Buying Lifestock on Behalf of JustZen’s Customers

Yes, you read that right – JustZen bought some livestock.

A Cow

A Goat

and some Chicks

How did this come about?

A few years ago JustZen started to offer free hairbands in exchange for a donation – any donation – towards a group of foster children JustZen supports around the world in developing countries. These donations were to fund some extra boost for the holidays.

This was such a successful action that it became permanent. Now, any donation wins the donor an entry to a raffle for a free mudmee tie-dye. The drawing for the free item happens when the donations reach two hundred dollars.

Just in time for the holidays that happened again. But this time it was possible to actually decide that these extra donations would go and thinking this over, what would do the greatest good, it was decided that it’s a cow for milk, a goat for the other kind of milk and chicks to grow up and lay eggs.

Thus – JustZen bought livestock on behalf of their customers.

The drawing for the free item will happen in a few day and the cycle will start over – and we will see how fast the $200-goal can be reached now.


Mountaineer Day and New T-Shirts

The last email that went out to JustZen’s customers and fans…

I might have mentioned it once or twice (or 100) times that part of JustZen’s operation – the corporate head-quarters – are up in the mountains high above Los Angeles. But don’t think of shiny chrome and glass sky-scrapers when you hear ‘corporate head-quarters’ – we are a very small mountain community of about 5000 and the highest things around here are the mountains.
Little bit of completely irrelevant trivia: we are at 5980 feet elevation which makes it just a bit over a foot per person 🙂
So, but why do I tell you this? This weekend, leading up to the forth of July, we have the Mountaineer days here in town with a fair and carnival, lots of food vendor and the whole town is in a festive mood.
This is the first time we take the opportunity to show our town that we exist and what we have to offer.
In order to have something new for the summer, we worked hard to get our new item – flared t-shirts with cap sleeves – ready.
And we even managed to get quite a few ready for the web site, so that not only Wrightwood can have them.
So, here’s how they look…

We sure hope you like them – we do  🙂
You can either click on the image above to get to the page for all our t-shirts (including the men’s t-shirts) or, as usual, you can View all New Items we added since the last update.
So, if you are in the greater Los Angeles area, it might be a good opportunity to learn about this little gem in the mountains. If you are a skier or snow-boarder in this area, I am sure you know about it – Mountain High is just around the corner.


PS: If you should manage to come up, swing by Gigi’s booth and tell her I sent you, I might get some nice treat later for dinner.

Season’s Greetings

With great appreciating for all of you who made our Wearable Art Tie-Dye such a big success, we are grateful that you gave us the opportunity to create something that we like to do and you like to have. We are specifically thankful that this also allows us to support our foster children in the developing world.

Thank you,
Merlin, Gigi and Zen

Yard Sale Frenzy

(reprint of an email sent out to our mailing list on memorial weekend)

Hope you are enjoying the long weekend!

Hi and hello – it’s Merlin from JustZen – today with a little report about the traditional yard and garage sale frenzy we experience here in our little mountain cummunity – the home of the JustZen coporate head quarter (I like to say that ‘coporate head quarter’ thingy because that makes our little tie-dye enterprize look so important.)  😉

Every year, on the long memorial weekend, the natives of our little community get into a frenzy – garages and storage spaces are emtied into the drive way. And the amazing situation is that the surrounding communities know about it!

Where you normally see the occasional car driving through a residsential street, now you have a traffic jam of predetors on the prowl for loot – the crap-hound is on the loose.

Sometimes you find some really good deal. On our first experience of this frenzy two years ago, for example, we found an 18 speed mountain bike for our son, Zen, for 15 bucks. Another 30 or 40 to fix minor things and he was all set, so that he never had to ask his parents to drive him somewhere again. (That, by the way, was withful thinking only.)

This year it was different for our son – he wanted to participate in the frenzy in an active role. He collected things, he could let go, over the last few month, got up really early on the first day of the frenzy and was ready for the crap-hounds.

It did not quite work as well as hoped for but at the end of the second day he off-loaded some of his ‘stuff’ and is some 20 bucks richer.

One interesting and comforting lesson we all learned: I encouraged him to believe in the honesty of potential customers and he set up a self service yard sale. The problem was that he was absolutely itching to go around and find good deals also, so he could not remain in his own yard all the time to watch his ‘stuff.’ Obviously he first wanted to hire me to sit and be his sales person while he was on the prowl.

I was not too eager to do that so we came up with the solution that he made a sign with the prices and a note to go up to the door and pay when they found something – and that worked great!

The next morning our son had to solve another problem – his dad – me – had worked very late and was still sleeping when the frenzy started and Zen also wanted to prowl – in other words, dad was not available to accept any payments. So Zen came up with the idea to just have a big box with a slot where buyers could leave their money for stuff they wanted.

And it worked! When hunger finally drove me out of bed, there was money in the box – not much, but enough to convince us, people in general are cool and honest.

Pity that Gigi missed the frenzy but she is at a show up in central California, at the Strawberry Festival in Arroyo Grande (Booth# A 31) – so skilful, how I weaved in this bit of information, yes? But should you be up there and plan to go only to see her, check with me first please. As I write this, late at night between Saturday and Sunday, it is not quite clear if she will still be there on Sunday. Normally at shows of more than one day, the participants just close up the booth and security is provided to watch. But in Arroyo Grande the city made everybody tear down and put up the display again in the morning. Gigi might not want to do this – it’s too tough.

So I thought that instead I will offer free shipping to everybody in the area up there. But hold on, that would not be fair to everybody who is not in Central CA – – – OK, free shipping for everybody for this long weekend  <grin>.

Peace-Up and Cheers,


PS: to get free shipping this weekend please use the rebate code prs88708 on checkout.

PPS: I really have to go to bed now, so excuse any spelling errors still in this email – – good night!

To all of you who have a mother…

(reprint of the newsletter send out mother’s day weekend 2011)

Happy Mother’s Day – Merlin here with something to say this time…

I know, the subject line is more or less pointless, because, let’s be honest, how many of you don’t have a mother? However I wanted to stress how easily they can be taken for granted when they are certainly not.

I thought about what would be an appropriate picture for today and decided to show you the image that Shelli sent in for our customer gallery.


Don’t you think this is a nice picture for mother’s day – working together with the daughter, to help her becoming proud and confident?

Now let me tell you a bit about my mom, and a little bit of a miracle that happened about and with her. If you are not interested, stop here, I promise there is no other  important information down there…

My mom has passed on long ago, and I am not sad about that, as she had had a good and fulfilled life when she said good-bye after about 80 years.

I can say that I was very lucky with her as she was not only my mom, but also a friend. We did not necessarily love each other all the time (she might have though) but we always had great respect for each other. Funny enough, my respect was firmly established when she told me that I was being kicked out should I not stop being such a disturbance to the family. Yup, the threat of being kicked out did that!

And why? Because that was the biggest display of personal integrity that I could imagine. She sure loved me, but she would not compromise her own reality that the basis for a good family was the security and sanity of that family. And I was spreading unrest during this time of growing up. So despite her love she would kick me out – – obviously it worked – I mended my evil ways and could stay. I then started to contribute to the family instead of bringing turmoil.

And now the bit of a miracle I promised in the beginning. My mom had not always been the oh, so positive and stable person. Just the opposite, until I was 13 or 14, she had actually been controlled, to a big degree, by her fears – that something bad would happen – to the kids, to my dad (who had a dangerous job) and to any or all – nothing in particular.

And then one summer, she had to go away on a trip with my dad for a few weeks while aunt Elsa baby-sat my sister and I.

She came back a totally different person. On her trip, she had met this old lady, a retired nurse, who apparently found just the right words and information mom needed, to get a new slant on life. From that moment on she was a very positive person, seeing no danger around her any more, even in (apparently) negative situations, saw the good that would come out of it.

Sure, she annoyed the pessimists and nay-Sayers, but we considered this a small price to pay. This experience gave me the confidence that instant changes to the positive are possible to such a big extent as to call them miracles.

In this sense, if you are a mother, my deepest respect to you, and if you are not, please say ‘hi’ to your mom from me.

Peace-Up and Cheers,

PS: OK, so I lied above when I said there would be no more important information – I do have some info that I want to pass on – Gigi is at the Sunset Beach Art Festival, close to Huntington Beach in California (Booth# 517corner) this weekend.

Released into the Wild

This is the time of the year where we usually get very busy and no time is left to sit back for just a moment and look at all the things we can be happy and grateful for.

But I just made the time anyway and it makes me warm and tingly all over. You might know that we here at JustZen strongly believe in the flow of things – good things can only come if we first create and give out good things. One of those positive things we put out is the support of foster children around the world. You might have read a bit about that on the page where we talk about the philosophy of

Supporting foster children around the world through first ChildReach and then PlanUSA predates JustZen by many years. It all started with my (Merlin’s) Father when I myself was only a child. He started to sponsor some foster children and I just grew up having ‘siblings’ around the world. When my father passed away, many, many years ago, it was clear that I would continue the obligation he had entered into and I continued his sponsorship until his two foster children graduated from the program.

Similarly natural was the decision to get more foster children after that graduation and then later, through the great love and appreciation we get through our tie-dye clothing, we were then able to adopt even more children in more parts of our planet.

It is always a great moment when we get letters from, and progress reports about, ‘our’ children, but what, just today, gave me this moment of deep love and appreciation was stumbling over the folder of one of our ‘graduates.’

Arnad came into our family when he was seven years old.

Over the years we got many letters and pictures from him and we learned about progress and improvements in his life as well as his family’s and  his village’s. PlanUSA does not pick a single child and gives it money. In following Lao Tzu’s wise remark “Give a Man a Fish, Feed Him For a Day. Teach a Man to Fish, Feed Him For a Lifetime” they help to improve the whole situation in an area through infrastructure and education. If an area has improved so that the changes are stable and don’t need any pampering any longer the participants in the area graduate from the program and resources can be funneled into different parts of the world.

That means, learning that one of our foster children has graduated from the program is always a great moment. But it is also a bit like releasing them into the wild, probably not to be seen again. This is never connected with any sensation of loss, just the opposite – it’s pride that we were able to help others to stand on their own.

Arnad recently graduated from the program at the age of 16. He is now in tenth grade and in this picture he is (I believe) working on some home work or perhaps getting his home work checked out.

You can imagine that an event like this creates just more urge to do more. We thought about how we can do this and we though of all our customers that might be able to pitch in a bit. So we came up with an idea we consider a win-win situation. In past years we had always free hairbands before the holiday – and we want to do this again this year, but with a twist.

We want to hear from you that you want one and you do this by donating something towards our growing family of foster children. It does not matter how much – make it one penny, make it a dollar or make it ten. As long as we get any donation from you we will add a hairband (or if you prefer, a scrunchy.) You can leave us a message in the notes section under the shipping info what you like and what color you prefer.


I guess I should tell you where to go – just in case you came here not from our main web site. You find us at and I have added a ‘Donation for our foster Children’ field at the end of the shipping info, just below the ‘Notes and Instructions’.

UPDATE Feb 9, 2011: It was really great to see the generosity of some of you! “Free Hair Band for a Donation” was intended as a pre-Christmas action but we just let it run a month longer, until we finally stopped and sent out our check to PlanUSA – not without first matching each and every of your donations because we did not want to be short of your generosity.

The holidays are over now and we ended this action, but somehow we felt there should be some way for you to continue to help us out with our foster children. So, here is what we came up with: You can still make a donation on checkout and we enter all your names into a raffle and whenever we reach $200 in donations we have a drawing for one items. We get in touch with the winner and let him or her choose a piece from our website.

How does that idea sound?

Holiday Shopping in Summer

The summer is still upon us, and so it is not really time to think about holiday shopping, but if you are like me then you are always for the look out for that specific little present for a special person – independent of the time of year I must say.

It can be hard to wait for Christmas if you have found that one thing already in summer because you are burning with anticipation to give. So why not give it right now – you don’t really need to wait for the holidays.

Now the question, where do you usually find those very special gifts? Probably not in one of the big department stores. It’s these little specialty stores where you can stumble over that little Chinese porcelain pot that’s missing in Hanna’s collection of that totally right lace tank for Emily.

Getting to these little specialty stores can require a lot of foot work, but fortunately with the internet many of those specialty stores are coming to you now, and you can save the soles of your shoes and do the foot work in your slippers.

Speaking of that lace tank for Emily…

tie dye mudmee lace tank

Here I am now at the subject I wanted to arrive at as you probably guessed – after all this is the companion bLog for that specialty website that brings you the most unique tie –dye you will find in all the lands –

It is true that large retailers are a great place to shop for holiday gifts. Particularly as the holidays close in, they do tend to run sweeping sales. Plus, they have a huge selection. You have the comfort of buying — or at least browsing for — many gifts in one location.

But if you desire to relieve the stress of pre-holiday shopping I can only recommend to start as early as nobody else and if this one special person has any interest in unique clothing I must say you have definitely found one of those places where you can find solutions for your shopping list.

Let’s look at gift giving once more from a bit different perspective. You don’t really have to wait for the holidays, a ‘just so’ present is probably much more appreciated that one expected during the holiday. Right now with the summer in full swing why not get one of those beautiful tie-dye tank tops for the warm days.

And if you really want to wait for the colder time of year you can get that tie-dye hooded jacket with built-in admiration now and keep it for the holidays – if you are able to stand the anticipation of giving so long.

tie-dye mudmee hooded jacket