When thinking about how to minimize my negative effects on the environment, the first things that come to mind are reducing the amount of electricity I consume, eating local, organic foods, trying not to use plastic as much, etc. Buying organic t-shirts was not an immediate thought. I never really thought about it until I started looking for a company to produce custom t-shirts for a project I was working on. I didn’t know where to start, but I knew I wanted to order shirts from a company that paid decent wages and maintained a high quality working environment for their employees. Then I began thinking about what goes into a shirt besides labor, and such as the source of the cotton, the dyes used in shirts, transportation, etc. Thus began my search for a sustainable t-shirt company.
Rather than turn to Google, I decided to consult my new favorite search tool, Twitter. I sent a tweet asking for a sustainable, custom t-shirt company. Within minutes I received a response from Yeoman Organics. As a marketer, I was impressed with their engagement within the social media space. As a consumer, I was impressed with their quick responses, pricing, and quality of their product. After we exchanged a few direct messages and emails, I had a deeper understanding of the industry and how they address some of the most serious issues created by the industry. A few things I learned are just how large the cotton industry is, that many pesticides used in cotton manufacture contain known carcinogens, and commonly used nitrogen-based fertilizers release massive amounts of nitrous oxide (a major greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere.
Yeoman was created as a response to a sibling challenge: Phil told his brother Joe he couldn’t start a green t-shirt company. What started out as a small operation, selling only a handful of shirts locally, turned into a small company that ships nationally and works with non-profits such as The Breast Cancer Fund, and popular events like the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. When I asked what their mission was, the response was, “Our mission is simple: we want to make clothes that we’re proud to wear. We use organic cotton because in America we should be able to choose if we want clothes from pesticided cotton or organic cotton. We make the clothes in San Francisco because we want to bring green manufacturing to America.”
I know where I’ll be shopping for custom shirts for now on. For more information or to obtain a quote, check out Yeoman Organics here.