From Rachel: How Indigo Tangerine Started, Part Two
Ever wonder how my passion for crafting handmade tote bags began? Check out part one of the Indigo Tangerine story.
As the company continues to grow, our practices and materials have become more efficient and eco-friendly. Here are the specifics...
In May of 2016, I decided to make Indigo Tangerine my full time job, and within a few short weeks, was selling more than I ever dreamed possible. My original bag supplier was conveniently located, and initially they were a great way to get a small business with a bare-bones budget off the ground. But, in the back of my mind, there was always one problem—I didn’t know where these bags were produced, I didn’t know what the labor conditions were like at the factories producing them, and I didn’t know where, or how, they sourced their materials. As a result, not only did I not have any control over the quality of our products, even worse, I didn’t know whether the business I was building was playing a destructive role in the lives of the people producing them and the environment. Profitability at any cost was not what I envisioned for the Indigo Tangerine brand; I had a larger vision in mind.
Conscientious Products and Processes
So, in January 2017, I sat down and wrote out this vision statement for Indigo Tangerine:
Indigo Tangerine is a cottage-based industry dedicated to providing affordable products that are sourced as responsibly as possible. We actively look for opportunities to utilize and develop the talents and skill sets of artisans, tradespeople, and companies, both locally and abroad, that exhibit socially responsible work practices benefitting their local economies and environments in sustainable ways.
This was not a marketing ploy for me; it was a call to arms and I was committed to seeing it through.
And the following timeline shows the progress we’ve made towards reaching those goals:
January 2017: We started printing our products with environmentally-friendly processes. We use water-based inks that produce minimal waste (no hazmat masks necessary!) and hardly any carbon footprint.
November 2017: All our burlap bags and pillows are supplied exclusively for Indigo Tangerine from a certified fair trade manufacturer in India. Our canvas pillows are also 100% certified organic!
January 2018: Our signs are 100% handmade in the U.S.A.
March 2018: We introduced 100% organic and fair trade certified tea towels!
Keeping it Local
While we source our products primarily from overseas (with the exception of our wooden signs), we still do all our printing right here in our quaint little workshop nestled in the woods outside of Chattanooga, TN. This allows us not only to employ people locally, it also allows us to create highly-customized products with great attention to detail. From one-letter monograms, to last name pillows with specific wedding dates, we can get it right for you every time. And if we don’t? We will fix it and make it right! That’s what being small and local allows us to do!