Green Clothing Startup Offers Breath of Fresh Air for Corporate Execs

green-clothes.jpgA new green clothing company, Green 3, is attracting attention for more than just its comfy, eco-friendly apparel. Those in-the-know have taken notice because of the company’s founders: Jim and Sandy Martin, former corporate execs at Oshkosh B’Gosh and Kohl’s, respectively. By gosh….

The pair transitioned from executive positions at two of the nation’s largest corporate clothing giants to positions in the challenging world of startup business management. Why? In part, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, because of Sandy’s interest in protecting the environment. Making organic products would allow her to remain true to her roots, so to speak: Sandy grew up on a farm and saw, firsthand, the effects of pesticide. She and Jim decided to pursue a business strategy of their own: to market stylish, high quality, organic apparel to small specialty retailers interested in new, unique items unavailable in larger chains.

The Martins, who did not enjoy a leg-up from their former employment statuses, marketed the Green 3 brand from the bottom up, attending trade shows and even making simple sales calls. The company takes orders at its headquarters in Wisconsin and manufactures products at contract plants in North Carolina and New York. Now, Green 3 products are profitable as well as organic. Green 3 customers include large companies (such as Sundance and Uncommon Goods) as well as approximately 300 small shops. Still, the line appeals to those with moderate incomes; at $30 a pop, Green 3 t-shirts are a relatively affordable splurge. Analysts suggest that the company’s success is due, in part, to relative stability of the yoga and casual apparel industries and of “green” merchandising in general.
The Green 3 product line is machine washable and includes t-shirts with eco-friendly slogans, scarves made from t-shirt scraps that didn’t pass inspection, and tote bags made from recycled men’s suit jackets (purchased from Goodwill). The Green 3 website reports on its sustainability: its products are constructed of U.S.-grown, 100 percent organic cotton that is also PVS, phthalates, and solvent-free and grown using methods with a low environmental impact. As Green 3 grows, consumers may expect it to stick to a simple promise: to “always embody [a] spirit of individualism, and… to reflect the inner style that all of us possess”.

Sarah Harper is a professional writer based in San Francisco, California. Her interests include sustainability, government policy, and international politics. In her free time, Sarah enjoys toying with the idea of holistic health, overanalysis, and plotting world exploration.

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