Donated tee shirts turn into our beautiful handmade products, which in turn generate income for our community members and support our other offerings - free ESOL classes (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and creative workshops. We've built a community around weaving, a community that uplifts us and strengthens us, where each person's unique talents and skills are valued and incorporated into our collective task of making the changes we want for ourselves, our communities, and our world.
While most social enterprises with similar models to ours make their products in underdeveloped countries, we think it makes sense to make and sell our products here in the USA, firmly rooted in our local community of Holyoke MA. We take in donations of tee shirts and make them into the economic and educational opportunities that we need. We call it alchemy - tee alchemy.
In today’s ‘fast fashion’ world, clothing and household items are sold to consumers so cheaply that they are basically disposable. This creates immense waste, and perpetuates a dangerous cycle; the fashion industry is one of the most polluting and unethical industries in the word. This has to change. We want to help accelerate that change, starting with ourselves: equitable practices and sustainability are our foundation. Recycling discarded clothing items that could have otherwise ended up in a landfill (only 1 of every 10 items donated to second hand shops are sold, the rest are sent to landfills or overseas) is a solid place to start.