We wanted to develop a recycled cotton tee. At first, this seemed like a relatively simple task. We'd been in touch with a factory in California who was promoting this idea and expressed an interest in working with us. Easy right? Not really.
It turns out that this is unchartered territory, and it took us almost a year to get it right. Yes, there is a lot of talk about this type of product, and everyone is trying to figure it all out. But that's just it--everyone is figuring it out as they go. We've seen some tees out there that we were excited about that were blends of recycled cotton and polyester, but it turns out they wouldn't live up to our standards of durability and quality. In other instances, we've seen recycled tees that, in our opinion, are too expensive.
This is not a critique of the brands out there trying to make these products. It's just to illustrate how hard it is to do certain things, and to explain why most companies don't even try.
To put it plainly, using responsible factories who treat workers fairly while making a great product at a reasonable price is nearly impossible, especially for smaller companies who do not benefit from economies of scale. With patience and hard work, however, along with a less greedy business model, occasionally you can achieve these combined goals.
We've done it with our new recycled cotton tee. It's made from 100% recycled cotton that would normally be considered industrial waste. The yarns have been saved and repurposed to make new fabric and ultimately produce our tees. We're hoping that the time we took to get this right has proven worthwhile. The goal is for you, the consumer, to not have to think about whether the tee you're wearing is recycled or not. You shouldn't have to treat it any differently than any other t-shirt you own, and you certainly shouldn't have to pay more for it than necessary.
As we've explained in the past, our business has certain built-in margins that are absolutely necessary in order for us to operate and stay in business. The price of our recycled cotton tee reflects this. It is a real, fair price that allows us to pay the factory well, and it translates into fair wages for their staff. With the product we've made together, we can actually help keep industrial waste from being just that, waste, while simultaneously supporting a living wage for workers in America. This is a first step for us, and hopefully one that will lead to much better things.