Quaker Gear is my idea and my project. There are others who support me in this business venture, but when it comes to product selection, I am responsible. My desire is to provide high quality garments and other gear without compromising my conscience. To be completely honest, it has been extremely difficult to see this desire through. In a perfect world I would be able to both provide products produced by manufacturers who treat their employees fairly and yield a net zero environmental impact as well as actually sell those products. Unfortunately my research has revealed that not all products labeled “Fair Trade/Fairtrade”, or “environmentally conscious” live up to their labels (read a couple examples of this complicated debate HERE , and HERE) , and worse yet, most customers aren’t willing to spend $30 – $40 for a t-shirt.
“Most people probably would not hire a child, lock them in their basement, and have them make their clothes, but this system is so abstracted.”
– Neeru Paharia, assistant professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown
Even though it has been difficult, I am incredibly committed to the Friends’ historic work toward human dignity and preservation of God’s creation. I make every effort to select products which have as little environmental impact as possible and also provide for fair and safe employment for those who produce them. The vast majority of Quaker Gear’s garments, for example, are printed on Gildan products which are manufactured in Central America and the Caribbean basin. I have found this manufacturer as well as others I purchase from to strike an appropriate balance of social conscience and economy. You can read the Fair Labor Association‘s complete report materials, including their accreditation report on Gildan HERE.
I am fully aware that my efforts may not satisfy all potential QG customers, and I welcome your feedback regardless of your feelings for this venture. If you have suggestions of manufacturers and producers who meet or exceed my socially and environmentally conscious objectives, PLEASE pass along the appropriate contact/purchasing information.
Ultimately I could provide less expensive products to you but choose the products I do in order to see all of my objectives come to fruition, not simply the financial bottom line.
Yours in “Friend”ship,