How we are striving for sustainable practice in business
As Plastic Free July comes to a close and we are all a little more conscious of climate change and our individual impact on the planet, we wanted to give you a brief roundup on how the TnG Apparel team includes environmental concerns at the heart of our business decisions and what that has meant for us.
From the very first TnG Apparel meeting, we all agreed that if we were going to manage a clothing line, we would do it right – right from the start. To us, this meant keeping environmental awareness and sustainability at the core of our practices, from the fabrics we chose right down to the bags we deliver products to customers in.
We were under no illusion that this would be easy but, to be honest, none of us quite understood how hard this could be. Unfortunately, Australia has a long way to go in terms of fabric manufacturing and availability. Being a family-run, self-funded business, we simply don’t have the capital or the scale at this stage to custom create fabrics or import massive rolls from elsewhere. We were able to find the beautiful soft bamboo for our tees within a short time, however actually getting hold of the colours and quantities we want for you can be a challenge at times. Bamboo is becoming more popular and options are opening up for companies such as ours seeking quality, readily available fabrics, so our line can also evolve as time goes on.
Those that know us know the struggle we had with the shorts and tights! We absolutely LOVE the way they have come out, but they took some time! We were determined to use fabric woven from recycled plastic (RPET) so we could be sure we created something both the TnG team and our customers would be proud to wear. RPET is such an incredibly innovative way to reuse post-consumer and factory waste, but again – there is a long way to go to make such innovation mainstream. We managed to source our shorts fabric from an overseas manufacturer through an Australian contact but it took a lot longer than we expected. Remember also, we are all new to this scene! We are very happy with the outcome though and feedback from our customers has been nothing but five-star.
Our recycled PET tights have also proved very popular and Liz and Fleur both love wearing theirs. Our Australian supplier for this fabric is fantastic, but our options for colours and patterns at this stage are limited. We are working on variations of these tights for spring and summer, so stay tuned for more news!
Speaking of manufacturing, we have made it widely known how passionate we are about being Australian-made. Off-shore manufacturing is not all bad; most companies are very aware of ethical considerations and will personally visit factories to ensure workers are in safe conditions and that product quality is up to scratch. However, for us, staying here means less shipping miles (therefore less pollution), supporting the Australian economy and being guaranteed that we get what we pay for.
Amongst these big decisions are all the little decisions along the way. We aim to limit the use of plastic – single-use plastic in particular – in all of our packing and storing. Our manufacturer couriers the finished garments over to us in one big box, no individual plastic wrapping. We safely store the garments in reusable tubs and hand them to you, our customer, in recycled paper bags. We choose recycled paper products for our care cards and business cards as well. We do need to ship our products through the post in a plastic bag, but did you know you can recycle this bag? Just take the label off, pop on the new addressee and send if off for another use.
The TnG Apparel team is very excited about the future and we are so proud of the little company we have built from the ground up. We continually strive to grow our business and improve our sustainable practices as we learn along the way, and what a steep learning curve it has been! Thank you to all customers and supporters who have stood by us, encouraged us and been very patient as we wait while each garment rolls off the production line. We can’t wait to show you what else we have been working on.