Planting Trees with Tees

 - Dec 24, 2011
References: raintees
Beth Doane is the founder of Andira International as well as RainTees, a company that recently caught our eye on Social Business. RainTees is an organic t-shirt company that plants a tree in Central America for every shirt you buy. Not only that, but each shirt has a colourful image created by a child living in an area facing deforestation, so the illustrations depict what's happening to the rainforests from a child's perspective.

We had a chance to catch up with the founder, Beth Doane, who shares where the business idea came from, and the things that have inspired her on the journey of social entrepreneurship, in the interview below.

4 Questions with Beth Doane, Founder of RainTees

1. How did the idea for the business model come about?
I was running Andira, my import and distribution company, for about two years when I realized just how toxic the fashion industry is for the environment and millions of garment workers all over the world. I started to see the negative effects of mass production and began asking questions about the products I was working with. I wanted to find ways to make fashion a more sustainable and ethical industry, and this led me to create the eco fashion brand - RainTees.

2. How did you decide to join this sector?
I did an extensive amount of research before launching my brand. I knew I wanted to make it 100% organic and I wanted something that had never been done before as well. I created the line by asking hundreds of people from all over the world to donate school supplies to children living in our world's most critically endangered tropical rainforests. I hand-delivered the supplies across Central and South America and asked the children to illustrate what they see happening in their world every day. With a design team in the United States we then incorporated their artwork on every RainTee. A tree is planted for every tee we sell through our charity partner Trees for the Future and we launched the brand at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Today we work in more than 38 countries!

3. How do you get your inspiration?
I have always believed that we are all connected, no matter where on earth we live, and it was that concept that inspired RainTees. I feel that the brand gives people a fresh way to combat the negative effects of climate change, while creating jobs in the United States, supporting education and fair trade, all with one purchase.

4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
I love hiking and teaching yoga. Living in Los Angeles I am lucky because of all the great nature that surrounds the city. I also find time to work with animals, as animal rights are really important to me -- and they always make me smile.