May 06, 2008
Heidi Matonis, Founder & President, Positivitee
About three years ago I came up with the idea of creating stylish tees that supported non-profits with 10% donated back to the charity. It grew out of my desire to: be a role model for my children, support causes dear to me, and to try to create a small, viable business to call my own.
In 2007 I made the commitment to “go green.” “Going green” to me meant using certified organic cotton, pigment dyes, waterbase inks, and fair labor practices. I went a step further by also becoming a member of the carbon fund to offset my carbon shipping footprint. None of this was easy.
It required that I manufacture my own product. (I had been buying blank tees and simply screening them.) It caused my product price to jump. The decision to wholesale also raised my internet prices. I figured retail exposure--on which a made little or no profit--would add to my exposure and donations. Although both these choices—green and wholesaling—have had growing pains, they were fundamentally sound decisions.
The first PR package I sent out, got picked by O magazine. My tees were given the title: “What a Concept.” This seemed to validate my feelings for meaningful choices in the marketplace.
Going green has proven sound by merit of the amount of press green movement has gotten. On a personal level, it has been very satisfying to incorporate one of my core values into my business model.
In yoga, we cross our hands in prayer and touch our heads—“positive thoughts,” touch our mouths—“kind words,” touch our hearts—“true intentions.” I try to live my life by this simple mantra. I believe in the end, the key to success in life OR BUSINESS is to keep a clear vision of who you are, how you want to live and put yourself out there. Humans can not go on consuming as we have: mindlessly and with no respect for the planet. We all must embrace change. I choose to be a role model for my children. They are the ones that will suffer for our folly and greed. Change begins with individuals but I don’t believe business always has to be the bad guy.
When you create a tee shirt and give it a tagline: clothing with meaning—you give the consumer an option they didn’t even know they had. You are creating a market instead of meeting a demand. I believe there are enough people out there that will welcome the idea of clothing with meaning and that my small business can succeed and perpetuate to make the world a little gentler place.