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Eco-Friendly Retailers Now More Mainstream Than Non-Greenies

May 26, 2008
The facts are obvious. Retailers are retailers, even the big dogs, are "going green". It was bound to happen and it is about time. Of course the Wal-marts, Targets and Sams Clubs of the world, most likely, will never go fully earth-friendly, and merely offer sections in their stores rather than become another Whole Foods, it is still a very good sign. I was in Kroger's last week, a place I'd not shopped in awhile. It is clearly going green with, what appeared to be more than half their groceries stamped organic.

Why? The obvious part is that anything one person or a group of people do, in even a small way, to leave shorter "carbon footprints", the better. The signs of a "planet in trouble" have been with us for awhile. It is nothing new. Today, one does not need to be what was commonly referred to as a "tree-hugger" to do their part in pitching in to help in their own small way to help the earth, hence us, live longer and healthier.

I am a cartoonist and online retailer. I sell licensed images of my cartoon images on a myriad of products such as Tshirts, mouse pads, coffee mugs, and others. When I told my friends I was planning to open a 100% organic cotton (using nontoxic dyes) T-shirt shop as my latest online venture, a good many of them laughed. And not at my cartoons. Some felt I was "losing it". The truth is, I am finding it. Though I don't know if I will ever become 100% earth-friendly in my entrepreneurial pursuits, that is my goal. I still have many existing customers at other stores who have supported us all these years, and they are a completely different market. It is imperative to cater to them and provide a product and service that they have come to appreciate. It does not make them "bad" or me bad for providing that.

I would have considered it a negative, given the opportunity to get into the "green sector" of business, not to have taken it. And finally I did. Actually, I had been attempting this for years, but I could not strike a deal with a manufacturer that suited me. I wanted to find one in which I could provide an extremely high quality fabric, and have my cartoon images imprinted with natural dyes that would not harm the skin. Easier said than done. There were a few our but there was always an issue or minimal purchases, quality control, and the like. It was "always somethin'" as Gilda used to say.

Thankfully, a west coast based print on demand company called Zazzle evolved and happened to have agreements with American Apparel and Edun Organics (two of the best organic tee manufacturers). Because of that, I can offer the quality green tee and have it printed and drop-shipped anywhere in the world by the next day. This keeps me competitive with the big dogs, as I slowly become one myself. Oh my.

Americans, and citizens of other countries, love their T-shirts. According to a study, the average American has at least thirty designed tees, and almost one hundred percent have a "favorite one". I know I do. We also are health-conscious people these days. We try to eat healthier foods, take organic vitamins, eat less red meat, consume less trans-fat. The skin is the largest and most absorbent organ the body has. Wearing non-toxic dye tees is smart. And wearing premium ones, paying about $5-6 more than one would for a regular cotton or cotton blend tee is even smarter. It looks sexier. It feels better. And one is doing their part to help the planet a little. To me, that kind of peace of mind is worth a lot more than a McDonald's Happy Meal.
About the Author
Rick London is the first cartoonist to go earth-friendly. CLICK HERE to visit his organic cartoon tshirt shop
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