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Last night my sister and I returned from a wonderful weekend in Chicago, courtesy of S & S, which is one of our biggest vendors. It was our first time visiting their facility in Bolingbrook, Illinois, and holy cow, what a warehouse they’ve got. S & S has over 1400 different products, and distributes over 120 manufacturers’ lines. This year they’ve rolled out quite the array of sustainable apparel options, which makes it a lot easier and more cost efficient for us to buy and sell those items (compared to us sourcing them directly from 25 or so different vendors… of course, we still end up going direct for a lot of it, because certain companies make organic in certain styles or colors that our customers prefer).

During their Open House, we met with several reps from the manufacturers and learned more about their lines. I saw some samples of Anvil’s new recycled cotton line that I’m very excited about. They have a great color palette, and because of their distribution channels, the shirts will be competitively priced. We had actually just ordered some recycled cotton tees from a company out of Utah, but aren’t so happy with them after they completely lost our paperwork on an order and didn’t ship out our shirts until the day we were supposed to have them printed for our customer! Argh! (Sorry MVOR!) Hopefully we’ll have a better experience with Anvil.

I also met a rep from Edun’s line of organic cotton tees, completely grown and sewn in Africa. Edun is a clothing line started by Bono and his wife, and their goal with it is to provide employment opportunities and economic growth for several communities in Africa. Great cause. (Too bad the tees only come in natural, white, or black though)

After checking out all the clothing samples, we watched a fashion show of what’s new in 08, ate a scrumptious buffet dinner, and went on a tour of their operations. I will say one thing that I’d really like S & S to improve on though: there’s no recycling in their facility! I was also shocked to see the same was true for the Sofitel Water Tower Hotel, where they put us up for the weekend. It was super fancy, and really fun to stay in such a posh place for a weekend, but I was quite dismayed that 1) they didn’t have one of those little signs in the bathroom about cutting down on water waste by not washing our towels and sheets every day 2) NO recycling. I know Mayor Daly wants to make Chicago the greenest city in the country. I noticed the recycling containers all over town and in the airport.. now get them in hotels and businesses!

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