By Elle Rigby
THE OWNER of a company which markets ethical and biodegradable T-shirts made from bamboo says expanding his business online has resulted in his first shipment of 150 tees to Iran.
Tom Chadwick, the owner of Tomoto, started out by selling tees at pop-up shops in Leeds and Manchester in 2014, but is now also using “drop shipping” to cut overheads – delivering goods direct to the customer without keeping any stock.
All tees are handmade with a blend of 70 per cent bamboo viscose and 30 per cent organic cotton and are fair wear certified, which Mr Chadwick hopes will be an ethical antidote against the “fast fashion” industry of the high street.
He has started selling online with ASOS Marketplace and Berlin-based interdependent brand Nelou as well as spending the summer travelling around Europe promoting the Tomoto brand with pop up stalls.
While the online retailers take around 30 per cent commission from each sale, Mr Chadwick said the huge market they reach enables him to build up his business.
“No-one is doing that well anymore, it’s not like the 90s when people had so much more expendable money.
“It wasn’t such a big deal to walk into an independent shop and spend £500 but these days a lot of people are struggling more, there’s not as much cash going around in the general population.
“This boom of online shopping is unbelievable,” he said.
Mr Chadwick started Tomoto on a mission to make ethical clothing that was good for the environment and added that he worries about the impact of cheap online shopping and fast fashion.
The tees, packaged in a handmade graffitied vinyl cover, cost £34 and are biodegradable, with the company promise that all T-shirts “can be put back into the earth when you are done with it”.
He said: “The decision to be ethical was the first thing I decided. I set out to make an ethical brand that isn’t in the trend of the day, it isn’t fast fashion.
“It is through new ideas such as drop shipping that means young companies can have cheaper overheads and sustain their businesses.”