Please press play and watch the entire video below IN FULL to hear our official response regarding the FTC Lawsuit.
Guys, what's up. Sean Whalen here, founder and CEO of Lions Not Sheep. I wanted to take a second here and address specifically to our friends and our fans and all of our clients. Obviously there's going to be a whole bunch of trolls that won't even watch this video that have zero care about what the truth really is. But I wanted to make this video specifically for those of you who are friends of ours, who are clients of ours, who have been following Lions Not Sheep, and have seen the onslaught of absolutely ridiculous barrage of media attacks against me and against Lions Not Sheep, and a lot of misinformation here in the last couple of days.
But first things first I wanted to give you guys a really quick backstory on Lions Not Sheep and how we got to where we are. I started this company in 2016. We started selling apparel on a full-time basis, really in 2020, in the middle of 2020. And having never run an apparel company before, grown in an apparel company, I reached out to a number of my friends that had, took insight, took counsel, took coaching from them, and hired a lawyer, got all of our legal stuff done and got the company up and running. When we first started Lions Not Sheep, it's just like any other company.
The number one thing that you're looking for is how to source apparel and how to source garments to be able to put your slogans or your names or your brand or whatever, whatever. And as we were looking, we connected with different companies here in Utah, which is where we're based, California, a couple other places, and these are all wholesale vendors. So these are companies that go and buy blanks from overseas, from different places, so on and so forth. So picture or shirts like this. This is a next level shirt. And what's really interesting is that as a side note, we've actually never sold a single shirt that's come from China, which is really funny, because all the headlines read China right now, but this is a shirt that is from next level and this is what's considered in the apparel industry a blank.
So there's nothing on it. And what in a company will do is we started learning the process and making our shirts is that if we have somebody else manufacturing and making these shirts, they would charge us to take the tag out. It's called white labeling, and it's completely legal. It's completely regulated by the FTC. And this is what companies have been doing for years and years and years and years is white labeling blanks. So I bet you right now, if you have a T-shirt, if you take it off and you look at the tag you're and you have some sort of logo or slogan on here, they probably don't have a next level tag in here.
It's a tag or a stamp from whatever the company is, whatever patriotic, 2A, God fearing, gun tot and freaking patriot company that you're following, they probably have their own information in here. So literally what they will do is they'll tear the tag out. They'll take the tag out, which again is completely legit, completely legal regulated by the FTC, and they will replace it with their own, either screen print or heat transfer. We chose not to do that out of the gates because it was more expensive because as I was trying to grow the company, I was trying to work on the company, and not necessarily the manufacturing the garments. And so it's really interesting. The first few hundred thousand garments that came out of Lions Not Sheep apparel literally had these tags on them.
So if you're watching this right now and you've bought a shirt from me or my company over the last two years, take it off and look at the tag. And chances are, you have a next level or a district tag on here, which has made in Nicaragua written right there on the tag, right? So to kind of squash some of the bullshit that's been floating around here. Number one, I did a video in 2020 telling people that I buy blanks, that I buy blanks from wholesalers and different companies all over the country. And as inventory goes up and goes down, we're buying and selling and all kinds of other stuff. I talked about in 2020, that this is how we buy our shirts. All of our Lions Not Sheep apparel comes from blanks and we get them from multiple different companies.
And the reason I specifically talked about in the video that we didn't take the tag off is because it costs more money to do it. Well, last year in 2021, we connected with a great partner of ours, an American company who is owned and operated by a retired Navy seal. And we worked out a larger deal because we're getting more volume to be able to put our own labels in here, because to be candid, this doesn't look professional. For me, selling you a Lions Not Sheep shirt with somebody else's name and somebody else's brand in here, it just didn't look professional. I was like, "It's time to level up our game." So we decided to work a deal out, where we could put our own labels inside of the shirt.
Now, what's really interesting, and again, not very many people choose to look up the facts or know anything about this, but in order to say that a garment is made in the USA, made in America, made in the USA, whatever it is, prior to August of last year of 2021, what you had to do was have all or virtually all of the manufacturing and the production of that garment happen here in American soil. So if you're wearing a shirt that says made in America, there's a high probability, as in like a 99% chance that your garment was made somewhere else. The actual shirt, the sewing of it, the cotton, the spinning of it was actually made someplace else. And there's a high likelihood it was probably overseas somewhere.
Now, you had to have three separate points of commerce happen here on domestic soil to be able to say, made in America. Again, I'm just giving you all the facts here. You guys can choose what you want to do with it, say what you want to say after this, but this is how I've run the company, and how I've built the company, and this is what we're doing. So the reality is us being able to screen print this, heat transfer this, bag, tag, all of these different aspects of commerce that my employees do here in Utah. They have people that I have employed here domestically in my warehouse. These are all points of commerce. Then prior to August, as I mentioned, in order to state that it was made in America, assembled in America, printed America, any of those other things, those things had happened, which we were doing.
So prior to August of 2021, we were in compliance to the best of our knowledge and the best of our capacity. And according to our lawyers and everybody else of what the FTCs made in America claims were. Now, the FTC made a change to those regulations and those stipulations on, I believe it was August 13th, 2021. Now just like you're probably not on the DMV website hitting refresh every day wondering what the new driving policies are and driving regulations are, we're not on the FTCs website checking up on policies and regulations every day. I'm not blaming it, blaming anybody, I just flat out don't do it. Haven't done it. I don't know very many CEOs or business owners that are on government websites hitting refresh all day long reading long, lengthy, very ambiguous documents wondering if they're still in compliance.
In August, the FTC change there, rules and regulations, and based off of their change, they changed it to literally all of the garment had to be processed and made here, including the seams, including the stitching, including the material, here in America. Well, there was about a six week period of time that we did not know that the FTC changed the regulations. In October of 2021, I got a letter from the FTC saying, "Hey, we understand that you guys are selling a lot of apparel. We would like to take a look and make sure that you guys are all compliant with everything that we have going on with made in America, made in the USA claims." I said fantastic. We spent two months and literally gave the FTC every garment that we'd ever made, every ad that we'd ever run, the entire deal.
And we found out that for about a six week period of time, we were technically out of compliance, Ohio owned that 150%. Now the FTC decided to come after our company. Admittedly, we were selling shirts that said #FJB. We have a very, very liberal organization there in DC right now that doesn't necessarily believe the same things that I believe politically. So there was a little bit of, hey, we have a big target on our back and they rightfully, probably came after us, okay? Now, we went through the hoops with the FTC. We gave them everything and they came back and they said that we were out of compliance. All we have to do is make these changes and they're going to issue us a fine.
We said fantastic. They didn't drag us under the bus. They didn't throw out any of these other things that you've seen floating all over the media, bogus claims this, that, and the other. We were 150% in compliance with the FTC until those six weeks when we weren't. Now, to put in perspective, we have sold as a company, north of 600,000 garments, 600,000 total units. And the amount of garments in that period of time was next to nothing. It was very, very, very small. It was marginally small. So the FTC decided to come back and fine us $212,000, which I was not very happy about, okay? Now here's the point.
I knew that I was doing things the right way based off of all the work that we had done, the work that our attorneys had done, the work that all of these other companies, all of my mentors and coaches and the people that I was looking at were doing, right? Now, understanding that we did come out of compliance for those six weeks period of time, what the FTC has chosen to do, which is fairly egregious, and quite frankly, it's absolutely just completely ridiculous is state that our company is basically defrauding everybody that we've been tearing off Chinese tags. Again, we've never had a Chinese tag on any of our shirts, and basically duping the marketplace from day one, which is complete and utter bullshit, because at the end of the day, the small window of time that we were out compliance, I owned up to and said I will pay the fine.
I did want to fight. And let me tell you why a lot of people have asked me over the last 24 hours, "Well, if you weren't wrong, then why didn't you fight?" I'll tell you exactly why, because I've got almost 20 employees that rely on a job. They rely on this company moving and thriving and moving forward in order to stay employed. Had I fought the FTC, which I really, really, really wanted to do, ask anybody that knows me. They will tell you, I absolutely wanted to go down that path. And I wanted to set the precedents for other small businesses to show that you can't keep screwing around with small businesses. The FTCs not here to help us, it's not here to make sure that I'm in compliance. They want to absolutely nuke and obliterate any conservative company that they can.
But I digressed. The reason that I did not fight is because according to my lawyers, it would've taken $1.5 to $2 million in north of five years to fight them. Now, here's the issue. It wasn't about the money for me. I will spend the money to stand on my principles. I will spend my money to stand on what I knew to be right, and I will continue to do that. The fact of the matter is that at any point in time, during that five year period, the government, the FTC could have come in and issued a cease and desist, and then would've put me out of business. And ultimately I chose that, I had to sacrifice this battle to win the war and to keep my company going.
So I know that a lot of you all have a lot of questions and there's a whole bunch swirling around, and this is literally a political witch hunt you've seen far right. All of these conservative things and trump and mag and all this other crap around the company. And there's a reason for it because it's catchy headlines. But at the end of the day, we owned up to our mistake, which was a very, very, very small mistake in the context of things. And anybody who knows anything about my company, anybody that knows anything about me knows that two years ago, the videos by the way are still public for all of you trolls that actually want to put in the time to look, of me sharing with the marketplace, you, how we buy our clothes, where we buy our clothes, how we produce our clothes and everything that we do.
So the idea that somehow we've been lying and deceiving and defrauding and scamming all of these people, it's really hard to sail that freaking boat. When literally two years ago I was public telling the entire world both on Facebook and on Instagram that we buy our shirts as blanks from other companies like this that are imported from different places all over the world. So that's that. I just wanted to recap all this stuff with you all. If you have any questions, hit me up in the comments below. Spare me all the made in China, made in China, made in China, because it's not true.
But I'm sure a whole bunch of you will because a lot of you just love to read the smut and the headlines and pay no attention to what's actually happening. As a side note, I want to say this, we've also had a shit ton of love coming from you all today. Because a lot of you that have been following me, know the blood, sweat, and tears that I put into building this company from scratch, from one freaking T-shirt to literally almost a million garments. We literally have people around the world that represent this brand, that understand what it means and what we stand for. A lot of people don't know this, but Lions Not Sheep came to me during one of the darkest times of my life.
It was a personal mantra to me. I chose to be a lion, not a sheep. I chose to lead and not be led for the first time in my life after going through a really nasty time in my life when I went through a divorce, I went through a bankruptcy. I was radically depressed, and I was suicidal. Lions Not Sheep came to me and it became my personal mantra almost two years before I ever even uttered it, before anybody even knew what it was, before I ever incorporated it or even made a T-shirt it was what drove me to become a better man. So a lot of you that have a lot of judgment and you want to fire off the things because you read the headlines, go right ahead. I really don't give a damn.
But this is for you guys out there who want to build something big, who are watching what we're doing, who really enjoy and appreciate what we're doing at Lions Not Sheep, I see you, and I'm not going to fucking stop. And the government can come in and find us 212. Okay. We'll pay our freaking dues. We'll keep moving. We'll keep building. We'll keep getting better. So at the end of the day, my friends, I wanted to share this with you because number one, I love and appreciate your support. I love and appreciate the tribe that we're building. I love and appreciate what we're doing as a company, as a whole. And more than anything, I really felt it important for me to share this message with you guys so that you understood my side of the story.
Because for the last seven months, I haven't been able to really say a whole lot of anything about this. And it's been really difficult for me to do. And it's been really difficult to see all the smut that's being pedaled for obvious reasons, because it makes for good TV and good reality and gets a lot of clicks and a lot of click bait shit. But at the end of the day, like I'm not going to stop continuing to grow this company scale this company, build this company. And I'm going to continue to be transparent with all of you like I am now, like I was two years ago, like I've been since day one of this company. So if you've got any questions, feel free to hit me below. If not, my friends, thank you very much. I love you, I appreciate you, God bless you.