We may be a small business, but we're still leaving a mark and we want to be as conscious in our choices as possible. We take the impact that our brand may have on the planet very seriously; for all of the future Strong Girls Club members.
We wanted to tell you about a few of the choices that we've made along the way.
- 99% of our tees and sweatshirts are made using organic cotton. I once worked in TV production and development and during my time researching I saw the effects of highly toxic pesticides on workers and also the soil on which the crops are grown. Conventional cotton alone is responsible for 16% of all insecticides sold worldwide. There's another reason why we choose organic cotton; water. Water scarcity is one of the top ten global risks to society over the next ten years. Organic cotton uses significantly less water during its growing cycle. Our Breton tees save 84. 2 days worth of drinking water by being grown in this way.
- All of our tees are made according to Fair Wear Standards which means there's no discrimination, no forced child labour, workers are paid a living wage and the working conditions are safe. Our centre front slogan items are printed locally, by Chris and his team. They're a wonderful bunch who really care about the work that they do and by being up the road it means I can pop in and say Hi; usually with brownies or cakes to say thank you for their hard work. Our garments that are made in Portugal are created by a family owned business that's been operating since 1991. 60 of the 70 staff members are women, which means that your sweatshirt has been made with a whole heap of Strong Girl love.
- All of our tees and sweatshirts are printed using eco-friendly water-based inks. Traditionally plastisol inks are the norm. These are much easier to print with, but they're made by mixing PVC resin and plasticiser together; these inks are not 'drain safe' and require the use of chemicals to break it down when cleaning the screens.
- We use either organic cotton or EcoVero™ viscose as the base material of our dresses. We consider this viscose an affordable alternative to silk, it's derived from sustainable wood, producing up to 50% lower CO2 emissions and water impact these are eco-responsibly viscose fibres.
- We store all of our garments in a warehouse; to protect them in storage we have to store them in garment bags to ensure they stay crisp in colour. We use 100% compostable and biodegradable garment bags. The bags are thermoplastic and plasticiser-free, made using natural potato starch and they disintegrate in industrial compost units in less than 90 days.
- Our jewellery is made using 100% Sterling Silver instead of nickel and they are cast and finished by a wonderful team in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter.
- Where we wrap our orders up in our branded tissue paper. All of the ink used is soy-based and the tissue is acid free and FSC Certified. With every new batch of tissue paper that arrives, we plant a tree in Brazil.
- Where we wrap orders in the candy stripe bags, these are also FSC Certified, and every order we make supports the 'Bags for Trees' Campaign.
- All orders are dispatched in plain eco-friendly alternatives to poly-mailing bags. They're made from sugar cane and are carbon neutral. They're from a sustainable source and are fully recyclable. Otherwise orders are sent in kraft paper boxes or bags that are 100% recyclable and FSC certified.
- If we find any garments with manufacturing faults, we place them in our 'sin bin' and then every six months they are collected by a local charity to our warehouse who re-distributes or recycles them.
There are still other areas we are working on; including moving away from the use of laminated postcards and stickers. We are not perfect, but for a small business, we are making choices that, although are expensive, we are proud of.