Response From Gap….I Guess I Still Will Want My Organic Jeans

Posted by organicneedle in organicneedle, projects, random rants

I’ll give Gap this…they are fast in shutting down a gal’s dream. This came within hours of my sending it off to the big 3 on Friday. I think I will send a follow up letter pointing out that Levi, thanks for the tip arduous, has already managed to create a line of affordable eco-jeans. Are they going to let Levi be the leader? I have to think of some good smack to throw in there. Get a good fight going. Well…here is the actual e-mail sent:

Dear Ms. [Needle],

Thank you for your e-mail and for your suggestion regarding an organic
Gap and GapKids line. At this time, we do not have information
regarding whether these will be an option in the future. We apologize
for any disappointment this may have caused.

We appreciate the time you have taken to contact us and share your
thoughts with us. We will pass your message along to our merchandising
team, as customer feedback is the most important consideration when
planning what future products we will offer.

If we may be of further assistance, please contact us via e-mail at
custserv@gap.com or by calling 1-800-GAP-STYLE. Our Customer Service
Consultants are available 24 hours a day for your convenience.


Customer Service Consultant

This one came from Banana on Sunday:

Dear Ms. [Needle],

Thank you for your e-mail and the suggestion to see us expand our
offerings using organic cotton. Customer feedback is important, not
only to us here at bananarepublic.com but to everyone at Banana
Republic. Again, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with
us. Please be assured that we have forwarded your comments to our
Merchandise Team for review.

If we may be of further assistance, please contact us via e-mail at
custserv@bananarepublic.com or by calling 1-888-BR-STYLE. Our Customer
Service Consultants are available 24 hours a day for your convenience.


Customer Service Consultant

This is clearly a crying out for more hounding. I have a sneaky suspicion this is their pat response to anything suggested…organic jeans…pants made of cheese. It will take a few more letters for them to take it seriously. If any of you are good at the smack talk…start jotting down some ideas. Get inspiration from some organic moonshine if it helps. Whatever gets me my jeans people! Although…. cheese pants may have their day.



I Want Organic Cotton Jeans…..And So Should You

Posted by organicneedle in organicneedle, projects, random rants

Why do I try to work exclusively with organic cotton? I’m so glad you asked. Cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world. It accounts for 25% of the world’s insecticide, 7 of the top 15 of which are considered known carcinogens. Because it is not food, its production is not regulated under the same restrictions that our edibles are…which are pretty loose in their own right. According to the World Health Organization there are 20,000 cotton pesticide related deaths a year. (If you are interested in reading more about it Harmony Fabrics has great information on their site.)

Do I have a closet full of organics…nope. I park my sweet little fanny in jeans from Banana Republic most days. Why? Availability. Reliability. I can go to the store…try them on…and then order the same size and style for years to come. Most of the time, stores offer organics in only baby clothes and the occasional adult tee shirt. No jeans. Now…you might ask…organicneedle…why don’t you make your own jeans? Frankly…I don’t have those kind of skills. Denim is a beast to work with for the sewer and the machine. I did find a few companies that make organic jeans on line …at about $200+ a pair. That price just isn’t practical for the average buyer. Not to mention…who is ordering expensive jeans without knowing if her butt is going to look adorable or like the side of a bus? Not the kind of online gambling I’m into.

Here’s the deal. Having spent some time now dabbling in the world of organic fabric distributors, I have realized that in order to bring the price down to something reasonable…you need to buy in mass, extreme mass. Plus, the labor on jeans is too much for hand sewing or even small business equipment sewing…you need factories. In order to guarantee production of fabric you need to have a big backer. To have control over coloring, texture, etc….again, you need to have major buying power. We need the Gap people. Yep…the Gap. My plan….to get Gap Inc. (Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic) to make organic jeans. We need a company that creates in such mass that they can provide something affordable. We need a company that actually makes fashionable jeans that people want to wear. (A lot of Mom jeans in the small organic market. Pssssss….jeans aren’t suppose to cover your ribs.) momjean Old Navy & Gap currently have a very limited line of organic baby clothes…so they are open to the idea… at least open to the idea of capitalizing on the power of the word organic. If we could just push them in the direction of organic denim we could prevent 100,000s of pounds of pesticides being sprayed each year. It is my guess that they are testing out the market to see if people are willing to pay those extra organic dollars. I for one would be glad to pay and extra 10 or 20 if it would mean a massive reduction of chemicals dumped into the world. Would you?

So here is my little letter:

Dear Gap Representative:

I am thrilled to see your stores starting to carry organic cotton baby clothes. I am wondering if there are plans to create an organic denim jeans line for kids and adults. I’m sure you are already aware of all of the problems currently associated with conventionally grown cotton. A company with as wide a scope as yours could have a tremendous impact in reducing the millions of pounds of chemicals sprayed each year in the production of cotton. There are many of us who would welcome and support an organic line in your stores.

Thank you for your time,

[Fill in your own name here. Or make one up. They’ll never know. Moooohahahahah. Smedley Von Nicklebottom has a nice ring to it.]

All mail seems to be filtered through their customer service department. How far it goes is a mystery. I’ll keep everyone posted if I get a response. If you join in…keep me posted.






Product Review: Preserve Razor & Replacement Heads by Recycline

Posted by organicneedle in Uncategorized

wookieI’m sure by now many of you are familiar with Recycline , a neat little company trying to change a few things in the world of plastic products. I recently reviewed their toothbrushes with some success and since the season is calling for a little less wookie leg…I’ve decided to give their razors a try. So here it is…

razorPreserve Razor 4 count 5.19 & Preserve Replacement Heads 5 count 3.99 …Recommend …I think. I usually use Personal Touch which also has replaceable blades to reduce waste. Not sure why Preserve has to give you 4…but maybe they break, hence the “I think.” The Preserve razor is a lot lighter and cheaper feeling, but it’s head is a little bit flexible making knees much easier to navigate. I think men who use disposables would like this. Price is about the same as the conventional razors with replacement heads. In terms of plastic, the razors are made from recycled #5 plastic, verses the virgin plastic of most conventional replacement head razors. Recycline will also take the razors back to further recycle them into new products. Packaging is excellent for both the razor and the replacement heads- recycled/recyclable paper. My recommendation for this one comes purely from a recycling/recyclability standpoint. The whole support companies that do the right thing-thing, yaddy yaddy yaddy. So if you are looking to tame your winter wookie legs and save the world at the same time…give them a try.



For Beth :)

Posted by organicneedle in Uncategorized


Produce Bag Fabric…Organic Color Grown Cotton Mesh



Daily Tote….Brain Picking Time

Posted by organicneedle in organicneedle, organicneedle bags, plastic, sewing

Being so far satisfied with the produce bag designs, although anxiously awaiting reviews from my first wonderful customers, I have started working on designs for a Daily Tote. My goal for this one is to make a bag that people WOULD actually carry with them inside their larger purse/briefcase everyday to work to cover all those little unexpected carrying jobs that land us with unwanted bags and packaging. The fabric would be the same organic color grown cotton I used for the wine gift bags due to its durability and gender neutral pattern. It would need to be small enough to be rolled up conveniently in one’s briefcase or purse but large enough to carry a take out lunch or pick up a few items after work, oh…say 2 or 3 bottles of wine and some stinky cheese. My first idea was to make it a flat tote for easy rolling and stashing, but flat can limit carry potential. I think a slight box approach might be better- like a shirt box shape. Or maybe I will make both designs.  Maybe a little inner pocket for to-do lists, money, etc? Nothing too bulky. Attractive enough to be stylish, but not so fancy people wold be afraid to chuck a lunch in it. When do you find yourself caught without your bag?

PS. What is with spell checker letting me spell definitely wrong on my sponge post? Tad embarrassing. I’ll get you spell checker…….don’t you worry.



Who Is Gobbling Up Your “Healthy” Dollars…The Amazing Spinjob

Posted by organicneedle in random rants

giantAbout a week ago BoingBoing’s posted a list of brands that disguise themselves as separate little health companies, when in fact they are just spinjobs from the biggies. I guess thinking we are supporting the little guy gives many of us the warm fuzzies when we shop…otherwise big corporations wouldn’t try so hard to hide their giant behinds behind their quaint little mini-companies.

See any of your favorites on the list? Boca and Morning Star I knew about; one of our local health food stores refuses to carry them because of their giant ties. Kashi got me. I totally bought into their little commercials…smiling…picking berries. My kids are hard core Kashi freaks. I buy the TLCs by the case. Now…I can’t claim to have ever done the slightest bit of research beyond reading the ingredient label…so I guess I am a fairly easy target.

Why does it matter? 3 reasons my little brain can spot…

  • For those who try to keep the mega-companies in check by supporting the little guys….obviously these “little guys” aren’t who they say they are.
  • For hardcore locavores, it is virtually impossible to track down ingredient sources for these companies’ products. Consider it the challenge of the day…more like the month.
  • We ALL need to be very concerned and watchful of the amount of control these mega-companies have over the politics that go into creating the definitions and standards for organics. The looser the better for them…not so much for us.

Although it doesn’t thrill me that these aren’t the little mom’s and pop’s they pretend to be…I will still buy the products that my family and I like. (Boca burgers with Morning Star Facon are what constitute fast food around here.) I am a big believer that dollars being spent DO make a difference and guide companies in the directions we want them to go. Otherwise, companies wouldn’t bother to create organics, vegetarian, or anything healthy in fact if there weren’t a market. The truth is, these mega-companies stepping onto the “health” scene seems to have brought organic prices down for more people to buy them and increased general awareness as well. Because these companies produce in mass, it also means massive decreases in pesticides being sprayed if they in fact move into organics. Besides…there would be a toddler revolt in this house if I denied access to the TLCs. They know where I sleep…and have access to glue sticks.

How throughly do you research the companies that make your products? Does their size matter? Is there anything that worries you about this type of marketing?  Do you feel tricked?



Product Review: Tom’s of Maine Soap…Unscented?

Posted by organicneedle in green cleaning, plastic, product review

Tom’s of Maine Natural Moisturizing Body Bar Soap Unscented 1 bar 3.19…Not Recommended…Big difference in price. I usually use Olay’s Moisturizing Soap which works out to be about 1.25 a bar in the multipack. The Tom’s soap wasn’t very lathery and had a weird feel, like wet wax. My husband swears it has a bad smell. Not so sure what exactly he is sniffing, but he is not a fan. The packaging is a wash because the multipack I buy usually has a plastic binder wrapper around the paper boxes but no inner plastic. The Tom’s has no outer plastic, a little deceiving, but the bar itself is in a plastic bag. Not sure why. (Kinda felt tricked. Like some exec at Tom’s is cackling going, “Moohhahahha slipped another bag by one of those sniveling greenies. Tom’s exec one…environment zero.” Okay…maybe watching a tad too much Captain Planet with my 4 year old.) Anyhow, I’m sure there are better natural soaps out there…probably for a better price too. I’ll take suggestions from the audience on this one. (Just for you toddlerless people out there, probably sleeping past 6AM, my little friend today is Verminous Skumm, voiced by Jeff Goldblum, eco-villain, …the rat-not Jeff. Attractive, no?)



Caldrea Sponges Product Review…Definitely Sponge Worthy

Posted by organicneedle in green cleaning, plastic, product review

I have to say one of my favorite parts of greening up the house is trying out new products.I am finding it a tremendously authentic teaching opportunity for myself and my little ones. The whole house seems to take interest in the smallest details that would otherwise go completely unnoticed. What does it come in? What is it made of? How does it smell? Does it work? And best of all, can I try to clean with that? 🙂 I am a clever clever gal. So here it is….
spongeCaldrea Pop Up Sponges, 10 count $10...Recommend… Very cool looking. The kids, and maybe even the spouse, will be fighting over who gets to “inflate” the next sponge. The package of ten is only about the depth of a deck of cards. These are made from cellulose and cotton, completely biodegradable. I wonder if they can go in the compost? They do come in a plastic wrapper, but because they are able to fit ten in the space of one, it is about…well…ten times less then our usual Scotchbrites. They definitely feel like any other sponge. It could be just me, but they seem to dry faster too, meaning less stink. The only big potential drawback is that they do not have a scrubby side. This isn’t a huge deal for us because we mostly only wash our stainless steal pots by hand and the scrubber isn’t the best for them anyway. Replacing sponges with something more earth friendly would be a huge step in our house. I confess. I am an anti-spongite. I have a serious skeeve issue with anything used for multiple cleanings and throw them out at the slightest whiff of mildewiness. And yet…I like these. So…dirty up some dishes and get yourself a pack.

Something new… The Husband Haiku Review

profile grows and grows
and yet the footprint smaller
smiles grow and grow too



Plastic Vs Organic

Posted by organicneedle in plastic, random rants


(Okay…the picture is NOT how I buy eggs. Who is eating this many deviled eggs that they need a special carrying case?  Talk about expendable income.) Enough mocking other people’s egg eatery habits….. can someone please tell me why it is impossible to find organic eggs not in plastic? Many of the organic egg companies use recycled plastic in their packaging, which is great, but…….the plastic itself is not recyclable here in NY and in many other states. It isn’t as if a crack team of scientists need to be employed on this one. It is called a recycled/recyclable paper carton. My CSA doesn’t currently do the egg thing for summer, but they’re working on getting a local chicken farmer to come on distribution day. In the meantime, I must get my eggs the old fashion way…from a giant megalomart.



Plastic Reduction for Dummies…Taming the Beast

Posted by organicneedle in plastic

Tuesday afternoon, spending some quality time eying my trash, and what do I notice? A lot of plastic bags that could have had a second use if I had not beast mastered them open. Seriously…am I that hungry that I can’t undo the twist tie? Do I need to shred the bag open with my teeth to get to the tortillas? I think I could work the extra 4 seconds into my schedule to actually locate the zipper lock at the top of the bag and not harpoon through the side. Since we have given up plastic grocery bags and plastic produce bags, all other plastic bags coming in the form of food packaging are at a premium in our house and I have not been giving them their due respect. From here on out I vow to actually open packages like a human being as to preserve their integrity and subsequently my own dignity. (Any chocolate covered items are exempt from this vow. I will continue to use whichever instrument, machine or body part gets the chocolaty goodness into my pie hole the fastest.)