Shop Like the World Depends On It

March 10, 2023

Today, in March 2023, there’s a lot to consider when selling promotional products, especially as you factor in younger customers and the increased demand for products made responsibly.

Customers are asking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint, and you might be concerned that you won’t have what those customers are looking for. With so many new choices available, it’s understandable to feel confused and overwhelmed when questions arise.

In the interest of approaching these questions feeling prepared, confident and excited to answer, SanMar’s selection of sustainable styles is here to help.

Sustainability In the Spotlight

You may have noticed more customers coming to you recently either looking for sustainable options or with questions about where the products you sell come from and how ethically they’re produced. You’re not the only one.

Over the past few years, issues of sustainability and business ethics have become intrinsic parts of the conversation around American buying habits. According to a recent survey, “consumers from all generations are willing to spend more on sustainable products than they were two years ago,” with over a third of those taking the survey stating that they choose brands that demonstrate practices that are better for the environment. “Additionally, 28% said they had stopped buying from brands with poor ethical or sustainability values.”

Cotopaxi bags and packsThis comes into play even more when you work with customers who skew toward younger generations. “Gen Z and Millennials are about to become the largest consumer base in the global economy,” as pointed out in The Future of Sustainable Fashion. “73 percent of them are willing to pay more for sustainability.”

For the promotional products industry issues like circularity — keeping the full life and end-of-life of a product in mind as it is developed so that when you are finished with the product, it goes back into the supply chain instead of the landfill — are taking center stage as we try to escape the cycle of “take-make-waste.” Many manufacturers are using innovative new practices to develop merchandise with the end goal of helping to make a positive impact.

Carbon neutral C-FREE apparel

Shopping Sustainably

The good news is that these trends and shopping habits did not come out of thin air. Fashion brands and makers of apparel are prepared to answer the higher demand for sustainably-sourced and environmentally responsible apparel with a variety of new product offerings.

It’s important to remember that “sustainable” might mean different things to different people. Organic fabric, recycled materials and ethical sourcing are all possible answers to the question of whether a garment is sustainable. Be sure to consult with your customer and come to a shared understanding of what’s meaningfully sustainable to them before presenting any specific product. Also be on the lookout for greenwashing — do your research and avoid exaggerated claims of “green” practices both in the products you buy and in your own communications.

The District RE Collection is made from 100 percent recycled materialsWith all this in mind, SanMar has developed our sustainable product selection to make the experience of purchasing promotional apparel and accessories that are sourced responsibly as seamless as possible. This collection is always growing — today it represents over 60 styles from 10 brands.

Some of those brands include names any customer would immediately recognize. Nike and The North Face® both offer familiar pieces with organic and recycled  content, and colorful Cotopaxi bags and packs are unmistakable, each unique and made from repurposed and ethically sourced materials.

Beyond the brand names, we’ve assembled our sustainable styles with different needs in mind, using broader categories that address sustainability in different ways.

Shirts from Allmade put people and planet first

  • C-FREE styles include t-shirts, polos, tanks and fleece that have been certified as carbon neutral by Carbonfund through their Carbonfree product certification program.
  • Our RE Collection has grown by popular demand, now including tees, fleece, joggers, a beanie and a blanket – all made from 100% recycled materials and never re-dyed.
  • Shirts from Allmade put the needs of people and the planet first, made from a blend of organic cotton, modal and recycled polyester, and always with the well-being of those who make the shirts in mind.

If your customer wants to see the full lineup of sustainable apparel, share our  Sustainable Styles lookbook for a quick and easy way to get them engaged.

And while you’re thinking about which sustainable products you can buy, don’t forget that product decoration can be done with sustainability in mind too. Read up on the latest in our Sustainable Solutions For Decorators article.

The growing demand for sustainable products is an opportunity to grow your business right along with it, and it’s also a chance to be more responsible with our resources and the planet we share. The numbers tell us that the desire for more sustainable products is the future of the apparel industry as we know it. When you’re ready to rise to this opportunity, SanMar’s selection of sustainable styles is here to help.