How to Launch a Sustainable Custom Apparel Business

by Gooten Editorial Team on Feb. 9, 2023

The fashion industry is one of the most environmentally harmful industries on the planet, contributing mightily to carbon emissions and to the steady rise in climate change. Meanwhile, consumers increasingly want to spend their money on businesses and brands that emphasize ecological stewardship and environmental responsibility. Naturally, this has created some tension for leading fashion companies.

The good news is that there are smart, strategic steps that clothing companies can take to put environmental sustainability first. And print on demand companies are uniquely positioned to lead the way.

As you wonder how to launch a custom apparel brand with a sustainable focus, here are a few tips.

How to Launch a Sustainable Print on Demand Business

1) Define your intentions.

A good place to begin is by defining what you’re trying to achieve. How do you define sustainability? What are some specific goals you’d like to reach, and what are your benchmarks for success? Are your sustainability practices strictly focused on the environment, or do you also want to focus on other social issues?

2) Familiarize yourself with greenwashing.

As you consider your sustainability goals, you’ll want to steer clear of greenwashing, which refers to misleading marketing that overstates or even fabricates a company’s ecological responsibility. Always be transparent about your goals and about your progress toward achieving them, focusing on actual data over lofty sloganeering.

3) Research materials.

There are plenty of materials you can use for your custom t-shirts and other custom apparel, including many sustainable options. In fact, some of the most common custom apparel materials have environmentally friendly alternatives that you can consider. For instance:

  • Instead of regular cotton, consider recycled cotton, organic cotton, hemp, or bamboo.
  • Instead of polyester, try recycled or biobased polyester.
  • Also note that recycled wool and leather are options.

Here are some eco-friendly print-on-demand apparel products you can add to your store today:

4) Consider your branding.

If you’re sincere about emphasizing sustainability in your custom t-shirts and other print on demand products, then by all means let your customers know. Include your eco-friendly convictions as part of your branding, whether that means reflecting it in your brand name or simply including a page about it on your print on demand website. (Again, we’d just advise that you steer clear of greenwashing; make sure to back up your convictions with data and hard facts.)

Why Print on Demand and Sustainability Go Hand in Hand

As we mentioned earlier, the print on demand model is especially well-suited to environmental responsibility and ecological sustainability.

The main reason for this is that the print on demand model is uniquely designed to avoid waste. Remember, with a print on demand store, you’re only having custom t-shirts made when someone orders one; there’s no bulk inventory lying around, and no excess or superfluous products that get discarded.

The print on demand model exemplifies efficiency, and makes perfect sense for anyone who wants to offer custom apparel while minimizing waste.

Learn More About How to Launch a Custom Apparel Brand

At Gooten, our mission is to set up our partners for print on demand success. That means providing a high level of efficiency and precision with order fulfillment. It also means supporting sustainability goals whenever we can.

As you wonder how to launch a custom apparel brand with an ecological focus, we invite you to explore some of our resources. Start by considering how to pick the right T-shirt, or by comparing different T-shirt brands.

With any additional questions about achieving success in your custom apparel business, reach out to Gooten today. We’d love to tell you about all the ways in which we can help you reach your print on demand objectives. 

Contact our Solution Consultants today to learn more!