This week we are honored to feature a guest post from Adila, Founder of The Good Tee. We love their products and their mission and they have some great advice for learning how to make sure you are shopping from transparent and ethical companies! Enjoy and thank you Adila for your wise advice!
(You can shop The Good Tee HERE)
Are you looking to make better shopping choices? Do you want to shop ethical, sustainable and put your money towards companies that do good. With a lot of green washing and fancy words it’s hard to make decisions.
As shoppers, we rarely consider the implications our purchases have on the communities who actually make the clothes we wear and as a result companies are incentivized to drive prices and quality lower. However, there are ways to produce market products ethically and sustainably.
Transparency is the magic ingredient to purchasing with purpose. Fashion supply chain transparency ensures that brands monitor and report manufacturers, factories, products and partnerships. Without oversight, brands will look the other way to human rights abuses and environmental harm caused by fashion manufacturing.
There is a complete disconnect between manufacturers and consumers. If you know who makes your clothes and who is working hard to make your products why not share that information? Who’s with me?
Let’s break it down for you:
1. Honesty, openness = Supply Chain Transparency Map
Supply chain transparency from start to finish allows brands to ensure that no one is taken advantage of and that they can offer customers a guarantee of the same when they shop with them. What information is the company disclosing? Does it look like a lot of fancy words or can they show you on their website, and share some real life data and share information about the partners the work with?
Check this out:
At The Good Tee, we agree that doing better should not be a challenge, which is why we partner with suppliers who share a common vision of efficiency, openness and transparency. Our mandate is to be transparent and truthful. Most typical brands do not know or disclose the actual specifics of their production operation. Sometime it’s just that they just don’t know who is making their clothes. In contrast to many fashion brands, we publicly share information regarding our supply chain.
2. Sharing Thoughtful Stories and Video
Clothes are made by humans, not machines. How can we know for sure? Look out for brands that share videos, real life stories and personal touches matter. It helps you connect with your product and feel good about your purchases. Do the companies you purchase from share the human side to making the things you own?
Check this out:
- As an example of their dedication to illustrating transparency in their operations, The Good Tee published a video walkthrough of their parent factory in India, Assisi Garments, which was started in 1994 and run by Franciscan Nuns as a means to support their old age home and orphanage.
- Sharing Maker stories:
Meet Porkodi, Selvi is her nickname. She is a sample sewer at the factory that manufactures Good Tee. She works in the sampling department, where new styles are developed before it goes into production. The Good Tee had the pleasure of talking and learning about Porkodi. Here's what she had to say:
❓. How would your family describe you? A:Porkodi: My family would say I am hardworking and lovable! My son would say I am a friend to him.
❓. How do you define love?A: Porkodi: I believe love is forgiveness. Every day my son may make mistakes but I always forgive.
❓. What are you grateful for? A: Porkodi: I am always grateful for my parents because they have always cared for me since childhood.
3. Willingness to share information so you understand where their money goes.
The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. Who really pays the price for our clothing? We’ve been so used to seeing a $5-10 t-shirt, we can’t fathom why it would cost over $30?
The perfect starting point is our beloved plain jersey cotton t-shirt!
Since The Good Tee is uses Fair Trade Certified Organic Cotton, the price of material is higher. If you are unfamiliar, conventional cotton uses several harmful toxic chemicals (such as dangerous insecticides like aldicarb, parathion, and methamidopho) to grow which aren’t only damaging our soil, but the communities growing the crops. By using a strictly regulated clean fiber, you are ensuring the safety and well being of farmers, our own health and the planet’s. Fairtrade cotton also protects farmers, since 1997, nearly 200k farmers in India alone have commited suicide.
From the fiber to the trimming from the production to the duties (18%!!!) we openly share all the costs. Now, after you see it takes almost $10 to just make a fair trade t-shirt.
The associated costs of doing business is another disconnect many consumers have. When you spend so much time creating a brand, it would be nice to profit the full $30, but not even close. You still have overhead to pay for (which would be your warehouse or store front), and if you are also a wholesaler you would have additional cuts in order to provide for other retailers. Your employees - and the owner - must be paid. The Good Tee manufactures offshore but still employs domestically. Most of the product development is done locally, and they have a graphic designer, technical designer, pattern maker and sample maker to create every style. Then you have marketing, which is such an important part of a business and should account for 8% of your gross revenue. After all is said and done, you want to reinvest in the business and new product, which takes money, too.
Transparency & The Good Tee
From seed to shelf, The Good Tee stands apart from most ethically labelled brands because we are actively involved in the entire production process, and manages the full supply chain. The Good Tee believes in having close relationships with the suppliers and factories that support her company and travels to India annually to build and grow long-term relationships and understand the makers.
We believe in humanizing the apparel industry and celebrating the makers who make our clothing. We maintain fair and honest relationships with our manufacturing partners and emphasize 100% transparency of a traceable supply chain. We created The Good Tee to make it easier for you to purchase guilt-free, responsibly made fashion basics.
To learn more about The Good Tee visit here.