The creation of a sustainable and responsible café, an ECOFFEE shop, does not only require careful selection and study of the location, of the materials to be used, of the interior design, but also the selection of suppliers, the analysis of the in-store workflow and of the waste disposal procedures, and the design and production of all that is demanded to create the in-store “mood”.
To spread in-store sustainable and responsible practices and culture, the ECOFFEE’ shop operating requirements leverage not only the above mentioned key elements, but also the training of the sales people and the sale of suitably designed merchandising objects – all having Eco-Mindful Messages Attached.
From Concept to Design: the ECOFFEE tShirts
The ECOFFEE message is clear: sustainability and responsibility are the future. We brainstormed and agreed that the best way to spread and reinforce the ECOFFEE message was to have it printed on salespeople workwear – the tShirt – to be sold as merchandising, both in-store and online.
tShirt and graphics design and selection
We choose OE100 standard certified organic cotton t-shirts – a careful selection which took us quite a long time. Ideally, the tShirt color has to remind us of the natural elements, therefore khaki, yellow and brown tShirt were selected to be printed at first.
In the meanwhile, we studied the graphics and the messages to be printed on the blank tShirts.
Among the many (more than 30) designs created, we finally selected five of them – but only two were picked out to be printed on this first limited edition collection.
We are actually planning to print the other designs very soon and “on demand only”.
The Printing Process
Printing was a key issue on this project if we wanted to keep the final product the least polluting and most sustainable. We choose water-based ink printing – paying careful attention to our water footprint.
Water-based inks have a soft touch, and are ideal for creating more subtle and less “showy” printing effects. Unlike glossy plastisol inks, water-based inks have a matte finish and are totally water and sweat proof.
Water-based inks are very eco-friendly, drying at room temperature (plastisol requires a temperature over 150° C) and do not need additives to be used during the printing process.
From Production to Market
We studied the market and the target customers – finding a good compromise between the ECOFFEE tShirts production costs and the market price for “green” t-shirts.
What we really wanted is to offer a great product, with a great message, keeping our promises of supporting “sustainable and responsible practices” by allocating a X percentage of each tShirt sale profit to a non-profit organization.
We choose GreenAdsBlue.org – Non-Proﬁt Foundation developed by sustainable communication companyGreenGraffiti® to mobilize the communication industry to contribute to the water issues we are all facing today.
Where to sell ECOFFEE tShirts?
The ECOFFEE in-store sale must be the preferred market for the ECOFFEE tShirt: they help spreading the point-of-sale philosophy and generating extra income to be assigned to a non-profit organization.
An additional sales channel might also be the shop e-commerce -either hosted on a dedicated website or on a Facebook page, for example
The “Mommy, what does bio t-shirt mean?” campaign
We think that sustainability and responsibility are quite difficult messages to be explained in a few words. A story, a dialogue between a mother and a daughter might be a good starting point..
And what was meant to be just a concept to show to our clients how to create sustainable merchandising became a successful limited edition collection now available for purchase!