Image via KNOWN SUPPLY Surfrider Foundation.
2022 marks 15 years since we started our first ethical clothing brand. It’s incredible to see how the space has evolved, including the growing interest from individual shoppers to purchase clothing in a more thoughtful and informed way.
However, this movement to lead with our values in our everyday purchasing has moved far beyond the niche community of people purchasing items “consciously” to infiltrate the decision-making across organizations, events, and companies all over the world.
It is no longer an option for merchandise to be an afterthought, because it will become a liability for what you are building. Nothing screams cognitive dissonance more than receiving a noticeably cheap, non-sustainable t-shirt from a company who projects positive values.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of trends we are seeing through our merchandise partnerships with over 250 brands in the past year. If you have more questions about how KNOWN SUPPLY can help support your merch needs in 2022 feel free to check out our SUPPLY HOUSE.
Care For People
The in-person workplace has taken a major hit and likely won’t ever return to what it was. What will remain, however, is the team members’ need to feel valued, appreciated & connected to the company at-large. We have seen organizations leveraging well-made and thoughtfully designed merchandise that helps individuals feel seen.
It also goes a long way to show that you care about the well-being of your employees when you send them items that represent that very concept. Fair Trade Certified clothing screams “the people who create things matter and that goes for you too” energy.
Extend Your Brand
Everyone from Chipotle to Fast Company to Anti-Human Trafficking Non-Profits are setting up beautiful online shops because they recognize the power of using apparel and merchandise as a way to further reinforce their brand. Not only is it a way to increase community and brand loyalty, but it also increases revenues as you provide unique ways for people to engage with your brand.
While this may not be an entirely new concept, what does feel free fresh is the intentionality that is being taken in the design, ethics, and delivery of these stores. Merchandise is only a good extension of your brand if it lives up to the values that you espouse. Meaning, you can’t be a non-profit working to preserve oceans while at the same time creating products with microplastics. It’s antithetical.
Instead, the best brands are viewing merchandise as a way to reinforce the things they care most about — quality, sustainability, design, ethics, etc.
Sustainability Is The Only Choice
Based on the points above, this may be obvious, but it’s too important not to be completely clear… given the growing body of knowledge (as well as general awareness) for climate change it’s imperative that we are producing sustainably. This is wear the bar is set if we are creating apparel & merchandise in 2022.
We would take it one step further to encourage people to think about sustainability through a holistic lens that incorporates social and human impacts of products as well. We, as organizations, cannot say we care about social justice issues — or even have core values within our company — if we do not live those out through all extensions of our brand.
Collaboration Is Key
We created KNOWN SUPPLY to use our years of knowledge in producing positive impact products to help other companies tap into this intersection of merchandise and social good. We exist to help you represent your brand in the most relevant way in this new landscape that prioritizes sustainable and quality goods.
We have a growing assortment of apparel, accessories, and headwear to help you deliver on merchandise that furthers your mission and positively engages your community inside & outside your brand. Be the first to learn about new styles dropping by filling out the form on our SUPPLY HOUSE page.
Below is a list of partners that we worked with in 2021 and who took these values to heart when it came to making their merchandise.