GOEX Apparel’s Love Local campaign thinks big while encouraging customers to shop small
For this local T-shirt company, it's all about putting people and the planet over profit.
This post is sponsored by GOEX Apparel.
In support of the rising “shop small” movement in the past few years, countless consumers have taken a step back to reflect on their purchasing practices—and to redirect their money to independent, local businesses. But despite our best intentions, it’s easy to forget that ethical consumption doesn’t start and stop at the cash register of the family-owned store on your street. It involves an entire global supply chain.
“When you buy a product like a T-shirt from a local business, obviously that local business is benefitting, which is a fabulous thing,” says Jessica Ray, the Executive Director of GOEX Apparel. “But if what they’ve done is buy the same thing that you can get at a big box store that takes advantage of people further up the supply chain, you’re limiting how much good you can do. Instead, if that product also supports artisans, local makers, and U.S. jobs, all of a sudden you’ve exponentially maximized how much good you’re doing.”
GOEX Apparel is a fair trade and sustainability-focused clothier making high-quality threads available to individual customers throughout North America, as well as businesses interested in purchasing wholesale. Thanks to their brick-and-mortar location in KC’s Midtown, it’s not hard to find their wares around the city. There’s a good chance you have a GOEX T-shirt hanging in your closet if you’ve shopped at establishments such as the Crayola Store, Pink Dinosaur, Ten Thousand Villages, or even the National WWI Museum and Memorial.
On Valentine’s Day, GOEX launched a Love Local campaign that’s all about transforming calls to #ShopSmall from social media hashtags into daily business practices—all while centering fair trade and sustainability.
“Love Local is the reflection of how we love to add purpose to brands,” says Amber Solomon, the GOEX market advocate. “But we also really love to do it for local retailers and push the shop small and shop local movement. It enables a larger community of buyers across the country to both support local retailers, enable makers to care for their families, and encourage environmentally sustainable practices through the entire trading chain.”
Ray, Solomon, and the entire GOEX team created Love Local with a humble goal: to start a conversation and educate on the dangers of fast fashion and the boons of the fair trade movement.
For example, they’re quick to point out that a single name brand T-shirt takes as many as 2,700 liters of water to produce. It also creates a massive carbon footprint and is most likely sewn by exploited workers in the global South.
“Is that the legacy you want to leave?” Solomon asks us. “Like that world in WALL-E, where there’s just a robot hoping that there’s a plant that’s going to grow somewhere? That’s not what I want. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to every living being on this planet to keep it circling around the sun in a happy, healthy way.”
As members of the Fair Trade Federation, GOEX has measured up to a rigorous Code of Practice that includes supporting safe and empowering working conditions in countries of operation and cultivating environmental stewardship. As Ray puts it, their order of business is that business comes last.
“We put people and planet over profit,” she says. “And for us, it’s really people first.”
But, of course, GOEX is doing it in style. They’ve released a brand new Love Local graphic tee catalog, with designs that proclaim regional pride and support for small businesses.
At the end of the day, this is the beating heart of the Love Local campaign: Making globally ethical production and consumption accessible to shoppers on the racks of small, local businesses. They’re extending an invitation to Kansas Citians, and a broader national community, to take steps towards curating a more ethical wardrobe.
“We’re shameless about promoting fair trade and being an ethical business,” Solomon says. “If your materials aren’t doing right by the planet and [you’re misconducting] yourself as a business owner in regard to employee relationships, then you’re not really a success. A successful business is more than your profit. Behind every single corporation is tons of human beings. And we have the right to be happy and comfortable and confident in the work that we do. We’re entitled to dignity.”
Find out how you can join in the Love Local campaign here, and check out GOEX’s Instagram and TikTok to learn more about fair trade and sustainability in fashion.