The Green Machine
"Eco" has become almost a dirty word, some translating it to "hippie-speak," "overly expensive" or even "outdated trend." Companies in all industries try to enhance their images by offering purported eco-friendly products and environmental initiatives. Sometimes these initiatives are the work of clever public relations experts attempting to present a believable but false Earth-saving side of big corporations, a.k.a. "greenwashing" their images. So what happens when your client asks you about ecological apparel? How do you know what shirts, caps and totes are actually eco-friendly and which ones are just greenwashed for appearance's sake? More importantly, how can you transfer these greenwashing marketing campaigns into something you can use in your sales?
We wanted to examine the words "eco" and "green" and the products associated with them. Is "eco" outdated? Are "green" products still selling and if so, who is buying them? Rhenee Mejia, marketing coordinator for Otto International Inc., Ontario, Calif., has the answers below.
Promo Marketing: When did your company begin making ecological products?
Rhenee Mejia: Our line of eco-friendly headwear was first offered in 2009.
PM: What makes a garment "green" or "eco-friendly"?
RM: The caps we offer are "green" because they offer less of a negative impact on the environment. We have line of recycled P.E.T. material, which is made from recycled plastic bottles, a line of bamboo material, and a line of organic cotton material, which uses little or no chemicals in the farming process and is often safer/less irritating for consumers' skin.
PM: Have you seen a decrease in popularity of green products in recent years?
RM: I wouldn't say the popularity or interest has decreased, but in the promotional industry unfortunately the pricing tiers for the eco-friendly items just can't compete with the lower pricing other products can offer.