Building Community For Responsibly-Sourced Merch

In a sea of promotional products distributors, there is no shortage of places to look for custom printed products. At Ethix, our mission to provide ethical merchandise for unions and other mission-based organizations sets us apart from the crowd. Each year we work to achieve our mission by building a community of like-minded organizations. Last year, despite the pandemic, we established some key partnerships and expanded our community outreach to build a stronger ethical purchasing community. Another part of our mission is to help organizations thrive and get their message out to the world. We achieve this through our online store service. We launched several web stores in 2021 and have big plans for this year. Read along to learn what’s new for Ethix and how we plan to expand in 2022. 

Ethical Merch on Campuses

As part of our goal to increase ethical options at colleges and universities, Ethix Merch is partnering with leaders for change to bring ethical purchasing to college campuses. 

We provide access to apparel and products that prioritize the workers and environment first through Buy Your Values and Catholic Ethical Purchasing Alliance. Big brand clothing comes with a high cost of low wages, dangerous working conditions, and overflowing landfills.

Along with Labor 411, Ethix created Buy Your Values to empower students on UCLA’s campus to have a voice in where their licensed merchandise was sourced. Through educational sessions, connections with the campus bookstore, and social media, student leaders are bringing to light the abuses within the garment industry and demanding better options.

In partnership with Ignatian Solidarity Network, Ethix found a common goal within the Catholic community to address the issues with the garment industry and make ethical options available. As a result, Catholic Ethical Purchasing Alliance connects with Catholic institutions to bring licensed apparel, hats, bags, and socks sourced within the US through manufacturers that are either union or worker-owned cooperatives.

Our primary vendor and producer partner in these initiatives is COLLECTION out of North Carolina’s The Industrial Commons. COLLECTION provides apparel and accessories through a production line unlike anything else offered in the US. From using Carolina-grown cotton for t-shirts to repurposing dead stock of yarn to knit socks and hats, every step includes thriving wages for the workers and decreasing waste that usually ends up in landfills.

Online Stores 

Another way we are building the ethical merch community is to partner with organizations to provide an online store service. In 2021 we launched four new online stores: Harvard RadcliffeJews For Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT), and Third Act (shown below).

Through our online store service, we take away the stress of managing an online store so that organizations can focus on their goals instead. We do what we do best: providing custom printed apparel, stellar customer service, and order fulfillment. This frees up time for organizations to do what they do best: change the world!

What’s Next?

This year we will continue to build a network around ethical purchasing and supply high quality, responsibly-sourced custom printed merchandise. With two college licensing agreements secured in 2021 and more in the works for 2022, Ethix believes students, faculty, and administrators must be actively involved in building support for the people who stitch the clothes on our backs. We will bridge that gap by providing opportunities through CEPA and Buy Your Values. We are also hard at work launching more online stores and will expand our online store service to help get organizations’ messages out there. You can learn more about our online store service here

Follow us on social media to stay updated on our progress on college licensing, online stores, and new partnerships.

facebook.com/ethixmerch

instagram.com/ethixmerch