Founder of Seed2Shirt, Tameka Peoples launches campaign as the First Black Woman-Owned integrated apparel manufacturing and print-on-demand company in the The United States. Seed2Shirt is the first to use an all-black-owned production from cotton seed-to-cotton shirt for their Blank Apparel T-shirt Line to a Black Woman-Owned printing company, She Prints It.
Using organic cotton from African cotton farmers, produced in small batch carbon-neutral production
centers in Kenya, Africa and distribute their line of blanks and print option shirts globally. Seed2Shirt
means black cotton, black production, black shipping, black woman prints fulfillment partner – with full
plans to utilize African American cotton farmers as they continue to grow their production ecosystem and vision.
“Our vision was clear to be a company that empowers People who’ve been traditionally marginalized, creates planet beneficial products and services for brands and corporations, and to uses the profit for good supporting programs that change the world through cotton and apparel manufacturing.” “Seed2Shirt…bringing you products that change the world”
~ Tameka Peoples
Established in 2018, Seed2Shirt vision, born out of the need for production to exist in communities of color, their vision was clear to be a company that empowers people who’ve been traditionally marginalized, to create planet beneficial products and services uses profit for good supporting programs
that change the world. So, they’ve done just that. Providing products and services that empower the African Diaspora people, are Planet beneficial, serve a positive purpose in people’s lives, and make the world a better place. They are the first black-woman-owned vertically integrated apparel manufacturing and print-on-demand company in the US.
Their products are ethically and sustainably manufactured from organic cotton/material from African and soon African American cotton farmers, produced at are small-batch carbon-neutral production centers in Kenya, Africa. Seed2Shirt only offers 100% organic cotton, which is a fair-trade line of blank apparel products. The Legacy line of unisex blank t-shirts come in two styles, three color options, with multiple sizes available. The HEMP/Cotton blends line launches this fall and along with the Polo’s, Hoodies, Long-sleeves, and much more. The vertically integrated model enables us to refine, and source select for the highest quality of material and to employ the most ethical, environmental production practices.
Founder, CEO, and managing director of Seed2Shirt is not new to entrepreneurship, leadership, and community service. After serving nearly 10 years in the Air force, this visionary and veteran-owned company has done the work of leading her consultant firm to great levels of success. Taking her company from a small-scale independent consulting firm to a supporting Omni-bus multiyear, multi-million dollar federal contracts with global giants such as AT&T. She didn’t just stop at “solo” accomplishments and profits. It was always more than just about “profits, it was about purpose and people.
Tameka is also, the visionary Founder-Board of Director/CEO of Peoples Foundation, a veteran nonprofit servicing youth, and veterans in her community, and leading national-level agricultural outreach programs for veterans, new and beginning farmers with partners like the University of Purdue- National AgrAbility Project. She practice’s what she preaches and believes, we must be the change we want to see in this world.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t start this line necessarily because of “fashion’s impact on the environment” … Yes, it’s true: the impact fashion has on the environment and reconnecting that is a long time coming. For me it was about why…why wasn’t there a Black-owned producer and distributor of “blank” t-shirts…Why couldn’t we create a line that we could know the material was from Black-owned sources? It didn’t exist so I created it.
~ Tameka Peoples
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Tameka: I was inspired to become an entrepreneur to solve problems, provide much-needed solutions for clients, and communities especially our black community in spaces where we are not traditionally represented or have been systemically left out of.
As founder of Seed2Shirt, how has business been during the pandemic?
Tameka: Business like most startups during a pandemic has been challenging, the pandemic has tested our ability to maintain the traction necessary for a startup like ours, and to address the operational components of our national and international agriculture work that is a key part of the quality behind our product and larger work. But, in challenging times, you learn the most about yourself, your team, and ways to improve what you can do.
I learned how the business will humble you, how to grow in the struggle and how resolutely committed I am to this work; most importantly how committed people and community are to…seeing you through the tough times because your business model is so needed -the work and the community of supporters customers have kept of going and it’s so nice to see and be a part of that.
What would you like our readers to know about your company?
Tameka: That Seed2Shirt is a new black woman-owned “blank” apparel manufacturer offering options for your company/brand or unique event. We provide quality ethically made t-shirts for your company/brand or we couple this with quality branding services to meet your unique need. Further, we operate with a “business for good” model — a percentage of every dollar spent with Seed2Shirt is used to empower the communities we serve, enrich the farmers whose cotton we use for our line — through our Farmer Enrichment program, and improve the lands we live in.
Most companies’ brands and people will find us for our products and services but will stay with us for our mission and the positive impact we make in the world. Seed2Shirt goal is to be the leader in medium batch ethically made eco-friendly line of T-shirts, and a provider of unique branding options for companies and we do this by being committed to the 4 “P” mission of Seed2Shirt: People and community first, Profit for Good, 3. Programs that support and improve livelihoods and Products that matter.
In what ways do you feel you make a difference in the world?
Tameka: This is a loaded question and happy to answer it. I started this -Seed2Shirt and all of what I do with a mindset of service…I guess you could say it started at home with my momma, was extended through my service in the military I’m a veteran and Seed2Shirt is a veteran-owned business. So, in a nutshell, service and making a difference in the world, has always been a part of who I am and what I do.
How “making a difference in the world” shows up in the work we do is best captured in the work of Seed2shirt Farmer Enrichment program. We had an opportunity to go bond just making a shirt with quality cotton from a leading organic cotton-producing country. We truly looked at how can we help the
farmers who we worked with were facing significant challenges, and we developed a program in order to address those challenges and positively impact their life — this is the People part of our mission.
Through this program, we’ll reach over eight thousand four hundred (8,400) organic cotton farmers in Burkina Faso 58% of which are women. We provide training on regenerative soil health practices, support tools and resource options, and much more. We are also committed to “Positively impacting the planet” its another core tenant of our mission.
Here is some background and numbers behind our environmental impact:
The facts have been routinely pointed out here and based on the LCA findings, organic cotton production in the use of an average T-shirt results in a saving of 1,982 gallons of water compared to the results for chemically grown cotton. Given these facts, Seed2Shirts’ “environmental impact” is clear to date based on our 100% organic cotton T-shirts sales we’ve saved 8,919,000 — million gallons of water.
This calculation is helpful to understand Seed2Shirt larger impact in the work we do in “expanding” organic cotton markets for our small hold organic cotton farmers in Burkina Faso, we’ve sold over 110,231 pounds of “Raw Organic Cotton” from those farmers into the other US markets — as we’re certified global organic textile standards (GOTS) organic cotton broker — one of the only Black woman brokers in this space. In doing so we’ve saved: 436,955,684 — million gallons of water; so, overall since our inception, we saved over: 445,874,681 — gallons of water.
Not to mention our Carbon neutrality goals and the fact that we produce at a “Gold Star” rated carbon-neutral facility in Kenya, Africa. We ship using carbon-neutral shipping internationally and are committed to it on a national scale as well, and we are utilizing 100% compostable packaging materials. We’re a small but mighty company with truly global impact goals…so I guess you could say we’re just getting started.
What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?
Tameka: I truly love what I do, I’m enjoying using every skill asset I learned in life and my “careers” to do the work I’m doing now — leading the charge and mission of Seed2Shirt. I love and enjoy working with people in my community -with the land, I enjoy growing as a person to have a global citizen — of one African diaspora view, and finally, I most enjoy believing and knowing I can change the world…just keep taking actions of positive nature in line with the Seed2Shirt mission and do those actions every day….joy has no choice but to follow.
How do you balance your career and your mental health?
Tameka: Setting boundaries, being present, and putting the highest and my family first.
What is a quote that you live by?
Tameka: “Time is one of our Greatest Gifts…What Will You Do with Yours.” Every day, I wake and thank the highest for the time I’m given to be…be alive…be doing this work and be present in the work. I will not waste one moment of time while I’m on this earth ..and I will use my time to change the conditions for our community — globally for the better.
What are you looking forward to?
Tameka: Growth, and capacity building partnership building with intention. I am truly looking forward to the journey of Seed2Shirt and growing what we’re building with a great team, great partners, and the great communities we serve. I look forward to people learning of use reading his story and finding ways to be a part of our community — in the multiple forms we make that possible.
What advice would you have for anyone that aspires to become an entrepreneur?
Tameka: The definition of entrepreneur…” is that of a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.” Take this “definition” and threw it out the window…and be a leader be a person willing to absorb the risk and embrace failure…learn from all your experiences love what you do so you can do what you love, know it takes a team and a community-build both and know that it’s a 7-course meal described as a journey that will not happen overnight… and stick through it in the tough times cause the world and your purpose is waiting for you on the other side.
To learn more about Seed2Shirt and gain further information please visit www.seed2shirt.com
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Multimedia Creative and Personality Tammy Reese is an award-winning Writer and Journalist. Writing and Directing short films on social issues to spread awareness through the arts gained Tammy the Makers: Women Who Make America Award honor on International Women's Day 2019. Tammy currently serves on the Communications Committee for New York Women In Film and Television. She is also the Founder and Owner of Visionary Minds Public Relations and Media.