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Real Talk: Disparity in Green Spaces Part I

Caring for the planet is caring for people.

At GOEX Apparel, our purpose is to use a simple tee to connect the customer and the maker because our customers sustain the fair wage jobs that empower our workers in their families and their communities.  So, we often get asked why we also talk so much about sustainability.  If our purpose is people, why focus on the planet?  The answer is simple – caring for the planet is caring for people.  Having a clean, healthy environment provides a variety of benefits primarily around health and wellness.  

 

Why does this matter to us specifically?  Many communities, and most of those where we serve here in the US and internationally, have been negatively affected by environmental disproportionality.  This is the reality that communities in urban or rural ‘poverty pockets’ as well as in third world countries face some of the worst environmental devastation in the world.  These communities have fewer trees and green spaces, more industrial pollution and waste and less access to resources.  This affects low-income black and brown communities at greater rates than other groups contributing to health issues such as asthma, diabetes, heart conditions and obesity.  In the US, this came to the forefront during this pandemic where we saw higher death rates in these communities because of these underlying health conditions.

 

And so, GOEX is doing our part to uphold the pillars of Fair Trade including “Cultivate Environmental Stewardship”.  For us, this means not only using recycled components or fabrics but also joining in conversations about environmental justice and equity. 

 

Environmental equity involves fair treatment and coming together as a community. 

Environmental equity describes a society in which no single group or community faces disadvantages in dealing with environmental hazards, disasters, or pollution. It involves fair treatment from a region’s authority and meaningful involvement with its constituents.  And none of this is easy but we can all do our part.  Here are a couple of examples of things we’ve done to reduce our impact on the environment & improve conditions for our employees in Haiti:

 

  1. One of the biggest pollutants around Port au Prince is Styrofoam.  If you’ve ever visited you’ve seen roadsides carpeted in Styrofoam food containers.  When we started providing lunches to our employees last spring, we knew we didn’t want to add to the problem.  So, we purchased reusable food containers and pay more for each meal so our vendor can wash and reuse the containers.  This provides additional work to our food supplier and eliminates daily waste at the factory creating a win-win.
  2. Our factory is not located in an industrial park but instead is in the middle of an undeveloped piece of land and surrounded by trees, grass, wildlife and fresh air.  Our employees walk to work through the trees and enjoy fresh air breezing through the building.  This isn’t the case for employees in other apparel manufacturing facilities.
  3. We make garments or accessories out of as much scrap fabric as possible to decrease waste going into landfills.  Check out our blog about our rib collection here.

 

 

We exist to make an impact. 

As one of the elite few who have passed the Fair Trade Federation’s (FTF) rigorous screening, GOEX is dedicated to following the nine FTF principles established to maintain integrity: create opportunities, develop transparent & accountable relationships, build capacity, promote fair trade, pay promptly and fairly, support safe & empowering working conditions, ensure the rights of children, cultivate environmental stewardship, and respect cultural identity. These principles hold us accountable to serve for all hands that touch our garments. Honestly, it goes beyond accountability. It’s our dogma. We don’t do what we do so you’ll like us and buy shirts from us. We exist to make an impact – to create jobs, to heal the planet, and to do good. 

 

Follow the story.

We strive to be bold with our words and represent the ideals we believe. If you like what we stand for, we want to share more! Stay in the loop by signing up to receive our newsletters and following us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Celebrate Earth Day

 

From backyards to our amazing national parks, the outdoors is one of our greatest gifts. April 22nd is Earth Day. It celebrates the beginning of the environmental movement. The first Earth Day was held in 1970 and since then it has grown to include over 1 billion people and 193 countries. Earth Day focuses on areas such as climate action, science and education, conservation and restoration, activism, plastics and pollution, and bringing communities together. 

 

Fair Trade Federation members seek to meet their own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. 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. Caring for people means caring for their physical space too. 

 

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 screenprinting 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.

 

In 2020, we introduced buttons, labels, drawcords, twill tape and packaging made from recycled plastic. We also introduced a line of garments created from remnant fabric diverting waste from landfills – our ladies rib tee, rib tank and rib cardigan are all created from scrap fabric! In 2021, we added zippers to the assortment of components using recycled plastics.

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. We will also continue to expand our assortment of garments made of eco-triblend fabric diverting more plastic from landfills. And we are reusing boxes that originate in Haiti! Be sure to look for a sticker indicating your box is on its second journey.

 

Celebrate the day.

Earth Day commemorates how far we have come. Take the day to smell the air and know that you, as an ethical consumer, have done good. By celebrating and reflecting every single win we can continue to work for progress and for a better world. Feel good. Do good. 

 

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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A Proud Member of the Fair Trade Federation

 

We are tremendously proud to be members of the Fair Trade Federation. Our mission is to do better in everything we do. Becoming members of the Fair Trade Federation was a part of that journey. The FTF evaluates businesses against a “360° fair trade” standard – making sure its members’ entire enterprises are committed to being fair and responsible socially, economically and environmentally. We dedicate ourselves to not just following the nine Fair Trade Principles – we live by them.

 

The Fair Trade Federation is a membership organization, not a certifying body. Rather than certifying individual products, businesses must go through a rigorous screening process in order to become members. This screening is a holistic evaluation of GOEX’s fair trade practices.

 

Why are Fair Trade Federation members different from other companies?

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, treatment of employees, pay, working conditions, environmental practices, and customer relations. It is important to distinguish between fair trade certified products and fully committed fair trade companies. Fully committed fair trade companies have built ethical behavior into their DNA. It is part of every decision and process. Companies that sell certified products sometimes source only a small percent on certified terms.

The distinction is great. 

 

What does GOEX’s membership mean?

 

 

Fair Trade Federation members go through rigorous screening evaluating our business sourcing, practices and mission. The FTF calls it 360° fair trade, meaning we’re committed to being fair and responsible in everything we do. 360° fair trade means long-term, holistic partnerships that empower small businesses, entrepreneurs, and artisans. It means they have the resources and encouragement to strengthen their communities and grow their businesses sustainably.

 

How do we qualify?

Our entire business undergoes extensive evaluations to ensure we source all products in compliance with the entirety of FTF’s Code of Practice.  Here are the nine Fair Trade Federation principles:

 

  1. Create Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers
  2. Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships
  3. Build Capacity
  4. Promote Fair Trade
  5. Pay Promptly and Fairly
  6. Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions
  7. Ensure the Rights of Children
  8. Cultivate Environmental Stewardship
  9. Respect Cultural Identity

 

Learn more about the 360° fair trade principles and FTF’s eligibility requirements here.

 

 

Thank you for doing your part.

Thank you for choosing to care for others and our world through the power of your purchase. We are committed to every person who plays a role in producing your t-shirts, committed to the children and families who benefit from 100% of profit, and committed to providing you with complete transparency and a product you’re proud to wear.

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Fashion That ZOOMS

 

The key to a fabulous first impression is your upper half and we’ve got you covered whether it’s a conference call, a first date, or a virtual happy hour with friends.

 

Here’s some of our favorite looks for video calls:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our eco-friendly cardigans paired with our rib tees made from remnant fabrics are not only incredibly comfortable, they make you look like you’re dressed for the office. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep this one safe from hoodie snatchers because this fleece feels like a hug from an old friend. This super soft weighted fleece inspires you to feel good while getting things done. The snug symmetrical pockets are perfect to hold your phone in between sending emojis in the group chat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video chatting with IT? *Blessed* Stay chill in our Navy ¼ zip fleece with our Amber triblend tee. You can stay comfortable and stylish while waiting for that update to install.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one for the virtual tabletop gaming crowd. Invoke the rule of the cool in the Olive weekender hood. No matter the adventure, you’re ready to roll for initiative. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designed for all day comfort, this charcoal triblend polo is made from the same super-soft, eco-friendly triblend as our best-selling tees with a slightly tapered fit. This staple is great as a basic and perfect for the corporate world. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow the story.

We strive to be bold with our words and represent the ideals we believe. If you like what we stand for, we want to share more! Stay in the loop by signing up to receive our newsletters and following us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Fashion in the Pandemic Era

 

Our own roaring 20’s

March of 2020 marked the dawn of a new era. A raging storm of uncertainty loomed over the world as we hunkered down at home. We prepared ourselves for two weeks of waiting but were met with a whirlwind of permanent change. We changed how we shopped and worked. The world adapted to the virtual world and learned to bake things from scratch. 

 

Throughout the whirlwind of adapting, we all began to ask ourselves all of those scary existential questions we avoided due to the hustle and bustle of our previous lives. Collectively we began to embark on the terrifyingly wonderful journey of self discovery. Our personal meaning was changing and so did what we wore. 

 

 

Nevertheless, we adapt.

Comfort and leisure became the favored Friday night attire as stilettos and shapewear nestled in for a long winter’s nap. Joggers, tees, and hoodies became our uniform on our quest to find tranquility in life’s simple pleasures. The pandemic provided us a unique opportunity to wear what we wanted in a judgement free space. Online quarantine fashion themed groups sprung up on social media providing us a platform to connect and to be inspired. We were home. We were comfortable but we yearn for pageantry again. We wonder if what we wear really matters anymore. 

 

 

Does what we wear really matter?

As we safely ease back into the familiar we have solidified, yes, what we wear still matters. Fashion is a reflection of oneself. It is an expression of our individuality.  It is the first impression we give to ourselves and can impact our entire day. In the past, we stressed about how we presented ourselves to others. “Does this outfit make the right impression? Am I trendy?” We have grown beyond wearing what we think the world wants us to wear. We have learned to ask instead, “Does this outfit make me feel good?” 

 

You matter.

Your journey to the person you are now was a bumpy and inspiring ride. We at GOEX want to be there for you while you continue that wonderful path. We want to provide you with accessible, quality garments that you can look good in but more importantly feel good about wearing. Your fashion should reflect the strides you have made as an individual and celebrate your commitment to better. Every stitch is the creation of a fair wage job and a piece of plastic out of the ocean. Every silhouette is hope. Every color, a dream. Be true to yourself by living the lessons we learned in this turbulent era. You have the ability to change lives with an act as simple as putting on a t-shirt. Get dressed. Feel good. Do good. 

 

 

Follow the story.

We strive to be bold with our words and represent the ideals we believe. If you like what we stand for, we want to share more! Stay in the loop by signing up to receive our newsletters and following us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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2021 Fair Trade Federation Virtual Conference and Expo

 

 

 

GOEX Apparel is proud to announce that we will be presenting at the 2021 Fair Trade Federation Virtual Conference and Expo!

 

We are immensely proud to be members of the Fair Trade Federation. With fewer than 200 members worldwide, the Fair Trade Federation’s (FTF) acceptance of GOEX reflects our deep commitment to the highest standards of fair trade and the pursuit of a more just and sustainable world. Behind every product you purchase from any business, there are faces, names, and futures. For GOEX and other Fair Trade Federation members, the heart of our business, our primary goal, is to improve the lives and communities of the people who create our products.

 

The Fair Trade Federation Conference and Expo provides a unique platform to highlight the work of FTF members, verified fair trade enterprises. It is also an important opportunity to come together as a community, share joys and challenges, to be inspired, and to learn.

 

The expo is attended by buyers, employees, owners, and advocates from ethical, conventional, and fair trade wholesalers, retailers, and organizations from the US, Canada, Europe, and more.

 

April 26th-27th GOEX Apparel will be virtually telling our story and sharing our commitment to ethical, sustainable business. During the GOEX session, we will present a showcase to give attendees a sample of our best, newest, and most interesting products and stories. We will cover our impact here in the states as well as in Haiti featuring interviews moderated by our Executive Director, Jessica Ray.

 

Follow the story.

We strive to be bold with our words and represent the ideals we believe. If you like what we stand for, we want to share more! Stay in the loop by signing up to receive our newsletters and following us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

 

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Fair Is Fair: Ensuring Prosperity

 

Comfortable, sustainable apparel is wonderful and our mission is even better. The fact remains true:  we’re a nonprofit organization. After costs to sustainably produce premium eco-friendly apparel and provide livable wage jobs, all GOEX profit — every bit of it — goes to fund projects set in motion by The Global Orphan Project. The Global Orphan Project exists to break the orphan cycle and one of the biggest contributors to the orphan cycle is poverty. That’s where we come in! We exist to create and sustain fair wage jobs that empower employees to care for their families. On average, one of our workers earning a fair wage supports six family members. GOEX exists to improve the lives of the workers and the communities we touch and one way we’re making good on that promise by providing fair wages to our workers in Kansas City and Haiti.

 

To provide fair wages, you must start with open, transparent conversation. GOEX management has spent countless hours with our team to help analyze costs, employment and tax law, and production benchmarks. We work together to take a long hard look at our mission model. Transparency means we can take pride in our product from seed to stitch. Which is why we have an open door policy at our facilities. We want to cultivate a relationship between you the customer and our mission based on consistent openness and respect. When conflict arises, we work together to listen and solve proving that commerce and compassion can coexist. Better business for a better world. 

 

When you make the commitment to ensure that your workplace has an empowering environment you are doing more than running a business. You are nurturing a place of growth, sustainability, and progress. Those who work hard should always have the means to lift themselves up. Fair wages are directly linked to a reduction in crime, utilization of social social services, and have a significant impact on the economy. By providing the means to eliminate the stresses of uncertainty we can create better, sustainable fashion and make an impact. Providing fair wages isn’t about PR or soliciting brownie points so you’ll buy more shirts from us. It’s about doing what’s right. It’s about contributing to a cleaner, healthier world. It’s about feeling good AND doing good.  

 

You have the ability to change lives through a simple purchase decision. Perhaps most importantly, your partnership sets an example in the marketplace that ethical commerce can affect systemic bottom-up change through the dignity of work. Together we can make an impact. A better shirt for a better world? Let’s do this!

 

 

Follow the story.

We strive to be bold with our words and represent the ideals we believe. If you like what we stand for, we want to share more! Stay in the loop by signing up to receive our newsletters and following us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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A Beautiful Day For A Neighbor

By Amber Solomon, GOEX Market Advocate

 

 

March 20th is Fred Rogers’ birthday. Fred McFeely Rogers was an author, minister, producer, and host of one of the most proud yet simple American television shows, Mister Rogers. Mister Rogers, the man, changed not only American television but the way we approach children and learning. An advocate for humanity and kindness, he revolutionized how we process information and adhere to emotional needs. His influence impacts us daily. When you hear the iconic diddle of the bells you can’t help but sing, “..please won’t you be my neighbor.”

 

Portrait of American educator and television personality Fred Rogers of the television series "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," circa 1980s. Photo by Fotos International/Courtesy of Getty Images

Photo by Fotos International/Courtesy of Getty Images

One way Mister Rogers has influenced GOEX is in the way he celebrates the integrity and dignity of all professions, from factory workers to astronauts, and his neighbors were effortlessly diverse. No check boxes to tick off, no quota to fill, only unchallenged goodness. To honor Fred Rogers and his incredible legacy, we celebrate Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day not just today but every day. We believe Commerce and Kindness can coexist. At GOEX we don’t aspire to be the best or preferred t-shirt company of the world. Our purpose is compassion – to be neighborly to everyone who touches a garment. 

 

How You Can Celebrate Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day: 

  • Wear your favorite sweater or cardigan
  • Speak softly to a neighbor
  • Listen to a friend
  • Practice patience even though it ‘s hard
  • Sing
  • Watch an episode of Mister Rogers or Daniel Tiger
  • Be mindful and appreciate everything
  • Talk to your family about managing emotions, prejudice, and acceptance

 

 

Remember kindness. Share your care. Feel good. Do good. Won’t you be our neighbor? 

 

 

Follow the story.

We strive to be bold with our words and represent the ideals we believe. If you like what we stand for, we want to share more! Stay in the loop by signing up to receive our newsletters and following us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Celebrate Your Spring Style

Wondering what’s new at GOEX and what staples you should be filling your closet with this spring? Our development team analyzed color trends, created new silhouettes and perfected our garment assortment. Check out our Spring 2021 Trend Report – color and garments edition below.

 

GARMENT TRENDS

This season is all about innovation. As many of us venture into the unknown we will do so in inventive, outspoken style. We have so many new pieces releasing this season that are perfect for the job. Flex in one of our outspoken tees, look sharp in a smart triblend polo or build a whole look with our ribbed cardigans over a drop hem tee. 

 

Overall, I’m just really excited about all of the color for spring. We’ve added some really fun pops across all of our styles that will really brighten up your wardrobe. My personal favorite garment is our drop hem tee in Rose. It’s a really comfy silhouette that feels a little more special than your basic tee, and it is really flattering on every body type!” says Product Manager and Design Expert Meghann Wheelock. 

 

 

This year, we’re adding a Grass Green Triblend Tee, a Bubblegum and Marigold Cotton Tee, an Olive polo, and a Drop Hem Tee in Blush, Amber, Olive, and Charcoal. No matter what GOEX pieces you pair together, we know they will make you feel good AND do good for the makers too.

 

 

Follow the story.

We strive to be bold with our words and represent the ideals we believe. If you like what we stand for, we want to share more! Stay in the loop by signing up to receive our newsletters and following us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Read more...

Happy International Women’s Day

By Amber Solomon, GOEX Market Advocate

 

 

 

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality.

 

As members of the Fair Trade Federation, GOEX advocates for women’s rights, equality, and gender justice. We celebrate women who create opportunities, overcome barriers, support communities, and set an example. “The day serves as a reminder both of how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go in creating true equality, especially in the developing world. It also reminds me of what employment really means to women around the world who work for GOEX as well as other fair trade or ethical brands. A job means freedom and opportunity – the work we do to support families, especially single moms, is critical,” says GOEX Executive Director, Jessica Ray. 

 

Today, the women of GOEX are celebrating by reflecting on what it means to woman up and advocate for equality in the 21st century. For Product Manager Meghann Wheelock, the message of International Women’s Day is, “Recognition and celebration of the unique challenges women face in our day to day lives and the incredible things we have and can accomplish.” This celebration is also actively being passed on to the next generation. She plans to celebrate, “By reading my daughter’s favorite book “ABC What Can She Be” with her. It’s got some really great representation and inspiration for the future!”

 

Market Advocate, Amber Solomon, believes that International Women’s Day is a day of inspiration and an encouraging reminder to keep going. “For me, completely dedicating a day to the trials and triumphs of women is a great reason to reflect AND to get inspired! It feels wonderful to think we’ve come this far and I am ready to empower those around me to go even further. There’s no limit to what we can achieve.” 

 

International Women’s Day is about togetherness. It’s about feeling good and doing good at home and in the workplace. “I think a woman’s ability to make connections in the workplace is a huge asset. For me, being able to build balanced relationships in the workplace is something I pride myself on. Having a sense of respect and appreciation for my team members allows me to lead in a way that I admire,” says General Manager of Life S.A Haiti, Ariane Manuel. “I will celebrate by spreading awareness on what this day actually means and honoring our female team members for all of their hard work. It does not go unnoticed.”

 

Here are ways you can celebrate with us:

  • Reflect on women’s equality and achievements
  • Fundraise for a local female focused nonprofit
  • Watch films directed by women
  • Call your mother/sister/aunt/friend
  • Say thank you

 

 

Follow the story.

We strive to be bold with our words and represent the ideals we believe. If you like what we stand for, we want to share more! Stay in the loop by signing up to receive our newsletters and following us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Read more...