In Good Company: TS Designs

In Good Company: TS Designs
I'd "dye" for a marigold beanie crafted by this collaborative team.

We're starting a new feature that will run every month or so to showcase companies I wish more people knew about, beginning today with an inspiring leader and a cool company in North Carolina.

You all ought to know about Eric Henry and TS Designs.

I first met Eric when I was looking around for a values-aligned t-shirt company for my project to make shirts celebrating the B Corp movement. And, boy howdy, did I ever find the right partner.

Eric Henry and friend.

Eric's an OG in the world of companies pursuing profit for people and the planet. He's helmed TS Designs for 43 years (dude knows something about sticktoitiveness!), and the company is a founding B Corp (2008!).

Eric and his team have been leaning into the gale-force winds of globalism to breathe life into sustainable apparel that's Made in America. They've knit together a tight supply chain that minimizes economic impact and maximizes local economic impact, fulfilling the promise of their tagline: Cultivating responsible clothing.™

TS Designs has developed an environmentally friendly, higher-quality printing process called REHANCE™. It eliminates traditional plastisol inks (as nasty as they sound) with a water-based printing medium. For my money, the real magic is in their supply chain. It's completely transparent and trackable. They developed Where Your Clothing so you can see where your t-shirt was grown and made, but as importantly - the people behind the steps in the process of "from dirt to shirt." For instance, scanning the QR code on our B Corp t-shirts allows me to see that Andy Long of Parkdale was responsible for the yarn spinning and Alex Whitley of Contempora Fabrics was in charge of the knitting. Now how cool is that?

TS Designs does a lot of other interesting stuff; I especially dig their pioneering R&D efforts in the realm of natural dyes. TS Designs has its own retail brand, Solid State Clothing, which collaborated with The Industrial Commons and Fonta Flora Brewery to use marigold flowers to create dye for their beautiful golden beanies. Right now they're using the black walnuts from a tree on the company property to dye their t-shirts. Brand manager Courtney Lockemer, who has experience with natural dyes, sparked the idea.

Eric walks the sustainability talk well beyond TS Designs. He's started a biodiesel co-op (his car has run on biodiesel or straight vegetable oil for 250,000 miles and counting), a grocery co-op, and was co-founder of Burlington Beer Works, the country's 10th cooperative brewery and first in North Carolina - with 2,000 owners. That's just the start of a very long list of Eric's involvement in building sustainable organizations.

Every community should have an Eric Henry and a TS Designs strengthening the fabric of its daily life. I find him to be flat-out inspiring in his approach to business, to community, to life. So if your organization or event needs to print the best sustainable t-shirts in the world, please contact TS Designs. Or if you'd like to score a black-walnut dyed shirt for yourself, you can do that at Solid State Clothing.

Oh, I'd be remiss without giving a shout-out to Emily Stasiak, director of digital printing for TS Designs - for all her help on my B Corp t-shirt project. For a guy publishing a newsletter called Godspeed, you've been a real godsend.

Godspeed and Happy Thanksgiving🦃, friends. 


💥 Quick Hits

We could use some esperance - My word-of-the-day email delivered this gem to my inbox. Esperance (es-puh-rans) is "hope or expectation, especially for a better future." It's in short supply right now - how can we create more of it?

Join this jubilee - Casey McIntyre's last wish before passing of ovarian cancer was to help others retire their medical debt. Her posthumous campaign is nearing its $575K goal. Every dollar raised retires about $100 in medical debt through an organization called RIP Medical Debt, which means Casey's campaign will retire about $57 MILLION(!) in medical debt for people in need. I'm in, and if you feel like joining me, you can donate at Casey McIntyre's Debt Jubilee.

By a hair - They're celebrating Native American Heritage Month differently at a Kansas school where the administration made an eight-year-old Native American student cut his hair. Aren't we past this?

🤔 Trivia Time

During the 1980s, a $1 billion environmental disaster occurred roughly every four months. What is the frequency of similar disasters today?

  • Every three weeks
  • Every month
  • Every six weeks
  • Every three months

Today's trivia answer can be found at the bottom of this newsletter.‌‌‌‌‌

Find the Most Meaningful Work of Your Career

Our partner One Work has you covered with meaningful work that goes beyond a paycheck, a cubicle, or a weekly team Zoom call. You'll find purposeful jobs like those below, along with many more at the One Work job board.

GOOD KIND CO - Here's a cool B Corp that helps brands create clean, sustainable personal care products. Cosmetic Formulation Chemist, Round Rock, TX.

NEW CHAPTER - If you're ready to turn the page on a new chapter, consider this company that focuses on sustainable supply chains and regenerative agriculture in its whole food supplements. Creative Director, Brattleboro, VT.

TERRAPOWER - Nuclear fission is getting a new look as a viable, clean-energy-source to reduce carbon emissions and global warming. IT Project Manager, Bellevue, WA.

Trivia Answer‌

A $1 billion environmental disaster occurs every three weeks. So far this year, the U.S. has experienced 25 such disasters. Source: National Climate Assessment

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