. Best way to do that is to actually post it yourself to somewhere, either privately like Dropbox or Google Drive or on one of your social media accounts and then send me the link from the Skooled Zone contact page. If it gets approved, you'll see it appear on the Skooled Zone socials within the week as a sincere thank you for showing that team spirit. In fact I may even call it like the Skooled Zone pep club or pep squad or something like that. Could be fun.

All right guys. Thanks again for being with me on this next step in the YouTube journey. Grab some of that killer swag and let's make that donation to the charities sizable. If you have any questions, feel free to ask below, I usually answer within a day or two. And with that, we'll see you back here soon for more gaming goodness. As always, LPK...

Love, Peace, Knowledge.