Sustainability For The Small Businesses

Most of the eco-friendly clothing brands are the small market players and the biggest challenge they face is: How to source eco friendly and certified fabric in a small quantity at the right price when most of the wholesalers would supply in large quantities only.

Organic Cotton Plus is one of America’s leading suppliers of organic cotton fabric, knits, wovens and organic threads.  Their products are made by using 100% certified organic cotton and natural dyes. Organic Cotton Plus accepts orders of single swatches and swatch sets, or as little as 1-yard and as much as 500+ yards or more.

Jeff Reich from Organic Cotton Plus talked to Make Cotton Sustainable about his company’s journey so far, its products and the way they have seen the apparel industry changing over the years.

Tell us a bit about Organic Cotton Plus.

Organic Cotton Plus is an old firm that supplies organic cotton fabrics to both crafters and small businesses.  We are the only (as far as we know) GOTS certified fabric retailer in the US. In addition, we sell eco-friendly notions like organic cotton batting, organic cotton thread/yarn, and sea shell buttons.

In 1991, this farm became one of the first certified organic farms in the country. Despite this achievement of bringing back pesticide free organic cotton to the US, almost all of the fiber from the early organic farms was bought by large corporations, and blended with conventional cotton. These companies were able to meet their “green goals”, but it left small businesses who wanted to commit to 100% organic cotton products empty handed.

As a result, Organic Cotton Plus became a sister company of the farm­ used to set aside organic cotton bales to create 100% certified fabrics for individuals and small businesses. We shipped these bales to be contract-spun into yarn, then woven into fabric, and finished with just a natural scour wash. We ended up with beautiful 100% organic fabric ready to ship to all the small businesses and individuals that needed it.

What kind of dyes do you use?

We use Fiber Reactive dyes in accordance with the GOTS requirements, and to avoid the use of heavy metal and other high impact chemicals.

You have been a supplier of organic cotton for a long time now. Do you see the apparel industry’s outlook towards sustainability changing?

The apparel industry has been moving towards sustainability in a big way.  We see a lot of small start up companies requiring organic cotton and other sustainable fibers-despite the higher price and difficulties in sourcing.  We are trying to ease the sourcing issue, as well as work our prices as close to conventional prices as we can (and we are making progress!).

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