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Ok, so I haven't posted in quite some time, but I'm curious to see if posters here offer a "green" alternative either hemp, organic cotton, or recycled fibers? Do they sell?

For those who don't really follow sustainable clothing, bamboo fabric was part of the FTC's consumer alert titled: Have you been bamboozled by Bamboo fabric? It states "The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to know that the soft “bamboo” fabrics on the market today are rayon. They are made using toxic chemicals in a process that releases pollutants into the air. Extracting bamboo fibers is expensive and time-consuming, and textiles made just from bamboo fiber don’t feel silky smooth."
 

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Ok, so I haven't posted in quite some time, but I'm curious to see if posters here offer a "green" alternative either hemp, organic cotton, or recycled fibers? Do they sell?
I launched a bamboo clothing line a few months ago. Sales have been ok. I have kept to a pretty modest marketing budget so far. I've found the market to be accepting of new fabrics, especially eco-friendly one. I thought I would have to do a lot of consumer education on the product, but I have been pleasantly surprised with how many consumers are familiar and already own some type of bamboo product. Granted, I have marketed towards an eco-conscious audience who would be expected to know about these types of products. I have definitely noticed trends in different regions of the country. Some areas are more conscious of eco-friendly products and therefore are more likely to support this type of brand and product.

For those who don't really follow sustainable clothing, bamboo fabric was part of the FTC's consumer alert titled: Have you been bamboozled by Bamboo fabric? It states "The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to know that the soft “bamboo” fabrics on the market today are rayon.
Yes, this report has caused bamboo products to be labeled as "viscose bamboo" or "rayon bamboo." Basically, the process in which bamboo is made into fiber is similar to rayon. But there are differences too. With rayon, once the process is complete, it is impossible to detect what the source pulp was because the molecular structure has been changed. But with bamboo, several of the natural properties of organic bamboo can still be found in the fiber after the "rayon" process is complete. Despite manufacturing companies offering third party test results, the FTC refutes these claims. But if they truly believed this to be false and that it was impossible to detect the source of the fiber to be bamboo, then why would the FTC allow labeling to include the word "bamboo?" That completely contradicts the current stance the FTC is taking on bamboo. Supposedly, it takes a long time and a ton of research and development funding to get the FTC to classify a new fiber or fabric. In time, bamboo may qualify. But for now, it does not. So it requires the viscose or rayon qualifier.

They are made using toxic chemicals in a process that releases pollutants into the air.
Most producers of bamboo fiber use caustic soda. While a potentially harmful chemical, it is used in the processing of many textiles including 90% of all cotton on the market. I'm not advocating the use of caustic soda, but it's not fair to condemn bamboo for using it when other common fiber sources use it too.

That said, the FTC claims have uncovered some legit issues of the processing of bamboo. But it's only fair to mention the good that came of it too. The technology has improved drastically and many manufacturers use a "closed-loop" system that traps the chemicals used in the process. This limits the amount of chemicals released into the environment and also lessens the overall amount of chemicals needed to produce bamboo fiber. New technologies are also being developed, including using the lyocel process which is used to make tencel fiber.

Extracting bamboo fibers is expensive and time-consuming, and textiles made just from bamboo fiber don’t feel silky smooth."
They are referring to the mechanical method of processing bamboo into fiber. It's more like a linen or hemp. But it's still softer than most cottons, just not the same as the soft silk or cashmere feel of bamboo fiber made from the rayon process.

Bamboo hit the market with a tremendously high expectation that it was some perfectly organic and eco-friendly textile. While it has been proven not to live up to those lofty expectations, it is still very much a terrific eco-friendly option for people who value these types of products. Whether bamboo is better than organic cotton or other fibers is open for debate. Much of it depends on the specific manufacturing processes of each manufacturing facility. Some consumers will prefer bamboo, some will prefer something else. It's basically impossible for any product to be completely organic in every step of the process from manufacturer to retail shelf. But anything that helps reduce the impact on the environment is a big step in the right direction. And bamboo fits that bill.
 

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Hi Kimura-MMA, thanks for your response. I can only go based off what the FTC rules with regards to the bamboo, since it is the regulatory body enforcing that fine. Maybe the fibers from bamboo will one day have major advances that the FTC will recognize and allow fibers from bamboo to be recognized as sustainable.

I have a question for you though, why have you chosen bamboo and not the other fibers like organic cotton and recycled fibers? Were they cost reasons, sales reasons, "green" reasons, marketing reasons? Was it a long decision making process?

I guess my reason for asking the question is that I sell blanks, and I'm wondering the angles from which buyers are coming from to the "green t-shirt" biz.
 

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I really like the feel of bamboo. I enjoy wearing it myself so I wanted to develop some creative ideas that specifically tied into bamboo. I like the fact that it has eco-friendly properties and that has been a big part of my marketing effort.
 

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How To Design & Sell Your T Shirts ????

  1. Try out some shirt designs online. If you have some T-shirt designs you'd like to see on a shirt and test their selling potential, try a website like Cafe Press (see references below) to design your shirts online and sell them at no cost to you. This is a great way to try out potential shirt designs.
  2. Buy T-shirts in bulk. No matter what quality of T-shirt you would like to use, they're available for purchase online. Use an online T-shirt retailer (see resources below) to buy large quantities of T-shirts for a fraction of the price.
  3. Create shirt mock ups. Before you can start selling shirts, create several designs, either by using a silk-screening machine, embroidery, painting or any other way you like to design shirts. Next, wash and wear these shirts several times. Determine if the shirts stay new looking, and tweak your design if they do not hold up to typical washings.
  4. Sell your shirts at local flea markets, rummage sales, consignment stores or boutiques. Many small boutiques will sell your designs on a consignment basis. Bring samples into the store, and the owner will determine whether or not the shirts are a fit for the store. If they are, they will purchase shirts from you and give you a portion of the profit. Often, when shirts do not sell, you have an opportunity to buy them back for a discounted price, if desired.
  5. Purchase a domain name. With some HTML and photography skills, you can turn any website into a full-functioning marketplace. Hire a graphic designer and web designer if you need help starting your website, otherwise there are lots of online marketplaces to easily start your own web store,
  6. _________________________________________
    Link Building
 

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Ok, so I haven't posted in quite some time, but I'm curious to see if posters here offer a "green" alternative either hemp, organic cotton, or recycled fibers? Do they sell?

For those who don't really follow sustainable clothing, bamboo fabric was part of the FTC's consumer alert titled: Have you been bamboozled by Bamboo fabric? It states "The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to know that the soft “bamboo” fabrics on the market today are rayon. They are made using toxic chemicals in a process that releases pollutants into the air. Extracting bamboo fibers is expensive and time-consuming, and textiles made just from bamboo fiber don’t feel silky smooth."
I have always associated rayon with something hot but can't comment on it as a clothing. But while anything "sustainable" is worthy of our support or patronage, I did noticed (underlined above) that the manufacturing procees does not seem to be sustainable or environmentally friendly.
 

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I sell almost exclusively bamboo shirts (with a blend of 30% organic cotton) and response has been great. People love the soft, silky feel of it and the way it drapes the body and fits. And the eco-friendly aspect of it has allowed me to charge more (well, my costs are higher because bamboo is higher, so i have to charge more), but people are willing to pay more for it since it's eco-friendly.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Kimura-MMA and Tees for Change, thank you for your posts, and Kimura-MMA, thank you for the information you sent me on bamboo fabrics, I combed through it and am now looking at other leads from it. However, because of the FTC's guidelines that Bro-James pointed out, rayon from bamboo is not considered an eco-friendly fabric.

So please, if someone is thinking of posting in regards to my question below, please don't post about eco-friendly bamboo. I am not here to villify or alienate anyone, its just that rules are rules and those are the rules of the FTC.

So, does anybody out there sell organic/recycled "green" t-shirts? And if you do, are more people buying them now than when you first started? Are they coming down in price? Are you happy with them?
 

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i find that people ultimately would rather pay less for a shirt than to spend the extra money on a "green" tee the prices are just too rediculous to stay competitive.
 

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We sold them for a while (6 months). They sold about 30% of standard shirts but the supply was so unreliable we had to discontinue.
 
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