Since we first opened our doors, we have had ethical and sustainable printing and production in mind, as from our own personal experiences the owners of the company have witnessed some awful practices first hand whilst working for companies around the country.
It would have been easier for us to ignore those experiences and carry on in the same corner-cutting fashion our previous employers and peers used to display, but we all acknowledged the damaging effects this would have not only on our reputation but on the world around us.
I’ve decided to outline some of the groundwork we have already put in during this time, and our plans for the future.
SMETA & SEDEX
Due to the calibre of some of our clients and the high standards they demand from their suppliers, we decided to volunteer for an annual inspection by an independent auditor. This auditor adheres to the strictest of rules and regulations surrounding ethical production, and once a year comes to our factory to ensure we are following the laws set out by government, and the ETI (Ethical Trading Initiative Home | Ethical Trading Initiative (ethicaltrade.org)). This ensures that we as a company are following all laws regarding; anti-slavery, fair pay during non-excessive hours, hygienic working conditions and anti-discrimination to name just a few parts of their code. We are proud to follow these rules and take every audit extremely seriously, hence why we have passed every inspection with flying colours since we first started volunteering for them. We encourage all of our clients and suppliers to check out the ETI base code as we all have an obligation to society to contribute in a positive manner in our workplaces.
Drop shipping & Print on Demand
More and more the desire for creatives to start new businesses without having to invest heavily initially is becoming a legitimate and scalable business model. For clothing brands in particular, drop shipping and print on demand services are increasing in popularity, and for good reason.
For those who are new to the terms previously mentioned, it is an approach to starting businesses that is revolutionary in that it has made starting a business much more inclusive, giving those without large investments a chance to bring their ideas and creations to the mass market without really performing any manual labour or applications for bank loans. What we do for budding drop shippers is accept the orders made through their chosen platform, fulfil it by printing the requested design onto whatever garment we had originally agreed upon pre-production, and finally deliver it to the customer.
For the client to perform these actions themselves, it would require buildings full of machinery and staff, but thankfully we take most of the hard work out of the process and leave the creator to being creative, and using the time it would take to do everything I just mentioned to market and advertise their brand. The main point to take away from what I am saying here is that there is absolutely no dead stock when using this method, we only print what you have sold, meaning less unsellable items clogging up the warehouse, and more unique and exclusive products.
In addition to that, when printing these products, we will always use DTG printing to produce your prints, which is always water based and much less harmful to the environment than traditional screen printing. See our page here to find out more about how we do this.
Certainly, digital print is the future of the printing industry, but the focus we have on DTG (Direct to Garment/ Digital printing) is that it is ethical and sustainable in so many ways. Firstly, the printer uses water based inks, meaning there is no harmful waste leaving the machine. Second, the majority of work going through our DTG department is printed to order, meaning no dead stock and no unnecessary garments being produced and sent to landfill. Third, DTG printers work best with 100% cotton garments so there are no man-made substances in what we print onto. There are so many ways that DTG is going to transform the garment printing industry, and if you want to find out more, why not get in touch with us your t-shirt printers Leicester.
Plans for water based prints by 2023
Another plan we have in place is that of becoming a fully water-based print supplier by 2023. Not only are the prints themselves part of the more ethical and sustainable route which we are intending to go down, but it would reduce the amount of hazardous chemicals on site and the amount of electricity used when producing printed garments. As we have previously committed to using plastisol inks in production and having a stockpile already, we intend to use these stores up before embarking on this new chapter. Once we have made the switch to water based, we never intend to go back and will stay on the path for years to come.
Encouraging customers to buy our water-based transfers as opposed to using screen print
Another business model we are encouraging our print on demand and drop shipping customers to try is that of the water based heat transfers. The idea behind this is that if the client has a particularly popular design which they produce on a regular basis, they can buy the transfers from us and produce them as and when they want. All the customer will need is a heat press and the garments that they intend to press the print onto, then they have a fully ethical, sustainable and financially sound clothing business. For prices on these transfers please contact us.
Tiny Tees & our ethical production
A relatively new venture of ours is that of Tiny Tees. If you haven’t heard of it before, it is a fully customisable, personalised clothing brand, which uses water based printing and organic cotton tees to bring to the kids clothing market. We wanted to step away from the mass-produced licensed kids clothing industry as it is not part of our business model to become a sustainable producer of printed goods, and using the brilliance of DTG printing and the ease in which it designs can be edited, we have made it fully personalised too. We use original designs and customer requests to produce these fantastic, fashionable tees, and plan to expand the product range in the months to come. Visit tinytees.co.uk for more information.
Water purification on site
In the last 6 months we have decided to go a few steps further on our ethical and sustainable journey, and one of those steps was the introduction of a water filtration system. We already had arrangements made with our water provider to take extra steps when recycling our water to ensure any possibly hazardous substances be removed during purification, but we thought that an extra process we could introduce was the 4-tier filter now installed on site. It’s a small step that we have taken, but one that shows our commitment to reducing the negative effects our business has on the environment, and possibly encouraging others in our industry to do the same.