Category Archives: Uncategorized

No More Curly Collars

Image Shows Underneath Collar Stiffener

Some of our customers really love a nice flat collar on their polo shirts.  After washing collars sometimes needs extra ironing to keep a smart look and prevent “curling”.

Our new Spa polo shirts solves this problem.  The collars have invisible tipping which holds the shape of the collar.

Manufactured in Portugal for us, to exacting standards, made with 50% cotton and 50% polyester in a fine quality pique knit.  The weight of the fabric is 210gsm and has a dense quality knit.

These are soon to be added to our catalogue and the minimum order will be 20 polo shirts.  This can be a mix of colours and sizes.

Of course they can be embroidered or printed with your logo or design.

Give Susan and call on 01908 511933 or email [email protected]

Polo Shirts that have moisture wicking qualities

So, how does Moisture Wicking work and what are the benefits?

Candle Wick
Candle Wick

Moisture Wicking works in much the same way as a candle wick absorbs wax and draws it up towards the flame.

Wicking is able to occur by a process called capillary action. Polyester fibres are hollow, like tiny little tubes and the moisture is able move along them. The high humidity or wet air next to the skin will try and move up towards the low humidity or dry air on the outside.

In addition to all of this the fabrics can be chemically treated so that moisture does not stay in the fibres.

So clever!

In what environments will moisture wicking Polo Shirts be most effective?

Moisture wicking will be of great benefit if your team are working in warm environments such as gyms and swimming pools. Travel companies should consider these Polo shirts for their staff working in hot climates and of course sports teams would much prefer to be wearing a garment that is going to take moisture away from the body. It goes without saying that any moisture wicking fabric is going to dry very quickly when laundered and this just adds to the appeal.

Do Polo Shirts have to be 100% Polyester to have moisture wicking properties?

Blended Polos  can still offer moisture wicking. If you still want the natural feel of cotton but the added moisture control of polyester,  there are blends that will do this for you. This is a good choice for someone working in warmer climates, where the cotton will feel cooler against the skin. The polyester will then do its job and wick any moisture away from the body. A great combination!

BUBBACUE – Champion Ethical Customer

Made in Britain Impact Trading

John from Bubbacue contacted us a couple of months ago.

John was specific.  Bubbacue was about to be reborn. Starting out as a “pop up”  three years ago in Callender Street Belfast Bubbacue had evolved into a fully fledged restaurant. An adventure in food with total commitment to quality produce coupled with great ethics.

Bubbacue made in Britain Organic T Shirts
Aprons and T Shirts “Made in Britain” especially for Bubbacue.

Now a relaunch was imminent along with a rebrand of the restaurant, menu and uniform.
John is American, the restaurant is in Belfast.  In keeping with his ethos John ordered our organic “Made in Britain” T Shirts which were manufactured for him in organic cotton,and Pantone dyed to his exact specification. We now call it Bubbacue red.

imagesJohn ordered Fairtrade and organic black t shirts.  Cotton grown by Pratima Growing Group in Odisha India.
 

John wanted aprons for his team to match the t shirts, so contrast thread was used to bring the style together.

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Staff having a break before the grand opening.                                                                           

 

Every t shirt has a message on the back which highlights an Ethos of Bubbacue.  The restaurant opened again on the 27th of November.  Our very best wishes from Impact Trading to John and Karen and all at Bubbacue.

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Ethos #3

Why Charities and Campaign Groups Choose our T Shirts

One of the most popular garments worldwide is the t shirt.  With more than 7 billion people on our planet how many t shirts, on average, does each person own?

Have a look at what 7 billion looks like http://www.worldometers.info/watch/world-population/

Phenomenal figures don’t you think?

If you count without stopping until you reach a billion, you’d be counting for around 31 years, 259 days, 2 hours.

So many of us, the 7 billion of us, wear t shirts every week. It was estimated that 60% of people in the UK have 10 or more t shirts each. Wow – that’s a lot of t shirts.

We wear them at weekends, every day for work, at pop concerts, Olympics and other large events, to commemorate special occasions, festivals, sports, holidays, celebrations, and of course as campaign support.

Yes campaign support.  Often charities, faith based organisations, run by people with conviction in what they do.

Unfortunately the t shirt manufacturing industry has a well-earned reputation for paying tiny wages to those at the start of the whole manufacturing chain – the cotton farmers, pickers, weavers and spinners.

Not only tiny wages, but poor unsafe working conditions, blocked fire exits, structurally unsound buildings, cramped conditions, poor lighting, conditions which would be completely unacceptable in the UK for example.

The environmental impact of manufacturing a t shirt has equally phenomenal figures for example to manufacture one t shirt can use up to 2,700 litres of water – and often the cotton is grown in countries where water is in short supply.

Take a look at this video for the World Wildlife Fund for some interesting facts.  https://youtu.be/10ypcpbWIFo

You will notice on our websites www.impacttrading.co.uk and www.cottonroots.co.uk that above products image we show what certifications each garment has.  The certifications let you know what ethical and social considerations have been in place throughout the manufacturing process. This is very important to our customers who are looking for a sound supply chain which mirrors their work and commitments.

For example Prostate Cancer UK wanted ethically sourced t shirts of retail quality and selected certified organic garments.

The Salvation Army wanted to use Fairtrade certified t shirts, polo shirts and hoodies whenever possible for their recent international Boundless conference. They wanted their commitment to “Transforming Lives” to be reflected in the merchandise.

The Labour Party wanted to use t shirts manufactured in Britain for their 2015 campaign.  You can still see them making the BBC news even now – scroll down and you will see our famous t-shirt complete with graffiti .  I think it was appropriate for the labour Party to support workers in the UK.

Made in britain T Shirt

Neal’s Yard Remedies have selected aprons for their shop staff using organic fabric and we are manufacturing these for them here in Britain as well.  The Eden Project are another customer who have decided on our aprons because sustainability n at the absolute core of all their work.

Organisations who commit to so much wonderful work can back up their convictions by carefully choosing the t shirts which send out their message.  T shirts with good sound manufacturing which is audited.

You can find out what each of the certifications mean by clicking on each product, then clicking on the certification for example -Fairtrade certified, organic, Fair Wear, Wrap certified.

If I were to put them in order of moral and ethical class themselves it would be:-

  1. Fairtrade
  2. Organic
  3. Fair Wear
  4. WRAP

If you want to know why you can always give me a call for a chat.  I love Fairtrade is starts with the cotton farmers the most vulnerable in the whole chain and ends (but includes) us.  The t shirt can be traced all the way from the farmers to you the purchaser.

What a story for those in your organisation.  Your courage and conviction shining through.

I love this quote – I want to possess enough courage to fill a Campbell’s soup can. And then I want to use my courage to feed the homeless. Isn’t courage not only filling, but delicious? ~ Jarod Kintz

Made in Britain – T Shirts – Election 2015

Whew – the election is over.  A very important time for the country and the decision has been made.  I stayed up all night because I love election night.

Whatever your political convictions I am sure you will agree with me that we were proud to supply a political party with “Made in Britain T-Shirts”.    T-shirts are one of the most popular garments world wide and usually manufactured overseas.

4cm wide

The Labour party approached us to supply a t-shirt, pantone matched to the C199, printed with an election message – all within two weeks!  They wanted them to be made in Britain.

It was exciting to be manufacturing something so topical and we realised that it would take a super human effort on our part to make sure all went to plan.

Labour Party Made in Britain T Shirts

The fabric which was also manufactured in the UK was dyed to match C199, the fabric cut to a lovely modern style t shirt,  manufactured, then printed with their design.  All in the UK, within two weeks.

That’s some achievement to be proud of, and good on The labour Party for supporting British manufacturing!

Has the UK restored the “Made in Britain” tag to its former glory?

The words ‘Made in China’ are three words which are engraved into an enormous amount of products in the UK. For decades, companies have shifted manufacturing overseas, to places like China and India, tempted away by cheap labour costs. This had a devastating impact on domestic manufacturing in the UK, which declined from about 30% of national GDP in the late 1970’s to 14% before the recession to little more than 11% after that. But as wages and costs are escalating overseas, will more people  begin to invest in British manufacturing again? Is “Made in Britain” really making a comeback?

There is no denying that British manufacturers were hit hard by the recession, struggling to keep up with falling orders and cheaper competition from abroad. However the “Made in Britain” brand may be heading for a genuine revival as more UK companies choose to swap their international suppliers for UK based ones. In fact our output is actually 25% up on the production levels of the early eighties and it’s continuing to rise. So if you thought British manufacturing was dead, it may be time to think again.

The demand for British-made goods is particularly high from overseas, where the perceived quality and craftsmanship is well respected. In fact, new research independently commissioned by Barclays Corporate Banking has shown that products labelled “Made in Britain” are gaining a considerably higher premium when sold abroad than those with no declared country of origin. When consumers in eight export markets see the the Union Flag on a product, their desire to buy increases.

It is also in demand at the wealthier end of the spectrum as the “Made in Britain” label promises to add a further level of value to the consumer. In luxury fashion for example, the “Made in Britain” label means owning something more unique and more customised, adding value to a product.

But what about the rest of us? Does a “Made in Britain” label matter to us too?

Well according to a YouGov poll, which was carried out last year for the EEF, seven out of ten respondents said they prefer to buy goods that have been made in Britain. The poll, which was carried out on over two thousand British adults, also found that 91% agreed that manufacturing is essential for the UK economy to grow.

So what are British manufacturers doing to support “Made in Britain”?

There are welcoming signs of life for Britain’s textile industry. In fact, employment in UK manufacturing has risen and continues to rise as companies invest in machinery and skills. The UK fashion industry and the government are beginning to sit up and think of new ways to sustain the “Made in Britain” brand, from its craftsmanship to it’s manufacturing, with now lots of investment in apprenticeships to train the next generation of skilled workers.  Luxury UK labels like Mulberry and Burberry are bringing production back home and high street stores like John Lewis are looking to bring textile manufacturing back to the UK from foreign factories as part of its big campaign to sell more “British made” goods. Not only that, according to the Manufacturing Advisory Service, one in nine SMEs reshored their production from overseas last year, with top reasons for doing so being to reduce costs, improve quality and shorten lead times.

So why should we buy British?

“Made in Britain” labelling is actively supporting communities, offering opportunities for employment and skills development in a sector of the UK economy, which has declined rapidly in recent years. The creation of jobs should be a good enough reason alone for Buying British made goods,

So we now have a real window of opportunity to build manufacturing back up in the UK and it seems we are taking the opportunity by both hands. A recent report suggested that there will be 50,000 manufacturing jobs in the UK manufacturing sector over the next two years as a consequence of manufacturing being moved back to this country. This estimate is echoed by the accountants, PWC, that suggest that 100,000 to 200,000 additional jobs will be created over the next decade and that annual national output will be enhanced by £6-12 billion at today’s prices by the mid-2020’s.

So what can we do?

As consumers, we need to actively seek out products that are made in Britain and retailers need to continue to make these products easier to come across. Places like China and India aren’t the cheapest places in the world to manufacturer anymore and therefore there’s no need for them to be dominating the world’s manufacturing. Once upon a time, Britain was famous for it’s manufacturing and it’s about time it happened again. The “Made in Britain” label has always been held in high esteem, but the industry began prioritising profit over quality and now out of the recession, we are looking at things differently. I guess only time will tell if the “Made in Britain” brand recovers fully.

New Customer In Gibralter

Lisa wanted to visit them when she won an order from Bassadone Motors in Gibraltar!  We sent them sample garments from our corporate clothing collection so that they could make sure they were the right size for their staff –  and the perfect choice from their team.

They wanted a professional look for their staff to inspire confidence with their clients.  I really do believe that first impressions count and a good choice of company clothing goes a long way to achieve this.  Staff need to feel comfortable but look really smart and well presented.

Although we supply many customers overseas from Finland to British Honduras – even a yacht in Barbados, I am really pleased to have our first customer in Gibraltar 🙂  Thank you Bassadone Motors and sorry Lisa you can’t visit we need you here 🙁

Finalists in Northamptonshire Excellence in Business Awards

Business Excellence Awards

Yes we have gone it!  We have been shortlisted for the Northampton Business Excellence Awards in TWO categories.

1. Northamptonshire Most Enterprising Business

and

2. Environmental Award

We have visitors galore coming along to see us. Well I say visitors I mean judges.  Two judges from the Northampton Enterprise Partnership on Friday, another judge from LLoyds bank on Monday morning, filming in the afternoon, and the photographer in the afternoon.  PHEW!

Just writing the entry made me realise all that everyone does here at Cotton Roots and Impact Trading.  Little things like sorting the recycled paper through to bigger things like purchasing only biodegradable bags.  We are the only company in our industry I know that do this.

Enterprising because we have won major contracts this year against much larger organisation, developed new products and lead the industry with our new ethical products.  You can already watch us on the BBC when we featured on Working Lunch with Declan Murphy.

Now these awards! We will go along to an awards ceremony where the winners will be unveiled and Tom O’Connor is the celebrity host.  We hope we win. Yes we do. Exciting.

SO watch this space 🙂

Africa’s Fairtrade Cotton Farmers

I read this article today.  It is a little old, written by Elizabeth day in November 2010  for The Observer.  However it is still very much up to date.

It explains the subsudies given to USA, European and the Chinese cotton farmers – and then the impact this has on the cotton farmers in the very poor nations.  The subsidies really manipulate the price of cotton and has such a negative impact on the farmers in such places as Mali, West Africa.

Liz outlines the way in which Fairtrade has a positive impact.  The “Premium” resulting in access to health care, clean water and some education.

There is also an interesting video.

I have recently had an update from the Fairtrade Foundation regarding the fair trade cotton production for the garments we have made for us in India.  The organisation at the start of our Fairtrade chain is an organisation called Delight.  What a great name. 

The premium has partly financed water tanks for the groups livestock, as well as a communal stage for meetings and entertainment. They have also spent their premium on helping to finance and construct an English medium school called Swayam Academy through the Mahima Education and Welfare Society trust. The children of the tribal farmers (approx. 110) receive free education, transport, stationary and books at this school.  I have visited this school and some of the cotton farmers.  Once again I am reminded that when I read articles like the one Liz has written and think back to my visit then the inspiration it gives me results in our range of Fairtrade t shirts, aprons, school uniform and and polo shirts.

The real idea is to share.  Although the recession is having an impact on us here in the UK.  Our wealth is beyond the experience of the cotton farmers  I met.  If we at Cotton Roots together with our customers share just a little, the effects are magnified in such a important way to those growing the cotton in India and Africa.

Fairtrade & Organic Aprons Supplied to Dorset Cereals

I recently looked at the Dorset cereals website. We supplied them with aprons which they need for prizes fro a competition a while ago.  The aprons were a lovely chocolate brown and were both organic and Fairtrade certified aprons.

Well Dorset Cereals have a lovely website and a great competition to win a camper van which is fun and a little/very addictive 🙂  Have a go at http://www.dorsetcereals.co.uk/