Jill and I recently have been posting a lot about our 7-day road trip from Vancouver down the I5 to Los Angeles and back again. One of the highlights of the trip for me was our visit to the Groceries Apparel factory in Los Angeles. We were invited to stop in and check out the facility by Matt Belk co-owner of Groceries Apparel.
We measure success by the good-paying jobs we create and the amount of green textiles we order.”
Just talking to Matt for 5 minutes gave me a glimpse into his world; long days, deadlines to meet, staff to oversee, creative designs to dream up, finances to manage and much much more I’m sure. His passion for Groceries Apparel was evident, as well as his belief in a truly ethical production process. Groceries Apparel is transparent about their production process, employee pay, waste, and garment selection. Just watching Matt work with his team and the way they interacted gave me a real sense of admiration for the way the Groceries Apparel operates. As we drove out of the parking lot a few members of the Groceries team were shooting hoops together and I left with the sense that their business operates like a family.
Groceries Apparel uses 100% organic and recycled textiles like Cotton, Eucalyptus, Hemp and Recycled Plastic. Matt and Rob are heavily involved in the selection of the textiles and ensure that all are grown without toxic chemicals or GMO’s.
Groceries Apparel is 100% locally manufactured in its own factory in LA. They employ many talented sewers, cutters, and designers. We watched as one of the lead designers was working on new styles for the upcoming season. Just down the street Groceries Apparel operates a vegetable-dye studio where their garments are dyed using 100% non-toxic ingredients.
What is Vertical Manufacturing?
Groceries Apparel runs on a vertical manufacturing business model. This means that the company closely controls and oversees the vast majority of their supply chain. Groceries designs their products and manufactures their apparel in their factory, dyes their apparel in a vegetable dye studio and they source their materials directly from farmers. Another well-known brand that has operated in this model is American Apparel.
There are pros and cons to this kind of involvement in the manufacturing process which is certainly not the easy way to do business.
Control of Ethics – They are able to choose which farms to buy their materials from ensuring organic and non-GMO selection. By manufacturing in-house it is much easier to oversee environmental regulations, fair labor practices and have control over the supply chain.
Time – By owning and overseeing much of the manufacturing process Groceries Apparel is able to save time on shipping.
Footprint – This kind vertical integration shrinks the company’s footprint. By buying locally, using recycled materials, organic textiles and producing in-house Groceries Apparel has a very low Carbon footprint.
Cost – Owning a factory has its fair share of expenses such as paying for state of the art equipment, staff, and rent of course!
Groceries Apparel is more than just an ethical fashion brand they are a sustainable business model and are intent on showing that vertical manufacturing can be done sustainably. Check out some of the pictures below of their factory and the staff that work there!
If both of us could we would have a closet full of Groceries Apparel clothing because their products are soft, minimally styled, comfortable and stylish all in one. They sell wholesale to several different stores as well as on their website. Check out the looks that Groceries Apparel gave us to review below.
Men’s crew pocket t-shirt XL in black (I also have it in light and dark grey)
Komo Kimono size Medium in dark grey (similar look here)
This pieces in this article were given to us to review by Groceries Apparel. All opinions are our own and written honestly. At Sutton + Grove we feature brands and businesses that we truly love and believe fit within a conscious lifestyle. Read more HERE.