According to Organic Trade Association, the organic product sales exceeded $49.4 billion in 2017, of which $45.2 billion was in sales of organic food products. The rest comprised of clothing, personal care, and lifestyle products. And the organic lifestyle products space is undergoing an interesting metamorphosis, thanks to a slew of entrepreneurs with a deep interest in sustainability and social responsibility.
Leading the cause is Edina, Minnesota (US) based Vishal Naithani, co-founder of Sol Organics who sells premium organic bed sheets in the US market. The goal of the premium organic cotton bedding products company is to make luxury lifestyle products affordable and accessible to larger demographics while ensuring economic and social justice on both sides of the supply chain.
At present, Fair Trade by definition means the farmers are getting paid fairly for the raw materials they produce. Though the customers are willing to pay a small premium for Fair Trade Certified products, the retailed price is often laden with unnecessary markups. Sol Organics is changing the dynamics of the industry by selling these luxury bed sheets at a fair price to consumers in the US.
As the accessibility and affordability of luxury organic bed sheets increases, so will its demand. This, in turn, will fuel demand for these bedding products that are sourced entirely from India. The biggest beneficiaries will be organic cotton farmers in India. Indian companies that produce these sheets that are to be sold in the US have to ensure that the cotton farmers are paid fairly for their produce, their children are getting access to education, and all organic practices are being followed. The integrity of the supply chain, from the cotton being fair trade certified, to the factory, is on par with Patagonia and Prana.
The corporate social responsibility does not end here. Sol Organics donates a fixed amount to charities in the US on every sale it makes.
The journey has just started, says Vishal Naithani. “The ecosystem that I want to establish will benefit every participant in the supply chain. But I will be truly content when the farmers of organic cotton in India are the biggest beneficiaries. That does not mean the end consumer will be paying the price, they are the demand drivers and will not participate if the products I sell are not fairly priced”, he adds further.
The eCommerce industry is enabling companies like Sol Organics to reach its consumers in an efficient way. Online mattress and bedding products industry is pegged at $18 billion at present. Of these, $3 billion worth of products sold exclusively online. It is estimated that by 2020, this amount is going to double enabling entrepreneurial ventures like Sol Organics to create a truly sustainable business ecosystem.