By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD — Rockford Art Deli is among 10 founding members of a national company that manufactures cco-friendly textiles.
The company is Allmade, and it ships plastic bottles picked from U.S. landfills to Haiti, where workers use them to make T-shirts. Each garment is made with the equivalent of six plastic water bottles and equal amounts of beech modal and organic cotton.
Shirts are produced at a manufacturing plant called LIFE that pays workers five times the rate for similar jobs in the area. All the company’s profits go to organizations that support Haitian orphans.
“Our mission to become sustainable and eco-friendly was always a passion for Rockford Art Deli, so when we were approached to join Allmade as a founder, the answer was an easy ‘yes,'” RAD co-owner Jarrod Hennis said. “We are constantly working to make our shop better for our employees and the community so the idea that we could see a shirt change the lives of others made the decision even more exciting. We really are in this to make it better and are excited about the opportunities we have to grow within Rockford and across the nation, all while providing living wage jobs, a sustainable future & a longer lasting garment.”
Hennis owns the shop with Britney Lindgren, and they’ve been selling Allmade shirts since last fall.
“Having a small part in the growth of our own town has shown us that we can inspire others to give back,” Lindgren said. “Because we are also motivated by those who go above and beyond to contribute.”
Hennis added that consumers should be aware of the impact the products they purchase have on the environment. .
“Did a child make it? Was it in a sweatshop? Is it full of pesticides?” he said. “Just being aware of what you buy (is) bigger than just T-shirts. It’s everything. We have one Earth. We need to recycle. We need to be conscious of what we’re buying.”
The other founding partners in the Allmade venture are Ryonet, Printed Threads, SandiLake Clothing, Denver Print House, Definition Industries, Synergy Media Ltd., Nothing Too Fancy, Superior Ink, Barrel Maker Printing, and Maui Screen Printing. R.