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A New Year update from the founder

Posted on January 02 2023

organic pima cotton

 

In 2019, I visited our newest cotton farm in Chiclayo, Peru - above is one of the photos I took. I could have sat there for an hour taking in the fresh air and sound of stillness. But this was business. Part of our plan to diversify the geography of where we grew our organic Pima cotton. To hedge against bad weather and ensure a steadier supply of this rare but beautiful cotton - the top 0.05% on earth!

Then came the pandemic. And while our attention turned to keeping garment workers safe, something else was happening on cotton farms - not on ours, but on other farms where we had always gotten 20-30% of our supply. Farmers stopped growing cotton and switched to things like potatoes. Why? Because Pima cotton is very labor intensive and slower to grow than food crops. With Peru's acute labor shortage and food supply being a big concern, farmers smartly switched gears.

With the 2020 and 2021 supply disruptions that came from shuttered fabric mills and workshops, this emerging cotton shortage was something that didn't even land on our radar until November 2021 when we realized we wouldn't have enough for our 2022 plans.

While the world turned the corner from the pandemic in 2022, the first half of that year was our most challenging time of all. A painful prioritization of which items we could make.

We've continued an even bolder expansion of our cotton farms, more than doubling the acres. Of course you cannot simply turn on cotton supply like a faucet. The soil has to be certified for organic growing. The cotton needs to be planted, tended, and harvested - a 6 month process if everything goes perfectly.

Today we find ourselves in transition between cotton scarcity and cotton abundance. The first harvest of our newest farm was in December and that cotton is being spun into yarns as we speak. We'll have another expansion harvest in May. After that, with a little luck and cooperation from Mother Nature, we should be in a much better position to maintain a steadier supply of clothing and have opportunities to introduce new designs.

We thank you immensely for sticking with us over the past couple of years as our website fluctuated up and down with product availability. We feel pretty confident saying the darkest horizon is behind us! 

Robert Behnke

 

Robert Behnke
Co-Founder & President

 

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