Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in a clothing line but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Adila Cokar, founder of The Good Tee, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Good Tee, a Fair Trade Certified B Corporation, is on a mission to humanize the fashion industry by celebrating the incredible people in the supply chain that make their fair trade organic cotton products. I started The Good Tee in 2020 after coming face-to-face with the knowledge of the high suicide rates among farmers while on one of my sourcing trips to India. It was heart-breaking to know that more than 270,000 cotton farmers alone have committed suicide since 1995.
The Good Tee ensures transparency, ethical working conditions, and sustainability in their supply chain by being involved fully involved in the process from seed to shelf. When you wear The Good Tee, you'll look great while helping to ensure and celebrate the freedom and dignity of the makers.
We well both retail direct to consumers online and wholesale, business to business. Our B2B customers can customize our tees, private label (our back neck label rips out), or sell basics in retail shops. We are currently in over 30 stores across North America.
Tell us about yourself
I've been working in the fashion industry for over 18 years and specialize in responsible offshore manufacturing. Pre pandemic, I had regularly traveled to manufacturer's sites, working with vendors, and helping improve production processes. My manufacturing partners often support their local community, including Assisi Garments Ltd., based in India, which provides funds to the local orphanage to support children and education.
I am also the author of the book, Source My Garment – The Insider's Guide to Responsible Offshore Manufacturing ( 2019). I wrote the book to help make it easier for people to manufacture overseas and support the many responsible overseas factories.
My mission is to remind the world that garment factories are not run by machines; they are run by people. It is my goal to humanize factories and the value of their products. Together, designers, factories, and consumers can all be part of a triple bottom line: Profit. Planet. People.
Customers that believe in our mission and the people that make our clothes motivate me every day. It's not easy running a factory, and I feel good knowing that I, too, am voting with "my" dollar but supporting good humans that make good things.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I'm proud to have written a comprehensive book that I believe can really give people the confidence to manufacture overseas with little to no experience.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Managing stresses, the ups, and the downs. Trying to maintain a balance.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Grow your tribe; relationships are key to everything you do.
- Learn about yourself, what you are not good at, and find the people to help you with the things you are not good at.
- Balance and perseverance are key.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.