Why are your prices higher than I'm used to?

Simply, because we are an educational organization first, and a store second!  Everything we make from selling our calendars, t-shirts, posters and everything else goes right back into supporting our main mission.  We charge what we do for our products and for shipping to ensure that our store supports more than just itself - but our outreach educational work as well! A purchase from The Caterpillar Lab Store is in many ways similar to making a contribution to natural history education and getting a little something nice in return. Know that your purchase is helping to support a great caterpillary cause! 

Okay, I understand that, but shipping still seems high!

Part of making sure the store helps support our main mission is setting shipping prices high enough that we don't lose any money on shipping.  We try our best to keep shipping costs reasonable.  In the case of International Shipping, for many regions we are forced to set our shipping prices quite high to account for the variability in shipping internationally.  If you are concerned with shipping costs, especially if you are ordering from outside the United States, please email Jesse Varga at varga@thecaterpillarlab.org.  

I'm in the UK or the EU and you won't even ship to me!!!

And we're really sorry about that.  Due to changes in import tax laws in 2021 (specifically regarding VAT), we've had to remove the United Kingdom and any country in the European Union from countries we are able to ship to.  The new requirements mean we would have to charge VAT up front, and register with appropriate UK/EU groups to pay that tax.  We've done some research and, quite simply, we are out of our depth.  In in the brutal math of running a small non-profit, the amount we would need to pay a tax expert to make sure we would be handling these taxes correctly is more than any profits we would gain from UK and EU sales.  We may reassess this decision for the future, but for the time being we just can't ship to those regions.  Again, our deepest apologies!

Why are so many products / sizes / designs out of stock!?

Again, this ties into making sure our store is working for our greater mission.  To order anything, we often need to order larger amounts from our producers for a greater discount.  If the desire for a certain product isn't there, or if one size or design is sold out, we can't always reorder for that certain product, size or design until we can make the order large enough to meet a threshold for a lower cost.

In the case of our t-shirts, we lost our printer a couple years ago, and haven't been able to find a new one that's up to our standards.  It is surprisingly difficult to find a printer that can faithfully replicate our fantastic images on a t-shirt, without having to charge our customers an arm and a leg!  We are still searching, and hopefully we will be able to restock some of our most popular image shirts soon!

I want to see a certain product / species / design in your store!

Thanks for your interest in our caterpillar swag!  We try to expand our offerings when we can!  If you have a request, you can email Jesse Varga at varga@thecaterpillarlab.org to ask about it.  Here are some reasons why we might not be able to offer what your caterpillary-heart desires:

  • It costs too much.  We often can't place the bulk orders required to get some products down to a reasonable cost to us, and we would then have to mark up the cost to our customers so much that we don't think many folks would want it.
  • We don't have the images for it.  Although our catalogue of caterpillar, moth and butterfly images is expanding all the time (mostly due to the tireless photography efforts of our director, Sam Jaffe), we might not have the right images to showcase a particular species or design.
  • We don't think it would be popular.  As much as we would like to create products to suit the caterpillar tastes of all our fans, we do have to limit what we create based on how well we think it will sell.  If you do want to see something specific and think others would like it too, send Jesse a message (see email above) or message or comment on our Facebook page!

I ordered a product that comes with a key, but it didn't come, or I lost it!

Sorry about that!  You can click here to find links to download all the keys we have for our color theme, rainbow and tower posters.

Something is wrong with my order!

Jesse Varga manages our store, and he would be happy to help with any questions, issues, or concerns you have with an product you received, an order you placed, an order you haven't placed, or anything in between!  Email him at varga@thecaterpillarlab.org.

I ask a specific question quite frequently, but it's not on here!

Send Jesse an email (see above in like, four places) so he can update this list!