This is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of Proforma Green Marketing, an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy (see proformagreen.com). John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.
A 2009 survey from the Organic Exchange (OE) reports that despite the 2009 global economic turndown “global retail sales of organic cotton apparel and home textile products reached an estimated $4.3 billion, representing a 35 percent increase from the estimated $3.2 billion market in 2008.” In addition the figure is little different from the 40 percent annual average growth rate for organic cotton sales for 2001 to 2009.
These numbers are for the total industry of organic cotton of which promotional shirts and totes are a minor, yet growing, segment. It is interesting therefor that Anvil Knitwear, a supplier of apparel to the promotional industry, made the list of top ten buyers. The report names the largest buyers of organic cotton as C&A (Belgium), Nike, Inc. (Oregon, USA), Walmart (Arkansas, USA), Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (California, USA), H&M (Sweden), Anvil Knitwear (New York, USA), Greensource Organic Clothing Co. (Washington, USA), Levi Strauss & Co. (California, USA), Target (Minnesota, USA), adidas (Germany), and Nordstrom (Washington, USA).
What is the big take away for the ecopreneurist from the survey? First that “the continued rapid expansion of the global organic cotton market was driven in large measure by consumer interest in ‘green’ products”, meaning there is a strong, growing, consumer demand for eco-friendly items. Second “companies increasingly became certified to traceability standards such as the OE Blended or OE 100 standard,” meaning the industry and suppliers are getting better at using third party processes to show their items to be what they claim them to be.
As summer approaches the promotional products industry will kick into high gear for tee shirt sales. Festivals, concerts, family reunions, summer sports leagues, vacation destinations, all are big consumers of printed tees. For those ecopreneurists looking to make the swtich into an organic tee the AnvilOrganic® line is a good place to start.
The Anvil 420 AnvilOrganic® Tee is thought by many to be the the work horse of the industry when it comes to organic promotional shirts, and likely goes a long way towards Anvil’s ranking in the Organic Exchange (OE) survey. New for 2010 Anvil has added two ring spun organics to their line, the 490 AnvilOrganic® Ring Spun Tee and 498 Ladies AnvilOrganic® Ring Spun Tee. With their softer touch both ring spun units are sure to be crowd pleaser’s this year. All three shirts come in a number of colors, while it is the NATURAL non-dyed tees that really scream eco-friendly.
If you are looking for USA made organic shirts, Bayside Manufacturing located in Anaheim, California, is producing a line of organic tee shirts under the name BAYSIDE ORGANIC. The shirts are pre-shrunk and made in the USA from 100% USA certified organic cotton. These are the first USA made mass market organic cotton tee shirts that I have come across in the industry, and I am very happy to have found them. The standard 4200 Organic Tee comes in S-4XL with the 4280 Organic Juniors Crewneck running XS – 3XL. Both styles come in eight colors, Black, Ocean Blue, Olive Green, Chocolate, White, Natural, Charcoal, Navy and Yellow.
If you are in the business and have questions about these organic tees please visit the website listed above to contact the manufacturer directly. You might also look to buy from a broker such as Marc Seiler of Bodek & Rhodes. If you are interested in printed organic shirts to promote your own business or event, contact your local promotional items vendor or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information and pricing.