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Eco-Friendly Business: Psychic & Financial Rewards

May 10, 2008
Starting an "earth-friendly" business is not always as easy as it seems. I felt it would be an easy challenge for me, seeing that I had launched one of Mississippi's first health food stores. The Internet was still Arapnet and only used by the government, blogs didn't exist, and social networking meant handing out business cards. I paid high rent in a mall across from the local university. The local townsfolk felt I might be possessed to believe that natural products might be better than what could be bought at the local general market.

I was a late bloomer and had a hard time well into my thirties deciding on a career that seemed to suit me. I finally settled on e-commerce and cartooning. I found a way to have my cartoon images printed on demand and drop-shipped. Sales were great from the start, as I had already built a name with a non-commerce producing cartoon site. There was one problem. I wanted some of my items, particularly tshirts to be made from organic cotton. I knew that I was and am but one person, but when I read that regular cotton farming is responsible for over ten percent of toxins from insecticides. This did not sound good to me.

I started my search in 2006 after opening the first of my stores that sells my cartoon and collectible gifts, many on regular cotton products such as tees, aprons, totes etc. No luck. I made call after call. I did manage to find some organic textile manufacturers, but they wanted me to order the product in bulk and resell it. That is not "my thing". So I kept trying.

A few weeks back I was reading some interesting blogs on unique cartoon gifts and collectibles, I ran across a post stating the name of a print-on-demand firm that offered not only men's and women's organic cotton tees, but also made with totally nontoxic dyes. This was a major concern to me. I had remembered when in the health food business, back when non-food organic items were rarely paid much attention, I had told an organic clothing salesperson that if they could promise me the dyes were nontoxic, I would give them a try. They were not, and I've since learned that just because it says "organic" does not make it healthy. The dye process is just as important. It must be toxin-free.

Please don't label me yet. I am not a fanatic. But many of my customers have a certain lifestyle and they want what they want. Just this month, I found the right manufacturer, after a two year search and launched my organic cotton tee store for men and women.

I launched the store this month and, true to form, those regular customers who had queried me so often about having "green merchandise" in the inventory are happy as can be, not to mention healthier. Our earth is fragile, and, often it seems easier to be ambivalent. But everyone can do a little something to make a difference. I by launching the store it has made my own approach toward the environment change (for the more positive). I try to wear the organics more often than not. I recycle. I associate with a whole new network who are either own a green business or are transitioning towards one. It is a very healthy and positive group of smart, savvy people with a good conscience and heart.
About the Author
Cartoonist/entrepreneur Rick London founded the Internet's top offbeat cartoon Londons Times Cartoons and the first to "go green". Click here to see the world's first organic cartoon tshirts
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