COVID-19 | Regarding the temporary shutdown of our production facility

 

Right now the news is full of retailer and manufacturers jumping to make medical masks and gowns. We wanted to share why, at our apparel manufacturing facility LIFE, we’re not.

 

On Thursday, March 19th, we received a call from Bickford Senior Living, a longtime client, asking if we could make masks for their senior living facilities as they only had enough for one per person and were struggling to get additional supplies. Within 24 hours our team designed a mask and put it into production. At that time, Haiti only had one case of COVID-19 and factories were running. By the end of day Friday there were five cases and the Haitian government announced a shut down that evening putting a stop to all textile production in the country. Over the weekend, we adjusted the pattern for home sewing and got it out to volunteer sewers to make masks for Bickford and other facilities. (Learn more and download the pattern here.)

 

Right now in Haiti, the textile sewing industry is putting enormous pressure on the government to allow factories to reopen. They’re pushing with the angle of sewing medical masks and gowns, but most don’t have the ability to make the shift quickly because of fabric supply. While they are putting plans together for hand washing stations and other sanitation measures, many of these factories have thousands of employees who work in close conditions and pass garment parts from person to person. There is no way to prevent germs from passing within the factories.

 

That being said, there is the reality of the Haitian economy – people don’t have savings accounts for deep freezes. Stocking up on supplies is not a thing. Without the factories running, the 55,000+ people who work in the textile sector are unemployed. If the factories reopen, they will go back to work. There are no safety nets in Haiti, the government will not be depositing cash into everyone’s bank accounts. If factories open, workers will make a choice between a paycheck and the potential threat to the health and safety of them and their family and neighbors. In a country with very little healthcare and little ability to social distance, going to work could be a devastating decision.

 

 

So what are we doing differently?

  1. As soon as the shutdown was announced, we got on the phone with our team and told them we would continue to pay our people at least for the next two payrolls (one month).
  2. Our management team is advocating for the workers on industry calls and text chains. We are not pushing for factories to reopen next week, instead we’re asking for all of the factories to consider the risks to their employees above the desires to make money or even to help sew hospital gowns.
  3. We’re analyzing cash positions and expenses and talking to suppliers and customers in the hope that we can continue to pay our workers so they can care for their families during these unprecedented times.

 

Here is an update from Ariane, our COO, who chose stay in Haiti when most American citizens were leaving:

 

“Since the announcement of the first reported cases of COVID-19 in Haiti, my every day life has completely changed like everyone else all around the world. The country was in complete panic the next day with everyone frantically trying to run last minute errands at the same time. It’s been almost been two weeks since then and I’ve noticed that things have definitely calmed down. I’ve noticed a shift in precautions taken by not only the government but the people of Haiti as well, as their awareness on the virus has expanded.

Our team is doing a great job of frequently touching base with one another and keeping the morale high during these difficult times. The gesture of granting two payrolls spoke volumes to the employees. I didn’t get to speak to everyone, but those I did get the chance to talk to were extremely grateful. They know that we are all in this together and have their best interest at heart.”

 

How can you help?

  1. If you sew at home, jump in on making masks or gowns. We’ve provided a pattern for masks but there are several options out on the internet. Have questions? Shoot us an email and we’ll find an answer!
  2. Buy a tee, or two or ten! Many people are taking this opportunity to clean out closets and organize their homes. Make rags out those old tees and hoodies and restock for spring with new basics or graphic tees that, now more than ever, care for the people that make them.
  3. Share our story! Online shopping is trending up now more than ever. Encourage your friends and family to make ethical choices while shopping. Follow the hashtag #StayHomeLiveFair to see other consumers and brands connecting in solidarity with workers and promoting Fair Trade goods.

 

Watch for additional updates from our team in Haiti over the next few weeks as we navigate our ever-changing world.  Thank you for your continued support!

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COVID-19 | A simple way you can join the relief efforts

 

 

 

In response to the nationwide face mask shortage created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we immediately shifted all production at LIFE in Haiti to sew masks. When the factory had to close for the protection of our workers, we quickly altered the pattern for home sewing and connected with networks of home seamstresses. Now we are inviting you to join our relief efforts! Our team designed a DIY template with step by step instructions for anyone at home to participate.

 

 

 

Download our easy to follow pattern

 

 

 

Gather your family, pick out your favorite fabric and sew! Don’t have fabric? Ask us and we will send you some.

 

 

 

Due to tight regulations in the healthcare industry, we will be donating all masks to our network of senior living facilities, one of the most vulnerable populations. We can provide you contacts to deliver yourself, or you can mail your finished masks to us and we will make the deliveries.

 

Mail to:
GOEX Print and Apparel
3161 Wyandotte Street
Kansas City, MO 64111

 

 

If you have any questions as you get started about the pattern, fabric or delivery instructions, email us and we would be happy to help! Thank you for linking arms with us from afar — we are all in this together.

 

 

 

 

[The team at LIFE in Haiti sewing masks before production was stopped.)

 

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Shimmer, Metallic, Glitter: Ink That Stands Out!

We’re seeing so many graphics that shine in the market right now which means we receive frequent requests for them as well. We wanted to share some tips and useful details on selecting the right look for your graphics!

 

To get that eye-catching look, you have a couple of options: specialty inks or post press finishes such as foil or heat press. Each provides a unique finish or look.


 

Here are our specialty ink options:

 

Crystallina – This a sheer, specialty ink with clear, slightly goldish glitter and can printed over most colors of ink to add some sparkles.

 

 

Shimmer – A specialty ink with small bits of glitter throughout giving a consistent sparkly look and feel. We stock Shimmer inks in silver or gold.

 

 

Metallic – Looking for an edge, but no sparkle? Metallic ink is the way to go. A consistent look with a nice sheen but without the sparkle. We think this would be the perfect finish for superhero or space inspired tees!

 

 

Glitter – Less sheer than Crystallina but still best printed over a base color (often gold), this specialty ink has larger flecks of glitter than Shimmer for more sparkle, but less consistent coverage.

 

 

 

Here are some post press options:

 

  1. Foil – When we say foil we really mean foil! Best for a one-color, all foil graphic.  An adhesive is “printed” on the garment in the shape of the final graphic. A piece of foil is then laid over the adhesive and cured with the heat press. Then the foil is pulled off revealing the finished, super shiny graphic.
  2. Heat Press – Plastisol inks naturally have a matte finish after curing in the dryer. If we apply heat to the graphic afterwards, the ink will change to a glossy finish. This is best for a large, simple graphic and looks really cool on tonal prints.

 

Keep in mind that any of these processes or inks have an upcharge over a standard print color or location. Each also has specific art guidelines for best results. Ask your sales rep for details!

 

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Invest in the Health of Your Makers

 

2019 was a year of turmoil in Haiti – from political riots that prevented our employees from getting to work to rapidly rising inflation, life kept getting harder in an already tough environment. This led us to look at how we could continually support and provide for our employees in keeping with our Fair Trade values. Our employees received modest pay raises, which were more than offset by the country’s inflation crisis. So, at the beginning of 2020, we launched a new lunch program providing a meal for each of our employees at LIFE, our boutique apparel factory in Haiti, every day free of charge.

 

This lunch program provides several benefits:

 

    1. Lunch costs our employees about $1 per day so this meal gives them an immediate and impactful increase to available funds for other expenses.

    2. The lunch we provide is a balanced meal which includes protein giving everyone better energy for afternoon production and the evening at home with their families.

    3. We purchased reusable lunch containers for all of our employees eliminating styrofoam waste on site.

    4. Because we are a small factory, we did not have lunch vendors on site so employees had to walk to get lunch each day. Now that food is delivered, they have time to relax over their lunch breaks.

 

In developing the program, we sought input from employees on menus, possible vendors and other logistics. We love creating opportunities for our employees to be involved in decisions, especially those that directly impact them.

 

Instead of raising the price of our garments to pay for this program, we are choosing to reinvest some of GOEX’s profits and to fundraise throughout the year to help offset the cost.

 

This is where you come in.

 

We are inviting you to buy your makers a meal.

 

 

Do you have an extra dollar?

One dollar at a time, we hope to fully fund a lunch program for the whole staff at LIFE in 2020. With one dollar, you can feed, celebrate, thank and invest in the well being of your makers. With one dollar saved, they can love, care for and focus on the well being of their family. Give today!

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Introducing the new, GOEX Standard Cotton Tee!

 

Thanks to a strong partnership with our fabric supplier and continued efficiencies in production and supply chain, we are excited to introduce a new, value-priced cotton tee. Standard Cotton tees are available in white, black, oxford grey and atomic green for only $4 each blank with a minimum order of 72 pieces!

 

So what’s the difference between this new tee and our current cotton tees?  

 

It’s all about the type of cotton – standard versus ring-spun. Simply put, ring-spun cotton is nicer and feels softer – it’s a premium fabric. But why is that?

 

The processes for creating standard cotton and ring-spun cotton are totally different. Standard cotton is made from cotton fibers that are twisted together to make yarn, which is then knit to make fabric. Most of the big brand, high volume producers provide standard cotton tees which are less expensive to make.

 

Ring-spun cotton, on the other hand, is completely different. Ring-spun yarn is made by repeatedly twisting and thinning the cotton strands to make a very fine, strong, soft rope of cotton fibers before it is knit into fabric. Ring-spun cotton is more durable and lasts longer than standard cotton which also makes it more expensive.

 

So which is better: ring spun or regular cotton?

 

It’s hard to say. For a softer, more durable t-shirt, go with ring-spun. If you’re looking for a value priced option, standard cotton is a great choice. Order 144 pieces with a one-color print and your price is only $6 per tee for a fair trade shirt made of USA fabric! While it’s still not the least expensive custom tee on the market, it’s an amazing value for a fair trade tee that supports strong jobs in Haiti and the USA.

 

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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GOEX Staff Holiday Traditions

It’s one of our favorite times of the year! There are so many unique and fun ways to celebrate the holiday season. Our team is sharing some of their special holiday traditions and memories below!

 

 

 

“My favorite memory is baking cookies with the family and our tradition is to start opening presents from the youngest to the oldest!”

 

Shay Henderson | Warehouse Assistant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“One of my favorite holiday memories was experiencing my daughter’s first Christmas. It was only a few weeks after she was born and I recorded it. She woke up exactly at midnight on Christmas day and I will never forget that!”

 

Melvin Haliburton | Warehouse Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“My family tradition is when the extended family (all of my aunts, uncles and cousins) gather for Christmas dinner we all show up in our PJs! Families in matching sets and Christmas designs are encouraged. It usually ends in a lot of naps after we eat.”

 

Shelby Williams | Client Services & Operation Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“My favorite holiday tradition is getting together with all of my cousins and siblings and telling jokes.”


BJ Becton | Screen Printing 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“One of my favorite holiday traditions is visiting the Chicago German-style “Christkindlmarket.” Coming from German descent, it reminds me of my heritage.“

 

Carly Moore | Sales Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“My favorite holiday tradition is watching funny movies with the family!”

 

Derrick Valdivia | Head Screen Printer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“My favorite family tradition is waking up in the morning and opening presents with my family. My mom always makes monkey bread, cheese soufflé and Orange Julius. It tastes extra good on Christmas morning.

 

We also decorate a gingerbread house several weeks before Christmas. It is a fun, creative activity, where we eat a lot of candy and icing.” 


Kenna Russell | Graphic Artist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“My favorite tradition is just being around family and sharing the memories with them!”

 

Kevin Scaife | Screen Printing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“My favorite holiday tradition is baking cookies!”

 

Chanel White | Shipping and Receiving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Every year on Christmas eve we gather the family up for some yuletide fun… and by fun I mean cutthroat Fisk family competition.

 

364 days of mental preparation, rigorous training and exhaustive technique research all leading up to this moment, the CHRISTMAS YULETIDE COMBINE.

 

This consists of a series of games/activities that will ultimately crown a champion. For last’s years schedule of events with my personal training notes that were made in preparation, please email me.”
 

Tyler Fisk | Director of Finance and Operations

 

 

Wishing you a joyful holiday season with loved ones and a happy New Year! – The GOEX Team

 

 

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, following us on Instagram or liking our Facebook page.

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Give Back When You Gift This Holiday Season

Give back when you gift this holiday season with these 10 cause and ethically conscious companies:

 

  1. GOEX print + apparel. We’re not just your average apparel company. Our fair trade tees are cut and sewn in a living-wage factory, providing jobs and keeping kids out of orphanages in Haiti! All of our proceeds go to support kids in communities all over the world. We are backed by The Global Orphan Project, who has made it their mission to wrap-around vulnerable children and families in the U.S. and around the world. Our current fav is the Let’s Go Outside Tee.

 

  1. Pura Vida Bracelets. This stylish company gives artisans full-time jobs while helping to fund over 190 charities.

 

  1. FEED. Every product sold helps provide food to children in need and you’ll know exactly how many meals you’re providing with your purchase thanks to a number stamped on each item.

 

  1. Haiti Design Co. This socially-conscious artisan workshop sells ethically-made leather goods, jewelry, handbags and homewares with the goal to bring about sustainable development through design, training and job creation. 

 

  1. Krochet Kids Intl. With each purchase this company provides life changing job opportunities to women in need, and introduces you to the woman that actually made it!

 

  1. 4 Ocean. Purchase one of their very trendy bracelets and help clean up the ocean one pound at a time. (Their founder story is truly inspiring).

 

  1. Noonday Collection. This company designs and sells an inspired collection of jewelry and accessories made by artisans across the globe. They develop the artisan businesses through fair trade, empowering them to grow sustainably and to create dignified jobs for people who need them.

 

  1. Boxed Water Is Better. This trendy milk carton of water is focused on having plastic water bottles become a thing of the past. If you post and use their hashtag they will also plant 2 trees in your honor! (Great stocking stuffer and conversation starter).

 

  1. Mable. These modern toothbrushes do more than just clean your teeth! With every brush purchased, they will donate a brush to a kiddo that needs one, and they are made of bamboo! Once again stomping that pesky plastics issue.

 

  1. Fazl. You will love these cozy colorful socks, and as a bonus, 50% of the proceeds go to orphanages around the 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, following us on Instagram or liking our Facebook page.

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Seek To Do Better | Fair Trade Month

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 of employees, better pay, better conditions, just better. At GOEX, we seek to do better in everything we do to support better lives for children and families, and better care for our planet.

 

To celebrate Fair Trade Month, our team wanted to share how we style our Fair Trade Icons Tee in a sustainable, ethical way – by pairing it with our favorite thrifted items! Check out some of our team’s awesome finds below and why thrifting is important to them.

 

 

Item(s) thrifted: necklace, earrings, rings, purse and shoes

 

“Thrifting jewelry and accessories is important to me because they are often items that don’t have your typical wear and tear. They can easily become heirlooms that can be passed on from one generation to the next.”

 

| Carly Moore, GOEX Sales Manager

 

 

Fun fact: Some of Carly’s thrifted items come from all over the world including: Egypt, Germany and Jordan!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item(s) thrifted: jacket and shoes

 

“Thrifting is a conscious way to support the community and be intentional about where your money is going. I also love it because it’s a way to find good uses for things that would otherwise be thrown away.”

 

| Julian Davis, GO Project Graphic Designer

 

Fun fact: Julian got his Sperry’s for $5 at a thrift store in Washington, Missouri, that was started by a couple that wanted to serve their community. What a deal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item(s) thrifted: jean skirt and earrings

 

“Thrifting is important to me for several reasons. A favorite date night activity for my husband and me is to go to our local thrift store and search for treasures. We usually come away with a few articles of clothing, home items, or a mug. I enjoy purchasing second hand because I know it supports a good cause, creates jobs and I am not letting an item go to waste. Thrifting is fun and good for the environment, it’s a win win!”

 

| Kenna Russell, GOEX Graphic Artist

 

Fun fact: Kenna cut her skirt into that length herself!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item(s) thrifted: jean jacket and bracelet

 

“Consumers have a choice when it comes to shopping and I choose to support ethical brands, recycled goods and the local community. That can look like purchasing a second hand garment or investing in fair trade brands and choosing not to support big box companies or ‘fast fashion’. By donating that jacket that no longer fits you can support a local thrift shop, local commerce and feel good while doing it!”

 

| Shelby Williams, GOEX Client Services & Operation Manager

 

Fun fact: Shelby’s jean jacket is from a clothing exchange she did with her friends and her bracelet is a hand-me-down from her grandmother!

 

 

 

 

 

Item(s) thrifted: jean jacket

 

“Thrifting is important to me, as I find that throwing away clothes, shoes and other items can just be put to a better use than being in a landfill. Whether it’s to donate clothes to those in need, purchasing items to sponsor causes or just to use an item that still has life left in it – I find thrifting to be a way of limiting waste and actually living the ‘one person’s trash is another person’s treasure’ motto.”

 

| Brittny Choi, GOEX Administrative Assistant

 

Fun fact: Brittny’s jean jacket was thrifted from her church’s bazaar in New York City a couple of year’s ago! Proceeds from the bazaar go back to the church for long-term mission trips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item(s) thrifted: beanie, jacket and jeans

 

“Having been in the apparel industry for so long, I get really bummed out when I see old garments/materials being wasted/thrown away. I like to challenge myself to find a way to breathe second life into these kind of items, whether it’s rescuing something from the trash pile or making something new out of leftover materials.”

 

| Meghann Wheelock, GOEX Product Management Coordinator

 

Fun fact: Megahann’s jacket is made from recycled fabric and materials, so double recycling for the win!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item(s) thrifted: blazer

 

“My grandpa loves to thrift shop, especially for jewelry and accessories for me. I have many special, unique pieces because of him. He has taught me a lot about finding beauty in unwanted items (and making people feel loved and thought of). I’m really happy to continue on the tradition of something that has such a powerful personal, environmental and social impact.”

 

| Rebecca Miller, GO Project Content Marketing Specialist

 

Fun fact: Rebecca wore this blazer to her panel interview for this job!

 

 

 

 

 

We know no matter how you choose to accessorize your GOEX tee, you’ll be wearing one of the best, comfiest tees on the market that is not only good for the wearer, but also for those who made it and the environment.

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, following us on Instagram or liking our Facebook page.

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Living By Our Own High Standards

At GOEX, it’s important for us to not only maintain our high standards, but to also live by them.

 

Our Executive Director, Jessica Ray, decided to make a big change while she was promoting GOEX at the annual Fair Trade Federation conference earlier this year. As she went through speakers and workshops at the conference, she realized that half of what she was wearing was not Fair Trade or ethically made. She also realized that she regularly purchased garments she didn’t need just because she gets caught up in fast fashion availability.

 

After the conference, she made a commitment to only purchase fair trade or ethically made garments for herself for the rest of the year. She’s caught herself a few times with something in her cart at Target that she’s had to put back – amazing how mindlessly we shop, right?

 

She’s made it over six months and has some incredible brands she’s found and supported. Read on for some of her favorite suggestions:

 

  • The Root Collective – This company sells cute leather shoes handmade by artisans in Guatemala.

 

  • Athleta – Did you know Athleta is now a B-Corp and offers many styles manufactured in Fair Trade Certified factories?  Yet another reason to love this brand!

 

  • Target – Yes, Target! Not every item, but the store is making strides toward social conscious manufacturing and recently introduced a line of certified Fair Trade denim.

 

  • Elegantees – This line of tops and dresses is ethically made by women in Nepal.

 

  • Sika’a – In case you didn’t hear, we had a pretty big event in August that required attendees to dress to the nines. It was a little more challenging to find a cocktail dress, especially since I wanted something different. Luckily I found this cool British company that makes incredible garments!

 

  • Second hand and consignment – Shopping second hand is always an ethical choice! I buy almost all of my kids’ clothes second hand and items for myself and my husband as well.

 

  • GOEX (of course!) – I wear a tee almost every day! Layer it under a blazer with a statement necklace or wear it with a skirt to dress it up or tuck it into slacks with a great belt. There are so many ways to make our favorite Fair Trade tee look professional and polished – choose the ladies v-neck in black or white for simplicity. Or check out our new ladies flowy tee for a more unique twist on the classic tee.

 

One caution as you shop: just because a company has a socially conscious mission, doesn’t necessarily make it ethically made. Ask questions and make sure a give back isn’t overshadowing a product that doesn’t care for the hands that make it. In order to truly be ethically made, the item has to care for people throughout the supply chain.

 

Now it’s your turn! Choose ethically made and go find the brands that fit your style. Here’s a blog dedicated to fair trade and ethically made products with a great resource list!

 

 

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, following us on Instagram or liking our Facebook page.

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Does “For Cause” Make It Ethical?

 

If a brand is “for cause” does that automatically make it ethical? Because a garment “gives back” is it fair trade?

The short answer is NO. With the increasing number of companies whose products include a donation to any number of causes, it’s easy to classify them all as ethical or even fair trade. If the item itself is not ethically manufactured, no donation to a U.S. charity when it’s sold makes up for the cost to the hands that made it in the first place. Too many for cause businesses negotiate lower costs for their products so they can afford to give back. That low cost of goods adversely affects the makers. In the same way that consumers are upset because companies pass higher tariffs onto them, manufacturers can only offer lower costs by keeping workers’ wages low or using lower quality, or questionably sourced raw materials.

 

Nowhere is this more true than in t-shirts. Of the billions of t-shirts sold in the U.S. every year, millions of them are for some kind of cause. Fundraisers, events, give back graphics, awareness messages and more – most of the time the seller wants the cheapest tee possible in order to maximize profits and therefore the donation to the cause.

 

But at what cost? Think of this irony: A U.S. non-profit is set up to provide education to the poor in Bangladesh, Haiti, India, etc. – noble cause for sure! The non-profit creates a cool graphic and sells tees to raise money. Also a great idea. However, thousands of people are employed for pennies a day in these countries sewing tees. Their wages are so low that they can’t afford healthcare, a clean home or an education for their kids. It’s not unrealistic to think that the tee the organization sold to support education in those countries was actually made by the parent of a child the money raised will be used to educate. But super inefficiently because of organizational overhead. Instead, if that parent was paid a fair wage to make the shirt, they could afford to educate their own child eliminating the need for charitable funds. Instead, that non-profit could invest in educating and supporting the teachers to make sure the education the parents are paying for is the highest quality available.

 

We hope the next time you get ready to purchase a for cause item, you’ll ask how it was manufactured. That you’ll demand better from the company selling it.

 

We know it seems counter-intuitive to pay more for a garment when trying to raise as much money as possible by selling it. We’ve had several proof of concept partners who have proven that when they could say the shirt itself is giving back before any message is printed on it, they actually sell more shirts and raise more money even with a higher cost of goods. When the entire product is ethically made, customers respond and find increased value in the purchase.

 

At GOEX, there’s nothing we love more than a customer who tells our story as part of their sales strategy and then calls to tell us how much more money they made as a result! But don’t just listen to us, here’s one success story!

 

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!

Read more...