"Ethically made" gets used a lot, but what does it mean to us?
It means we make sure workers and our communities are taken into account at every step of the process. We are a unionized shop that often works with other unionized shops. We are a member of the Fair Labor Association, source our products from many domestic suppliers, and our international suppliers are certified sweatshop-free.
WE ARE A UNIONIZED SHOP & STORE Ethics starts with your first interactions with us: all of our non-managerial staff -- from floor staff to production, from designers to part-timers -- are unionized as UE Independent Local 8515. There are quite a few unionized print shops in the country, but we are, believe it or not, the largest unionized clothing chain in America. Our contract process gives workers a collective voice, but also a set of rules and guarantees that they can depend on. We offer sick leave and paid-time-off for all employees (full-time and part-time), and we work to build a system that provides guidance, assistance, and opportunity for people to grow within the company.
SCREEN PRINTING . RAYGUN . DSMAll of the screen printing is down in-house, by us. Our production has grown a lot since starting in a pole barn in rural south Dallas County, Iowa. But we still handle it all ourselves.
SWEATSHOP-FREE FOREIGN CUT & SEW
Not all of our shirts are cut and sewn domestically. But not all foreign manufacturing is the same: blends that are foreign-made are cut and sewn sweatshop-free in facilities that meet certain working-conditions criteria and in countries where garment workers make above-average income. Companies include Tultex, Next Level, and Bella & Canvas.
SWEATSHOP-FREE DOMESTIC CUT & SEW . LA
Some of our shirts are made sweatshop-free in downtown Los Angeles. The cotton is grown in he USA, making these shirts 100% USA-Made.
BIKE JERSEY CUT & SEW . VOLER . CAOur line of Bike Jerseys our 100% made in America by Voler, an awesome company in San Luis Obispo, California. We design, they sublimated onto fabric, cut and sew, then ship to us in Iowa.
The bulk of our shirts are contracted out to other factories, but we have a small in-house cut-and-sew department that makes items like Pillows and Headbands. As well, these guys handle any the reconstruction or alteration of any vintage items we sell in our stores.
No retail company is complete without a bad-ass table saw and CNC Router! Items like our Tables, Wooden Magnets, or Wooden Coasters are designed, printed, and made in our own wood working shop (shop code name: Gary) around the corner from our Des Moines store. Gary is also where we construct or modify the displays that will go in our stores. And where we unwind by smelling freshly cut cedar boards.
Speaking of our Tables, many of the steel bottoms are welded in a secret location in central Ankeny, Iowa. The name and identity of our chief welder is a closely guarded secret, though he did once DJ a party at the store and is rumored to be working as the drummer of a Midwestern super-group called The Life Partners. Other welding for our store is handled by Ackelson Metals in Des Moines.
Our Pint Glasses and Mugs are not only made in the USA, they are screen printed by our good friends at Pyrographics in West Des Moines. One of godfathers of Central Iowa's artsy-maker community, Pryo is an amazing company that we are always happy to work with.
Almost all of our paper products, like Postcards, Posters, or Notebooks, are made using Wisconsin paper, and then printed by Union Labor at Garner Printing in Des Moines. Some paper is sourced from different locations, some of the printing is done in-house using water-based silk screen ink, but a vast majority comes out of Garner's facility on the north side. With digital presses alongside presses dating back to the early 20th Century, it is also a really cool place to tour.
Our Stickers and Die-Cut Stickers are made just up the street by Sinclair Graphics. Anthony Sinclair is a good buddy of ours who we have worked with since the day he started his own company.
LIP BALM . ECOLIPS . CEDAR RAPIDS
Our lip balm, The Greatest Lip Balm In The Universe, only attained that statue by using extremely attractive, organic-certified bees-wax. Every batch of lip balm comes to us from EcoLips in Cedar Rapids. Go bees!