Ecoland Prices Going Up – Stock Up In March

We pride ourselves on offering our items below Manufacturer’s Suggest Retail Price (MSRP).  While it means a little less profit on our part, we believe offering organic and eco-friendly clothing as inexpensively as possible will open the market up to a wider audience.  In the past, we have specifically not worked with manufacturers who do not allow us to price items accordingly.

We’ve just heard from Ecoland that they are getting complaints from other companies that our prices are too low and they cannot compete with us.  (Isn’t that what competition is about, really?)  We briefly considered dropping Ecoland from our line, but so many of our customers absolutely love the Wireless Soft Cup Bra (a top 10 best seller for almost 2 years now), that seemed an excessive response.  The Ecoland team was also very nice and somewhat apologetic in their request that we charge MSRP.  Obviously they are getting pressure from their customers, and like us, are just trying to keep their regular customers happy.  I’d truly hate to see them go out of business!  So, we have decided to go along with their request and change our prices on all Ecoland items to MSRP, which is about 10% more than we currently charge.

However, in the interest of keeping our own customers happy, we’re holding prices steady through March 31.  So now is definitely the time to stock up on all your Ecoland favorites as all prices will be going up on April 1.  We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.

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Last Chance Item: Underwire Soft Cup Bra

APRIL UPDATE:  Ecoland got so much feedback on this that they’ve changed their mind on the new development.  They are now remaking the original padding-free underwire bra, but they are using a thicker material to minimize see through issues in cold weather.  We still have some limited stock in this version and the updated version with thicker fabric should be available in late summer 2010.

We just placed a restock order for the Ecoland Underwire Soft Cup Bra.  They weren’t able to fill our complete order and let us know that this particular version of this bra is being phased out.  Apparently, a new version with padding is in work.

While that should excite quite a lot of people who’ve been asking for padded bras, I fear a few of you will be disappointed in the loss of this simple, unpadded bra that we’ve been carrying for 3 or 4 years now.  At the moment we have pretty good stock in all sizes, but this is a quick seller.  So if it’s one of your favorites, definitely pick some up soon.

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Valentine’s Day Sweater Winners

This was a fun drawing.  Anyone who said multiple sizes would fit got put into the drawing for each. 

And the winners are…

Small – Rich (#3 of 3 entries)
Medium – Martin (#5 of 8 entries)
Large – LisaG (#3 of 4* entries)
X-Large – Kristina (#1 of 1 entry)

(*Kristina automatically won the XL, so was not included in the drawing for L)

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By Adrienne / Posted in -- Uncategorized /

Coffee Clothing… Almost

A while back I had heard that there was a new process of making fabric from spent coffee grinds.  The fabric was purportedly mixed with recycled PET to make “coffee polyester”.  I was so excited by this idea (being a coffee addict lover myself), that I’ve been on the lookout for coffee clothing ever since.

At the Go Green Expo, I finally found coffee nirvana.  I saw shirts made from 100% coffee polyester that honestly didn’t feel all that good, but were adorably cute with coffee beans printed on them, and nice fashion pieces that were 60% coffee polyester, 40% tencel that actually looked and felt good.  The prices were reasonable and I was all set to go!

I sat down with the manufacturer to talk process.  Exactly how is coffee polyester created (and why do the t-shirts feel like 1970’s polyester suits)?  It turns out that recycled PET is combined with… here it comes… 2% coffee grinds and then respun into yarn.  So “coffee polyester” is actually 98% polyester with a sprinkle of coffee.  I was looking for a double espresso and instead got a Grande latte with 1/2 shot.  So those nice 60% coffee polyester, 40% tencel shirts actually contained just 1.2% coffee.

The process is fairly clean and dyed with low-impact dyes.  Since all the polyester is recycled it’s not a bad choice environmentally.  But would anyone actually want one?  What’s your opinion?  Is a little coffee better than no coffee?  Please leave a comment or answer our poll on the top right sidebar to share your opinion.

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February Give-a-Way: 4 Winners will get the Lynne Canyon Cable Sweater

Since our January Los Angeles-specific give-a-way excluded quite a few people because of location, we’ve decided to give away 4 products in February!

When we bought out much of HTNaturals remaining inventory, we ordered the cute Lynne Canyon Cable Sweater in Black and Purple.  Unfortunately, we wound up with just 1 Black in size Medium and 1 Purple in size Large.

So we’re giving away these 1-of cute colors.  Of course, we don’t want to leave anyone out, so we’re going to give away a Small and an XL in the Heather Grey color as well.

We’ll have 4 winners overall:

  • Size Small in Heather Grey
  • Size Medium in Black
  • Size Large in Purple
  • Size XL in Heather Grey

TO ENTER: Leave on comment on this blog post by midnight Feb 13th.  You must include the Size you want to win and an e-mail address or phone number so we can contact you.

We’ll pick the winners on Valentine’s Day!  The winner of each size will be drawn separately.

Please note that since the sizes are different colors, we won’t be able to change the size for you.  This sweater runs fairly true to size in the body but is very slighly wide in the shoulders.  It works great on its own or as a layering piece over a tank or cami.

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Go Green Expo’s Eco-Winners – Lucky 13

Here’s a look at our booth from Los Angeles’ Go Green Expo this weekend.  It was a fun (and exhausting!) show.  Since there were several other clothing vendors, we decided to feature just lingerie.  Pants to Poverty’s Angel Wing and Angel Print panties were the biggest hit of the show.

We got some great new product ideas that we hope to carry in the near future and made some friends along way.

Our free ticket winner, Veronica, enjoyed the show with a couple of friends.  Here they are visiting our booth.
As part of our onsite show promotion, we raffled off a $50 Gift Certificate to our store to one lucky person who signed up for our newsletter.  We had 178 entries ranging from 2 – 179.  (We accidentally printed the “Name” and “E-mail” headers on line 1, so there wasn’t a #1 space.)  We used to generate a winning number.  The winner was Anne Hanson, an early sign-up at #13.  Congratulations, Anne!
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January Give-a-Way: 2 sets of 2 Tickets to the Los Angeles Go Green Expo

We’re excited to start off our 2010 Year of Give-a-Ways with 2 prizes.  We’re giving 2 people each 2 tickets to the Los Angles Go Green Expo at the LA Convention Center

HOW TO ENTER:  Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post by Monday, January 18th to enter the drawing.  You MUST provide an e-mail address or phone number for us to get in touch with you to let you know you’ve won. 

(If you don’t want your e-mail published, leave a comment with your name and then send us a separate e-mail via our Contact Us form with your contact info.)

Drawing will be held on Tuesday, January 19th.  Winners will be notified on Tuesday and have their names added to the Comp list so they’ll need only show up at the door with ID.

While we know this particular prize does limit the prospects of who may be interested, rest assured that the rest of the year’s items will be available to a wider geographical audience.  However, we’re so excited about this expo.  It’s been a while since we’ve done a large, live display.  We’ll be focusing on intimates, so if you’ve wanted to see some of the Love Nature line in person, now is your chance.  If you’re planning on attending and would like us to bring something specific that you’ve been meaning to try on, just call or e-mail us in advance and we’ll be happy to have it with us.

In addition to all the great booths and eco-shopping, there will be awesome guest speakers including Ed Begley Jr. and Mariel Hemingway.

I hope to see you there!

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2010: The Year of Give-a-Ways!

We held a few raffles and give-a-ways last year and we learned two things. 

1. Give-a-ways are fun!
2. Our customers love them.

So we’ve decided to make 2010 the year of give-a-ways.  We’re going to be raffling something off or offering up something for free at least monthly.  (Maybe more often if we can get some of our vendors on board with our ideas as well.)

Stay tuned, our first give-a-way will be announced this weekend!  🙂

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Product Shipping – Environmental Considerations & Customer Satisfaction ships everything through the US Postal Service.  Both UPS and Fedex have better tracking information and more integrated web-based solutions which would make switching to one of those carriers faster and more efficient for our office staff.  Unfortunately, there are 3 big downfalls to both of those options. 

First, both UPS and Fedex are more expensive than the US Postal Service when shipping small items to individuals.  If you’re shipping large freight and/or mostly to business addresses, that is not true.  But for us, the good old USPS is cheaper for more than 95% of our everyday shipping needs – including overnight.

Second, while this may seem odd, USPS is actually faster for standard shipping than either of the other carriers. Priority Mail is a standard mailing option that generally takes 2-3 business days to anywhere in the country.  Faster, cheaper shipping generally makes happier customers, so those are both good points for us.  And despite the jokes often heard about their reputation, we’ve not had a single package “lost in the mail” within the US since we’ve been in business.

Finally, although UPS and Fedex have been “greening” their trucks and delivery methods, the fact is that the US Postal Service visits almost every household in America every day anyway.  I live in a community with 89 homes.  USPS delivers to at least 80 of them every business day, whereas I’ve often seen the UPS and Fedex trucks come into the community to deliver a single package.  I have to believe that a lot more fuel is being wasted on “special trips” to single homes here and there rather than just adding a package to a destination that is already being covered.  (Though in truth, I have no data to back this up – but it seems sensible to me.)

This year we’re trying to ship more items in the cardboard envelops rather than the Tyvek bags whenever possible.  Besides the flat rate cardboard being slightly less expensive to ship, it is easier to reuse and recycle.  We are happy to point out that all of the USPS shipping supplies have achieved the environmental cradle-to-cradle certification for sustainability and health concerns.

Also, don’t worry if your package comes with some packing materials or even bubble wrap.  All of our packing materials (except the recycled tissue paper we wrap undergarments in) are reused from shipments we get in.  We like wrapping purses with metal zippers as well as jewelry in bubble wrap.  Even though we don’t use very much, early on we found we wanted more bubble wrap than we were getting.  Then a local tech company moved their offices and I got a great idea.  After the move we asked them what they were going to do with their packing supplies.  They were reusing boxes, which is good, but they were going to toss out the mounds of bubble wrap and packing materials they had purchased just for the move.  Viola!  We scored enough bubble wrap to last us for years to come and diverted it from becoming a big landfill mess.  We also bring all packing peanuts we get in to a local mailing center for reuse.  We hope you reuse the packing materials you get from us as well.  Most of these things can be reused again and again.
We’re happy to hear suggestions on packing and shipping.  One person suggested we try Freecycle to get reused packing supplies.  We’ve posted want ads, but thus far haven’t had any response.  We’re always looking for new ideas to minimize waste though; so keep the suggestions coming. 

Happy New Year everyone!

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Product Packaging – A Response to Your Comments

One commenter in the last post mentioned that they were uncomfortable purchasing items that are individually wrapped in plastic.  We agree, the plastic wrap has got to go.  So here’s a list of companies that are doing their part in getting rid of the wrap.

Companies that send items unwrapped in bulk

  • bgreen – our most eco company in terms of packing and shipping.  They do all their manufacturing in Los Angeles about 8 miles from our warehouse.  Most of the time we don’t even have their items shipped; we schedule a time when someone’s already out and about and have the products picked up directly.  So there’s virtually no transportation cost from them to us and everything is unwrapped.  Their smaller items, like panties, don’t even have hang tags.
  • Perfectly Imperfect Tees (PI Organics) – another Southern California based company that ships all their products without bags.  Sure, their dresses wind up a bit wrinkled from them to us to you, but what’s a little steamer or touch of ironing between friends?  Their lingerie also comes without hang tags.
  • SOS From Texas – from seed to shirt this company works completely in the USA, and ships all their products bag-free in bulk
  • Jim Morris T-Shirts – their environmental-themed screen printed tees always come in bulk without hang tags or bags. They source the tees from a variety of places from the USA to India, so there are some transportation costs, and they use conventional screen printing methods.  But the lack of packaging and a commitment to charitable giving make this small company a good choice.
  • Pants to Poverty – this UK-based poverty-fighting powerhouse company has traditionally sent their panties in bulk with no tags. Their most recent line of Angel Wing and Angel Print panties came in adorable recycled cotton gift boxes for the holidays. While we love the look of the boxes, they’re environmentally impractical.  We’ve talked to them and they assure us they’ll be going back to bulk shipped items in the new year.

Companies improving packaging options

  • Goddess Gear – this small, woman-owned business does all their manufacturing in Colorado and ships whole size runs in a single bag.  So all smalls for example will come in one plastic bag. Generally that will mean 2 -5 items per bag instead of individually wrapped.
  • DreamSacks – in 2009 DreamSacks switched from plastic bags to biodegradable corn-based bags. While we don’t believe corn is the answer to every environmental woe, this is a great use of corn-based plastic substitutes. At this time, about 1/2 our products from them are still in plastic bags as we sell off the remainder.  However, all of our restocks are coming in the new packaging.
  • Earth Creations – this USA manufacturer has just announced that starting in 2010 they will also be doing a complete switch to corn-based bags. All of their current products are still in plastic, but we’re excited that they’re making the switch.

We take bulk-shipped items and wrap them in a single piece of 100% post-consumer recycled tissue paper before we ship them.  All bulk items go in one tissue together.  This keeps them clean and hygienic for shipping.  But if you really don’t want even that much packaging, just let us know in the comments section of your order and we’ll let all your items roam free in their shipping envelops. 🙂

On a side note, our commenter mentioned that it might be better to just buy from a local, non-organic store to avoid the packaging. I have personally seen items shipped from China in individual plastic bags get taken out of their bags and hung on hangers (from the days of college side jobs). Just because you see something on a hangar doesn’t mean it didn’t come in a plastic bag.

I’ll address shipping options (boxes versus tyvek versus reused/recycled bags) in the next post.

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