Life Instyle sat down with Carl Ludwig, co-creator of Fibre for Good to discuss how he ensures his products are environmentally sustainable.
What was the spark that inspired you to start your own business?
While working as a buyer for a large retailer I discovered how much water it took to produce one tee shirt. 2700 litres of water is required to make ONE and I was selling 12,000 tees a week this totalled 32 Million litres of water alone on our plain t-shirt table per week. I knew then that this was no longer sustainable.
What were those first steps you took to launch? And what would you say was the scariest part/your biggest fear?
My first step was to quit my corporate job and find something I was passionate about. My now business partner (Fiona Su) and I took a trip to China to visit the vertical operation as we had only heard about this amazing fibre which grew in colour (What cotton grows in colour??). Initially, it did not sound real as I’d been in the industry for 30 odd years and never came across it.
I’d say the scariest part of this was believing in my self and starting a venture at 54 years old. We knew we had to reinvent ourselves to be able to add value to an already over competitive industry that was polluting the planet. We also know that there is NO turning back as we can’t continue to produce clothing the way we currently do.
Tell us a bit about how you design/ make your product. Who/where/how/why etc.
We work with a very unique operation where the company is fully vertical, so we control the process from start to finish or what we term from 'Seed to Skin' which is from the farm to the final CMT. All the processes are audited by a third party to ensure we are socially and ecologically compatible. Our ranges are only available in three colours (Natural White, Wheat and Sage Green) which makes this a lot easier as we are not about the hot colours/ print. Our range is based around being environmentally sustainable, which we term as being evergreen. These items do not go out of fashion. Looking after and washing in a natural detergent at 30 degrees should give the garment longevity.
Describe your customers and the community you have built/ embraced.
Our customers are the independent stores around Australia & New Zealand that attract the conscious consumer who is concerned about the health of the planet as well as their family. Our mission is to tell our story and work with the grassroots to spread the word on how natural colour cotton can offer customers better choices. We will then look to invest in online and social media to drive traffic to our site. We are looking to talk to hospitals, mothers groups, the cancer council and dermatologists.
What is it that you think your customers love about your brand/ product?
The brand I believe will be followed as it’s honest and has a truly transparent supply chain as we don’t want to hide any part of the process. The facts are there and the product has true credibility. We believe it's ticking all the boxes around the current environmental issues like climate change, water, reducing chemicals and ensuring the farmers are not being exposed to harmful toxins. The two big call outs for Natural Colour Cotton would be the 80% less water used in comparison to any other brand which has been dyed in synthetic colour this includes organic babywear. We are very proud to say we have no dyeing, therefore, no chemicals or toxins. The health aspect is key, as babies sleep for 70-80% and when hot the pores in the skin can potentially absorb the toxic dyes which could potentially lead to skin allergies and cancers.