For this Arizona company, garment decorating is about more than fashion; it’s a platform for socially responsible business.
When Nelson and his wife, longtime sustainable shoppers, happened to go into the studio in January 2016, they found themselves talking with the team for hours. Nelson soon jumped on board, buying out Bealle and partnering with Shah to further the emphasis on sustainability while increasing profitability. One of the first problems Nelson tackled was how to cost-effectively exemplify the business’s core values from top to bottom. This involved reassessing the elements of sustainability, refocusing the brand on a clearly defined target market, and developing improved pricing models utilizing contract printing and in-house design.
“The manufacturing supply chain from ‘dirt to shirt’ to the people who make and wear the garments is all part of a single thread; it’s all interconnected and encompasses the entire ecosystem,” Nelson asserts. Fed By Threads tries to acknowledge the impact of each and every business decision, making amends by paying “offsets” when less-than-eco-friendly means are necessary. “Fuel for shipping would be an example of a ‘tree planting offset’ where we pay money to have a tree planted by organizations like carbonify.com,” Nelson says.
Sustainability is about more than recycling or establishing a fair minimum wage, he adds. “Being sustainable is really about taking into account that our resources are finite. There is a finite amount of cotton, a finite amount of water, et cetera, and there are brands that are treating those elements with almost a reverence because if you run out of them, you’re not going to be able to manufacture anything. Those are companies we look to partner with and support as part of our mission.”
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