So if getting a call from Burning Man's attorney wasn't enough, I get the following email from a Burner (names have been withheld to protect the innocent):
Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2008 7:19 AM
Subject: Yahoo! WebHosting Email
I saw your ad posted on a sidebar in gmail making some obscure reference to using your product at Burning Man. I just have to say that your product is on the opposite spectrum on everything that BM stands for, and furthermore promotes a one-time-use lifestyle. Please remove your Burning Man links for advertisement. Thank you.
Here is the email thread that followed:
On Mon, Aug 11, 2008 at 8:55 PM, Martha Van Inwegen wrote:
Hi XXXX! Sorry for the late response, but I've been out of town till this afternoon.
I appreciate your vision of staying true to what BM stands for, but I'm not sure how we differ from the hundreds of other vendors advertising their wares through google adwords and other means, the attached are just a couple I captured on one site minutes ago. And I won't even get into BM's control of their "brand" and how they make money.
Last year, we stayed true to the vision by offering our wipes to participants at no cost - all we asked in return was to send us comments. We even took the time to cover our labels in the spirit of the BM charter. Overall, we gave over 2,000 packs at value of $19,000- a generous gift wouldn't you say? Of the 2,000 folks that took us up on our offer, less than 5% gave us feedback. So this year, when those same 2,000 people started asking us for wipes, we advised we could not afford it, but they could be purchased.
If you had actually read about our wipes, you would know that we are far from promoting a one-time-use lifestyle. Our wipes are reusable and recyclable. They can be washed multiple times and repurposed for other uses, unlike the baby wipes many will most likely purchase by the hundreds at Costco, Walmart or Target. Further, unlike those baby wipes that are made in China, we ensure everything is made here in California. Way more expensive for us, but we have values XXXX.
As you know, the theme this year is "American Dream", for which they ask: "What has America achieved that you admire?" I admire that America allows who ever wants, to participate in its economic development and entrepreneurial spirit. We're a very small company XXXX, it's just me and my husband, trying to make a go of the American Dream. Please don't judge us.
If you would actually like to try our wipes before you berate them any further, I would be more than happy to send some for you and your friends. Just send me an address, or come see us on Sunday at Prepare for the Playa.
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2008 10:28 PM
To: Martha Van Inwegen
Subject: Re: Burning Man Ad
I am touched by your response to my comment about your product. I do apologize for my quickness to judge without reading further. I am currently residing in Portland, OR but visiting family in upstate New York at this time. The lack of consren for conservation and the concept of recycling astounds me in the place in which I grew up [NY].
I saw your ad while reading a Burn related email, and due to recent conversations i have had about disposable lifestyles, I was unduly frustrated. I have read about your product further and am very interesed in trying it. I will pass on my address, but I am just as comfortable purchasing it. Is there a retailer in Portland that carries them?
Thank you again for your kind response.
On Tue, Aug 12, 2008 at 12:29 PM, Martha Van Inwegen wrote:
XXXX, thank you. As we are still too young in the industry, we don't have any retailers outside of our own city :-( But I want to gift you the wipes, so I will ship them out today.
You'll appreciate more our final vision - and that is to purchase a local piece of property so that we can turn it into an organic teaching farm and get off the grid completely. But they say it takes 5-7 years to get a company off the ground, so for now, we live vicariously through our friends at Windrose Farms (www.windrosefarm.org).
Enjoy your time with friends and family in NY and have a safe trip home!
On August 13, XXXX Wrote:
Wow, amazing paradigm shift! I am looking forward to handling your product and admire your direction in general.
Best of luck!