GOEX | What’s the story behind our name?

 

 

We’re often asked about our name, and it’s a story we love to tell. After all, there’s a lot in a name, right?

 

At GOEX print + apparel, we believe in the power of commerce to create positive social change and improve lives. Commerce, in contrast with charity, always requires an exchange – “giving, or transferring in consideration of something received as an equivalent.” And creating social change means going out in the world to identify need and develop solutions. This is not a passive endeavor, it requires active engagement and a clear understanding of how to help without harming. 

 

These fundamentals led to the name GO Exchange — “GO” discover the world around you and “Exchange” goods that promote positive social change.

 

GOEX for short.

 

 

For those who have been around since the humble beginnings of GOEX, you remember when we were sewing a small collection of apparel, primarily jammie pants, and also selling artisan goods. While this supported seasonal production on a small scale, it wasn’t effectively using commerce to create lasting change. Commerce requires a commodity product and larger scale production. Thus the shift to custom apparel and the related investments in equipment both in Haiti and in Kansas City. We now have the capacity to manufacture and print hundreds of thousands of garments each month, employing hundreds of people in stable jobs. And we can scale efficiently to serve increasingly large or complex accounts. 

 

So, from now on, when you think of GOEX, we hope you’ll be encouraged to do two things:

 

 

 

  1. GO — Get out and experience things and people. Learn from those who are different from you. Discover how you can support efforts to create positive and sustainable social change. Or travel with us to Haiti to see our Fair Trade apparel facility!
  2. Exchange — Use the power of your purchases for good! Choose products from Fair Trade or ethically conscious companies. Support local jobs, especially those companies compensating their employees well and engaging in the community.

    You make a statement with every purchase you make! What do you want yours to be?
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Respecting Cultural Identity in the Marketplace

 

 

 

Last Fall, we announced our membership into the Fair Trade Federation. With that honor came the commitment to uphold the nine principles on which FTF was founded. Over the following months, we took a deeper look into each of those topics. “Fair Trade” means many things. It means creating opportunities for marginalized producers, developing transparent relationships, cultivating safe & empowering working conditions, ensuring the rights of children, being kind to the earth, and lastly:

 

Respecting Cultural Identity

 

Fair Trade celebrates the cultural diversity of communities, while seeking to create positive and equitable change. Members respect the development of products, practices, and organizational models based on indigenous traditions and techniques to sustain cultures and revitalize traditions. Members balance market needs with producers’ cultural heritage.

 

At GOEX, we share the story of resiliency that runs through Haiti. We champion Haitian culture and desire to take customers to Haiti to experience their culture and see the lives that make their apparel. Along with the product, our main selling point is the story behind the apparel. We do everything we can to amplify who makes the product and how they make the product. We tag our t-shirts with the GOEX label because we want all customers to know where their shirts come from and that they’ve lifted lives through the power of purchase. We exist to champion Haiti.

 

 

Here are a few examples how:

  • The main form of communication at LIFE is in Creole, Haiti’s official language.
  • Within the facility, we celebrate locally made artisan goods and decorate the grounds with Haitian flags.
  • Haiti is a relationship-driven country, so we allow time for fellowship and community building
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  • All Haitian holidays are recognized to ensure that employees can spend time with their friends and families during special occasions.

 

 

 

 

Open for all!

We want everyone to see and know Haitian culture, so we implemented an open door policy. We believe open door policies play a vital role in reforming the industry and creating transparency in the apparel manufacturing sector. Here’s how else GOEX opens the door (literally) to reveal all the things you’ve wanted to know or never even thought to ask:

 

SEE INSIDE

 

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Cultivating Environmental Stewardship

 

The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.

—Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day

 

Cultivating Environmental Stewardship

If we work hard to practice Fair Trade principles, but fail to cultivate environmental stewardship, we have missed the mark. If we work hard to make things better for this generation, but in turn, make things harder for the next generation, we have missed the mark. We must value the producers, empower the workers, defend the rights of children, AND be mindful of the earth while doing it. This is the Fair Trade Federation’s 8th key principle.

 

Fair Trade Federation members seek to meet their own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This requires active consideration of the environmental impact of every decision the company makes and creative adaptations in business practices that advocate responsible stewardship of resources.

 

Simply put, members reduce, reuse, reclaim, and recycle materials wherever possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are three key ways GOEX implements healthy environmental practices.

 

1) Responsible Sourcing:

We incorporate sustainably grown materials into our products by sourcing our fabrics from Carolina Cotton Works in South Carolina — they offer a variety of recycled materials. We use Repreve, a recycled polyester yarn and then spin our tri-blend shirts from US-grown cotton, recycled polyester, and rayon. Every tri-blend shirt contains the equivalent of approximately 6 plastic water bottles!

 

 

2) Responsible Use:

A large part of environmental stewardship is the day-to-day operational practices we have established. Our screen printing facility in Kansas City operates from an environmental and sustainable neutral position. We work with local authorities and agencies to ensure that the disposal of all waste/excess is in accordance with our positive environmental policy. We have an electric car charging station at our office and print shop to encourage electric cars. We recently moved into a new industrial building with large windows and low dividing walls to capitalize on the natural light, thus conserving electricity.

 

The main challenge we face is screen printing effluence. We are currently evaluating a system to capture all of our effluence from printing in tanks and to recirculate them and dispose of them. Attention is given to our suppliers to ensure the types of chemicals included in their products are friendly to the environment.

 

 

3) Responsible Waste:

When we can, we take extreme care to avoid waste in the first place, but it’s near impossible to be a Zero Waste print shop. Instead, we focus our attention on how we want to responsibly handle the waste we can’t avoid. We go back to the elementary school basics: reduce, reuse, recycle.

 

When it makes sense, we gift extra materials from the production facility in Haiti to the community. For other materials, like plastic, paint, cardboard, etc., we diligently recycle! We also reuse screens, boxes and ink containers in an effort to reduce our overall consumption.

 

 

 

Shop tees made with you in mind.

We’d love to get you started with a better basic tee today! Choose from our many styles, colors, and fits to make the perfect garment for your next group event — something you can feel proud to wear. Browse our Digital Catalog today!

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The Right of Every Child

 

Fair Trade means that all children have the right to security, education and play. What we really mean, is that kids have a right to be kids! Fair Trade Federation members are no exception to this fundamental rule. Members must respect and support the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as local laws and social norms. This means: zero tolerance for child trafficking or exploitative child labor.

 

 

 

Defending the child is the core of who we are. It’s the reason we exist.

 

GOEX is fully owned by The Global Orphan Project, a nonprofit that began investing in the lives of vulnerable children in 2004. As they continued to care for kids around the world, they learned a few things along the way.

 

The best form of orphan care is orphan prevention, and the best form of orphan prevention is a strong job. They dreamed, “Was it possible to create a sustainable model of ministry in which commerce played the biggest donor?”

 

 

 

It starts with the workers.

If we can give parents the opportunity to care for their own kids, that is our first choice. Many times, family breakdown is a result of the lack of opportunity. Parents want to love and support and provide for their children, but without a job, it’s just not possible. So, let’s create some jobs. Let’s create jobs that pay more. Let’s create jobs that make it possible for parents to put food on the table and love in the home. Let’s create jobs that keep families together.

 

 

 

And ends with the kids.

We are giving it all away. Every penny. 100% of the profit from every sale goes to care for kids through The Global Orphan Project. Their partnerships with local churches empower local leaders to be the hero to their own community. Whether it is family strengthening programs, medical care, access to education or all the little things in between — each vetted need pushes a child’s story forward.

 

If you print with us, use our garments or just advocate for our story — you have already made a difference. Real stories of real impact on real families!

 

SEE THE IMPACT

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Supporting Safe and Empowering Working Conditions

 

Fair Trade means a lot of things, to a lot of different people. But if we get down to the nitty gritty, it means “better”. Better standards, better treatment, better pay, better conditions, just better. Member’s of the Fair Trade Federation seek to do “better” as they follow principle #6: Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions.

 

 

 

“Fair Trade means a safe and healthy working environment free of forced labor. Throughout the trading chain, Members cultivate workplaces that empower people to participate in the decisions that affect them. Members seek to eliminate discrimination based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, age, marital, or health status. Members support workplaces free from physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal harassment or abuse.”

 

— Fair Trade Federation

 

 

Empowering Workers

Our first priority is our workers — they are the reason we exist. When major changes are necessary due to adjustments in government labor policies, we update our rules to comply and then meet with employees to educate them on those updates. Our urgent priority is to make sure we have engaged with all questions or concerns. Employees are invited to work on strategizing and implementing key business objects. This requires regular team meetings to get input on specific business needs or decisions, as well as overall strategic direction. Both in Haiti and in Kansas City, all employees are hired and retained based on skill regardless of race, sex, union affiliation, religion or any other factors.

And Keeping Them Safe

For our producers at LIFE in Haiti, we regularly participate in audits or reviews of our workplace and policies. This is done through third party companies like BetterWorks Haiti and the Fair Trade Federation. At our printshop in Kansas City, we practice similar disciplines in working with our employees. We update policies annually and review with employees. We pay attention to industry standards and requirements for workplace safety for both warehousing and screenprinting.

 

 

 

Travel with us to Haiti

See for yourself.

You play a big role in keeping us accountable — so come visit our facilities first hand! We know Haiti isn’t a “drop everything and head down next weekend” kind of destination for everyone, so start planning now. Check out our trips calendar, find a week that works for you, and then say “yes!”. Travel with us to meet the makers of your tees and see their facility conditions in person. We promise to let you have the aisle seat on the plane.

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