This is the first article of three about TS Designs.
Think Globally, Act Locally
Over the last 35 years, TS Designs has taken this particular call to ethical action seriously, ensuring its role in today's international marketplace. TS Designs has created - with boldness, invention, and a bit of dramatic flair - a viable product line, an innovative printing process, and an enterprising approach to altruism that might - as word gets around - redefine the standard of corporate citizenship.
People, Profit, Planet
"We have a business model with a triple bottom line," said company President Eric Henry. "People, Profit, Planet. Every T-shirt we produce has an impact. We want to make sure we're producing a sustainable product."
According to the Web site, the Burlington, NC, company "strives for social justice, environmental stewardship, and economic prosperity. "
Integrity with Boldness: The (Very) Viable TSD Carolina Brand
The company offers a number of socially responsible shirts for purchase, including three different in-house brands. The original, TSD Organic, is a rare find - it's one of only a handful of organic T-shirt brands manufactured entirely within the United States.
Another house option, the TSD Recycled brand, is made of "65 percent post-consumer recycled soda bottles, and 35 percent post-manufacturing recycled cotton scraps," the site said.
In terms of entrepreneurial ingenuity and risk, the TSD Carolinas brand is the ultimate in realization and reward. This T-shirt is made from cotton grown in North Carolina. It has traveled less than 750 miles within the state of North Carolina. It is sold, here, in North Carolina. Each shirt is numbered, and each number corresponds with a given harvest year. Consumers can go online, view the paperwork for themselves, and track the exact path their T-shirt has taken.
TSD calls it "Dirt to Shirt."
"Have you heard of Cotton of the Carolinas?" Henry asked. ""People want to know where their food comes from.
"Now, you can identify the origin of your apparel."
Henry, some friends and colleagues and several like-minded local business owners put his idea into action a few years ago. It was an "experiment with two things entirely foreign to the apparel market: a fully-local supply chain and complete transparency from farm to printed t-shirt, " the site said.
Annually, TS Designs works with about five other local companies to produce each crop of shirts. "We asked our partners to help us develop the T-shirt," Henry said. " We wanted to work with people who were willing to start off small, and who would understand the value of our mission.
"We wanted to work with people who were willing to stay in it for the long haul."
Justice + Stewardship = Prosperity
According to a 2011 CNN report, TS Designs made 8,500 shirts in 2009, and, in 2011, was predicted to make 26,000. As consumers continue to cultivate increasingly purposeful buying habits, rising labor and transportation costs worldwide are making locally grown and manufactured apparel more competitive.
"How can people support TSD? Buy our t-shirts! We are a custom printed wholesale t-shirt provider that offers the most sustainable t-shirts and the most sustainable t-shirt options. People can submit a quote from our Web site." - Eric Henry, president, TS Designs
To purchase individual T-shirts, visit http://store.tsdesigns.com .