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GOEX Gets Thrifty | Fair Trade Month

 

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. One of my husband and I’s favorite date night activities 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 supporting your 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 its 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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Top 3 Factors to Consider When Choosing Your T-shirt Color

 

There can be several factors that go into selecting your t-shirt color and it can be a fun but overwhelming process. The good news is that our expertise can help you navigate the color wheel and create a unique design that will make your t-shirt stand out among the rest.

 

  1. Consider your audience:

One of the most important things to consider is who will be wearing these t-shirts, why & where. For outdoor events in the heat, we suggest not going with a dark color. If your event is in the summer months, we suggest going with a brighter pop of color for fun and to keep the wearer nice and cool. The season also helps determine whether you choose short sleeves, long sleeves or even fleece. For a company event, we suggest sticking to a neutral color or a color on brand with your company. The makeup of the group can also help determine if you want to purchase unisex or ladies fit t-shirts. 

 

 

  1. Consider the design/artwork:

There are so many t-shirt and ink color options to choose from. It’s important to consider how many colors are in your design and if they will be dark or light colors. This also helps determine whether you want the design to be bold and pop, or to be more faded and tonal. If you want a tonal design, we suggest choosing a color that is in the same color family, just a different shade.

If you want the design to pop, consider choosing a color that is either much darker or lighter than you design or on the opposite end of the spectrum.

 

If you are wanting something colorful, go for it! We can work with you to make sure the colors will still show up the way you want. Keep in mind, there is also the risk of your design looking like a negative photo, so if you want a silhouette or outlines of an image, choose dark ink instead of white so that your image does not look distorted. 

 

  1. Consider price point and inventory:

Lastly, and most importantly, consider the price point you are looking for in order to decide which material of shirt you should order. Consider a triblend or fleece option for something that will be longer lasting and can stand up to everyday wear. If you are looking to order many shirts at the lowest price point possible,  consider a cotton t-shirt with a one-color design on only one location. No matter what option you choose, we will print your t-shirt at the highest standard, and it will be the best t-shirt for you and those who made it. 

Sometimes it can be hard to visualize what you design will look like on the shirt, that is why here at GOEX we provide a digital example before printing. This will help you visualize and determine how your art actually looks on the shirt. Let’s get designing!

 

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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Workers Receive Free Eye Exams and Glasses

GOEX’s first priority is our workers — they are the reason we exist. That’s why it’s so important to us to not only maintain a safe working environment, but to ensure their overall health is held to a high standard.

 

Last month, we provided clinical eye exams to more than 100 employees at LIFE S.A., our  boutique apparel factory, in Tabarre, Haiti.

 

Eye exams and reading glasses were offered to all employees, with special attention to those affected by presbyopia, which is caused by normal loss in vision with age. A four-person team comprised of local optometrists came onsite prepared and equipped to perform the clinical exams.

 

In total, about 70 reading glasses were distributed and over a dozen other employees were referred to a nearby clinic for further care. We are so thankful for the opportunity to provide eye exams and glasses for our workers who we truly care about.

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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4 Terms That Set GOEX Apart From Other Apparel Companies

 

GOEX is not your ordinary apparel company. We exist solely to improve the lives of the workers and communities we touch. We are proud to be an ethical company and want to share what that means to us by defining a few important terms that set us apart below.


1.) Ethical – A term used to describe a company’s commitment to applying responsible practices in all aspects of their business.  
  • It is important to us that we are ethical in everything we do, from how we obtain our fabric, all the way to print and distribution from our shop. This term means that by supporting our company, you are part of changing the lives of children and families domestically and internationally.

2.) Fair Trade – A trading partnership between businesses and suppliers based on dialogue, transparency and respect, with the intention to improve the labor conditions and quality of life for marginalized producers in production supply chains.
  • 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.
  • We are proud to say GOEX is one of the elite few who have passed the Fair Trade Federation’s (FTF) rigorous screening!
  • GOEX is a member and abides by the workplace code of conduct of the Fair Labor Association (FLA), an initiative including companies, universities, and non-governmental organizations working together to improve workers’ lives.
3.) Strong Jobs – Not just a job, but a strong job. A  strong job means workers are able to support themselves and their family with what they earn.
  • We believe the best form of orphan care is orphan prevention, and the best form of orphan prevention is a strong job.
  • It’s important to us that our workers in our KC print shop and Port-Au-Prince Life S.A. facility make wages comparable to their location and are able to support themselves and their family.
  • Daily wages at Life S.A., our apparel manufacturing facility, are 65% higher than the sector minimum and our employees have the ability to earn 140%+ of minimum based on production. All operators are paid the same rate based on production and time worked regardless of age or sex.

4.) Sustainable – Production with purpose that goes beyond simply making a tee or high quality print and aims to minimally impact the environment.
  • We must value the producers, empower the workers, defend the rights of children AND be mindful of the earth while doing it. There are three key ways GOEX implements healthy sustainable, environmental practices.
    • 1. Responsible Sourcing
    • 2. Responsible Use
    • 3. Responsible Waste
  • A better t-shirt starts with better raw materials. Our tri-blend shirts are made from U.S-grown cotton, recycled polyester and rayon. Every tri-blend shirt contains the equivalent of approximately five plastic water bottles!
  • Mega-factory shirts will typically travel 16,000 miles in their production journey —  leaving toxic oil residue in the ocean. Our cotton is sourced right here in the U.S., shipped only 500 miles to Haiti to be sewn into shirts and shipped back to the U.S. for sale, leaving a much smaller carbon footprint than the traditional tee.

Read more on how we cultivate environmental stewardship.

 

These terms mean a lot to us at GOEX and we hope you take them into consideration when deciding which blank tee you select or which screen print shop you support because by making this simple decision, you have the ability to change the course of lives.


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...

The BIG Event 2019

You’re invited to The BIG Event! The Global Orphan Project is thrilled to host our annual celebration on Saturday, August 17, 2019 in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri. Join us at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, as we celebrate hope, transformation and investment in the lives of kids who need family.

 

 

 

 

What is The BIG Event?

What began as a small gathering in our founders’ backyard has turned into one of our most meaningful traditions: The BIG (Build-Invest-Grow) Event. The purpose of the evening is to share, learn and celebrate what God is doing through this global community caring for local children and families in crisis.

 

“It’s an opportunity to experience our Father’s heart for His children around the world without leaving KC,” said Trace Thurlby, GO Project President.

 

What to expect

The BIG Event 2019

We’ll begin the evening in the Kauffman Center’s Brandmeyer Great Hall, before moving into Helzberg Hall for a glimpse into the lives and future of children and families around the world. Appropriate for the venue, our evening incorporates the powerful stories of our ministry to reflect the beauty, joy and potential of the children we serve. Hosted by co-founders Mike and Beth Fox, the 2019 BIG Event will feature live music, cinematography and stories of life transformation being written from Kansas City, Missouri to Kampala, Uganda.

 

You’re invited!

From delicious food and the gorgeous setting, to compelling stories of faith and perseverance, expect a beautiful evening with an even more beautiful purpose. Proceeds from The BIG Event will go to meet the
greatest needs of orphaned and vulnerable children in the care of The Global Orphan Project’s local church
partners. We hope to see you there!

 

GOEX at The BIG Event

Doors Open: 7 P.M.
Cocktail Attire
Drinks & Hors d’oeuvres

 

PURCHASE TICKETS NOW

 

Not able to make it? You can still donate toward Greatest Needs to make a tangible difference in the life of a child.

 

For more information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kali Nelson at kali@goproject.org.

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10 Things to Know About the Screen Printing Process

 

Glasses on, pencils out.

It’s time for a little screen printing 101. Here are ten quick, digestible facts that will make you that much closer to being a screen printing expert. Or maybe they will just help you on Jeopardy someday.

 

 

  1. Screen printing is the most common type of garment printing.
  2. Modern day techniques were born from ancient Chinese silk-screening techniques.
  3. Now, giant automatic presses can do the work that’s been done manually for centuries. Although, plenty of people still print on manual presses.
  4. Screen printing is called screen printing because it literally pushes ink through screens. If you have a multi-color print job, each color requires a separate screen. This is why there’s a limit to the number of colors and why the cost increases with each color.
  5. Not all garments print the same. Different inks or techniques are better on different fabrics. Talk with your printer about how best to print on a certain garment. GOEX tees are fabricated to be great quality and to provide great prints!
  6. Different looks can be achieved based on how the art is created or with the specific mesh of the screen used to print the graphic or with the type of ink. All of these elements factor into the overall look and feel of the print.
  7. There are different types of inks. Plastisol ink lasts in gel form forever, limiting waste. Water-based inks dry out quickly so they have to be opened/mixed right before the shirts go on press so printers have to know how much ink they’ll need in order to avoid waste.
  8. After the ink has been transferred onto the shirt, the shirt must be “cured” — a fancy way to say the shirt needs to dry. Our conveyor belt oven is about 40 feet long and it takes shirts around a minute and a half to get from one end to the other.
  9. Did you know screen printing can be a recyclable process? Screens can be reclaimed, meaning that the emulsion, ink, and design stencil are removed, using a power sprayer and diluting solution. Then, the screens can be prepped again for a new design.
  10. Screen printing is an art, not a science. Printers learn the best combination of art, ink type, screen type, squeegee pressure, etc. to achieve an optimal print quality and look.

 

 

Try your hand at it.

We have an open door policy! Swing by our Kansas City office anytime. We may even let you take a spin on the hand press — see if you have the squeegee-skills to push the ink onto a tee. Or watch this short video from our friends at Ryonet on how to print tees in your own home.

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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
.
  • 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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