My short bio: Hey, I'm Nick, a university student in Edinburgh, Scotland, who got tired of having to buy all his clothes at Primark and others at the cost of the planet, so I decided to make my own brand: The Carbon Offset Clothing Initiative. Totally sustainable and carbon offset (and really comfy), I'm trying to show the world you don't have to be unethical to make it.

My Proof: https://imgur.com/a/ROIFsUS

CLOSING UPDATE: Thank you for all of your support, you have really set me on the path to making this something you and I can be proud of. I hope to show those who are sceptical that I really do mean the real deal, but I will show you with actions and not words. Thank you all for your orders, as a uni student who has few prospects in the UK job market at the moment, this has given me so much purpose I didn't know I needed. Goodnight and thank you sincerely.

Comments: 625 • Responses: 105  • Date: 

stupidsofttees667 karma

Just wanted to give my 2c on the designs. I like your mission but I don’t care about your logo. I avoid almost all clothes that use a logo as a primary design unless it’s small and unavoidable (why would I want to be a walking billboard for a company?). So.. I know brand matters, but you already have a story that resonates. I would maybe consider shifting how you think about design.

NE21244 karma

Every input is valid! You never know, might shift soon Because this is quite high up, I'll go a bit further - so we initially weren't expecting this uptake, and just really wanted to get the name out there. However, hearing this, we will definitely make them less prominent in future. Your constructive criticism is appriciated. Have a great day

czar_king25 karma

I wanted to voice a counter opinion that I like a good branding on environmentally friendly stuff. When people don’t recognize the logo I can tell them about the impact

NE2126 karma

This was a consideration of ours. We'll make something smaller too then everyone can be happy I hope!

afroman147 karma

I would also buy some products if the logo was smaller. Just not a huge fan of the giant logos on things

NE216 karma

That's totally fair, we live and we learn! Please keep an eye out for the next run

jaded_toast454 karma

Can you describe in more detail the ways the clothing is sustainable? ie. Are the materials only natural fibers? How does it compare in terms of water consumption during the manufacturing process? etc.

NE21343 karma

Hey! So we use ethically and fairly produced cotton, and anything that can't be made from this is entirely recycled! Now obviously water is an ever present issue in the production of cotton, so our next project is to redcue/fix this when we get a bit bigger is to support this somehow. Any ideas/suggestions? Thanks for the question

joaopassos4444265 karma

What does it mean "ethically and fairly produced cotton"?

NE21290 karma

We mean that the people who work in production of the cotton are safe and well-reimbursed in their job. Thanks for the question!

joaopassos4444195 karma

How does that translates to a lower carbon footprint?

NE21105 karma

So that bit doesn't necessarily lower carbon footprint, but the 243 trees we've planted for our sales so far have! Check out how WeOffset works at www.weoffset.world

sooprvylyn93 karma

Being from the production side of fashion myself...this is just about the only way to make any kind of positive impact on carbon...planting trees and doing other similar things w the profits your company makes. Nearly every type of fiber and textile is terrible for the environment, unless you want to be paying scads of money for hand spun and woven fabrics made by indigenous peoples(indian khadi might be the best option costwise).

Good on you for trying to do something other than profit.

NE2121 karma

Thank you so much!

joaopassos4444-86 karma

Nike has planted near one million trees.

source: https://www.weforest.org/partner/nike

So you don't lower CO2 emissions, you just plant trees to compensate. Well, 243 trees is not something to be proud yet. But you are on the right track, and I belive that by 2040 you will have made some difference in the world.

You also don't reduce water needs in the cotton industry wich presents a big problem, and you said in a previous comment that people who work in the production are "safe and well-reimbursed in their job". How, me buying a shirt from you can assure me that those people are happy and well paid?

NE21121 karma

I don't find that a helpful thing to say at all - at least I'm making an effort, and helping others to do the same. Don't diminish people trying to help, because collective efforts add up. Certification - I do my homework and work hard.

joaopassos444453 karma

I bet you work hard, but man, listen up. You have a website, where you only have 4 items, sold at an astonishing price with a mediocre design. You say those people have great working conditions, and organic cotton and you plant trees. I have no proof those people are happy working in the cotton industry, I have no proof of your organic cotton (wich is actually much more harmfull to the enviornment), I have no proof you even plant trees. So, all you have done, could have been done by a 4th grade student, I mean you have a mask, a hootie, a t-shirt and a bag. A bad designed website, and that is not hard to do.. I could find a 8yo that would design 25 products in 3 hours. Your design is very weak, I am sorry for being sincere. You planted 243 trees, but that isn't even a thing man, all people are doing when buying with you is just simple charity, because you have nothing to offer. People don't buy a mask from you because it is organic cotton or because it looks cool, they use you to plant 3 trees and they think they are helping the enviornment. £31.95 for a hoodie and you plant 5 trees? There are better projects than that, I would pay £50 to plant 100 trees in lots of other ONGs, and buy a cool hoodie from NIKE that planted 1 000 000 trees by half the price (and now you say, well they don't use organic cotton, but I am pretty sure they do, in much larger quantities that you do, because maybe half of the cotton suppliers in the world don't have acess to any other kind of cotton farming). Don't make an excuse out of the enviornment man, your just fooling yourself. Anyways, I would really like to buy your hoodie, how can you prove me that you planted 5 trees on my behalf?

NE219 karma

Also I run the other company WeOffset with a friend; we can show you the planting site for 5 trees

NE21-5 karma

You've got a lot of anger dude, hope things get better for you

space_coconut86 karma

What is the wage that the cotton harvesters are paid?

NE2134 karma

Hey, so our producers are held to account by the FLA, who have high minimum standards

space_coconut102 karma

do you know what the rate is or do you just have faith that the FLA is paying fairly?

NE2136 karma

I don't know the rate. The FLA has high standards that I will review when I have the means too, we're still too small

Sluice_Mountain63 karma

Hemp fiber. Uses less water than cotton to grow the plant. Good start.

NE2143 karma

I will be sure to research and see if I can implement. Thanks for the support, means a lot to me personally

Sluice_Mountain18 karma

No problem man! I work in the hemp industry and have studied a lot of hemp farming techniques. Good luck!

NE2111 karma

Do you know of any good clothing suppliers? Thanks!

Sluice_Mountain12 karma

Here is an article that has some good info between cotton and hemp.https://wamaunderwear.com/blogs/news/hemp-vs-cotton

You said you are in Scotland, correct? I am in the US so procuring hemp material could be more expensive given transportation costs to send it over the pond. Granted you could add the cost into the COGS of your clothing to offset that, but you would need to run the numbers.

Here is a list of suppliers in the USA: https://www.hemptraders.com/ https://envirotextile.com/ https://www.bulkhempwarehouse.com/

I am not affiliated with any of these companies. Just have heard good things.

NE217 karma

I will be sure to follow this up if/when we expand! Thanks so much

Reverend_Ooga_Booga36 karma

Obviously your working to source your materials, but it could be worth it to partner with a vertical farm to determine the viability of cotton as crop.

Vertical farming uses significatlntly less water (under 25% if i remember correctly) as the run off is simply recycled.

NE2128 karma

This has definitely been considered, and if I look at my future plans (hoping we get that far) I was actually hoping to directly partner/buy a farm like that! Thanks for asking!

GourdGuard7 karma

Don't rule out synthetic fabrics. A company named Repreve sells fabric made from recycled platics.

NE2117 karma

Some of this is used in our hoodies!!! I love it, so soft and sustainable (I'm not even repping here I just love the clothes)

Nekraphobia165 karma

Could you go into more details on your carbon offset? I've read some of your comments about planting trees and I'm not entirely convinced.

Just planting trees doesn't really mean much and considering the concerns with biodiversity could cause more harm than good. Is biodiversity being factored in? On top of that there's some evidence that replanting efforts are causing a warming effect, and considering the trees take a century to reach maturity your claims seem... dubious at best.

This article from NASA sums up some criticisms with the "replanting" efforts and quite frankly the movement has the reputation of businesses trying to put up a facade of being eco friendly while avoiding doing anything about their immediate environmental damage.


I'm certainly not saying you're doing something wrong or are worse than other fashion companies but you are making some bold claims without a lot to back them up.

NE2196 karma

Hey, so I spent the best part of last year running a company called WeOffset and have debated many a time.

Basically the only trees we plant are trees that have been removed. In Mozambique there have been loads of issues with deforestation of the mangroves, and that is where we planted. The added bonus, if you look beyond the CO2 sequestering, is providing jobs to those that work there at very good rates of pay, and also preventing coastal erosion due to the root networks of the trees. Will respond tomorrow with more! Cheers

Nekraphobia49 karma

Those are great points, thanks for taking the time to respond!

NE2129 karma

My absolute pleasure. Let me know if there's anything at all further I can help you with

Thomhandiir17 karma

I see you mention deforestation and replanting in those areas, one could argue that replanting those trees will eventually help cover for the damage done by deforestation, but you also have your production added on top. You can't of course be expected to take responsibility for other people's actions, just a random thought that popped into my head.

But to follow up on the questions around replanting, has any research gone into finding out how much CO2 each tree can "such up" so to speak at the various stages of growth, and how does that relate to the more immediate climate impact of your production? I imagine it could take years or even decades for various types of trees to grow to full size where the would have a larger impact on the environment.

I will also admit I didn't look at the website yet, just browsing comments. Are you providing some sort of certificate or guarantee outside of claiming to plant x trees per y amounts of clothing? I imagine you order cotton in bulk, place bulk order for clothing, and plant trees in bulk to account for each shipment. Might be interesting if some form of certificate could be included to better legitimize your efforts.

With regards to the cotton plants, have you taken steps to ensure plant location doesn't also have a bigger environmental impact than needed? For instance have there been any deforestation done to create space for the cotton plants, and do you take such factors into account when calculating to be carbon neutral?

Any future plans to aim for going into negatives on your carbon footprint?

Are you only looking for replanting efforts, or do you also look into other avenues to help the environment? If I'm not mistaken the sea is a large source of the world's oxygen supply, and there's been some research into the effects of microplastics and other sea pollutants affecting oxygen generation from oceans. I've no idea myself of sea based efforts could have a more immediate environmental impact than replanting trees, though I guess harder to calculate for.

NE2125 karma

My apologies for a terse response but an excellent question! Yes, this is what I want. the reality of our generation is we have to not only reduce carbon, but fix the damage of the previous ones that lived unsustainably on borrowed resources from us. I want to do 'my bit' as it were.

There has been quite a lot of research; if you do research, please have a look at mangrove trees like we plant, as they sequester even more CO2 than normal forests!

Yes we guarantee through our partner firm WeOffset

This has been considered, but will be scrutinised further when we have more resources. I am very serious about this

We if anything ' trick' people into negative footprints, because the CO2 absorption is based on 5 years estimates, but the trees keep on growing (it's a nice trick I promise)

We are looking into other avenues, but it's important the consumer can conceptualise their CO2 absorption - 3 trees is easier to understand than 3 inches of CO2 storers etc. (step by step)

Many thanks, have a fab day

Humpty_Humper65 karma

It seems as if you are competing in a very saturated market. Instead of simply competing on design/quality, you now have to also compete on level of sustainability and proof of sustainability. There are a ton of clothing companies doing the same thing and it seems like a steeply uphill battle. Reading comments, it sounds like everyone agrees there is a ton of inventory waste in the clothing industry. Have you considered simply purchasing dead stock and redesigning those materials? To me, that sounds like a fresh take and you wouldn’t have to prove offsets, which are highly controversial anyway. I know there was a company in LA buying dead denim stock and redesigning it custom, but that is the only company in that area of which I’m aware.

NE214 karma

Great idea! Another one to go in the ideas for the future list I'm keeping. Right now I'm keeping all stock on sale until it's gone, no if's or but's - no waste here. But this is such a good idea to take it even further, thank you!

danny_glovedher62 karma

Will you be selling blanks, showcasing prints and designs from different designers, or your using your own house designs?

Will you do any upcycling/recycling?

I ask because I don't buy new when I can just buy second hand because no matter how 'sustainable' a new product claims to be. Its not. Its production.

NE2111 karma

We really want more designers, so if you know any please please please send my way. Would definitely make blanks if demand is there.

We recycle where we can't use organic, and even our shipping packaging is recycled and recyclable!

I can see your view - however we are trying to find a medium between consumers who will only buy new (most people) and people who will only buy second hand. We are trying to convert that former group to a more sustainable way of thinking, and that will take some steps. If anything, I'd really like to reassure you our goals are the same - less waste and less CO2. Thanks for your question!

UnicornFishCake35 karma

Your Cotton is organic, but I’ve heard good thinks about GMO BT Cotton and increase in biodiversity and less land use. Why did you choose organic?

NE218 karma

At this moment in time organic is all we could find. But that's a great idea! I will be sure to look into GMO, sounds really promising

Gloomheart27 karma

Have you considered a trade in program to help with sustainability? Customers can trade in clothes they've worn for awhile, for a discount on newer clothes, and you can have a secondary "Previously loved" section. This will allow people to a) Participate in "fast fashion" without as huge a strain on the environment, and b) have access to your clothing at every price point.

I don't think this is something that's being done currently, but I myself would be more than willing to purchase second hand clothing that the manufacturer has deemed still in good condition.

R0TTENART26 karma

Patagonia offers this exact service:


NE217 karma

We might take 'creative licence', but all for a good cause!

NE2112 karma

What a great idea! I've added it to the business plan, thank you so much! Really would achieve two goals at once eh?

Lieffe20 karma

Can you put a size guide on your website? “Your size should fit you” isn’t really descriptive of what size your clothes are.

NE211 karma

Size A (in) B (in) C (in) S 27.36 18.90 8.07 M 28.15 20.08 8.07 L 28.94 21.26 8.46 XL 29.72 22.44 8.46 XXL 30.51 23.62 8.86

This is for the t-shirt, have been implementing but hadn't quite finished!

NE213 karma

Oh shoot terrible formatting

NE2119 karma

Really appreciate all of the questions, they're helping me work towards being a better brand! Please ask anything at all

Turkalator11 karma

How much money did your family contribute to start your business?

NE215 karma

Absolutely none, I work deliveroo and saved a stupid number of hours. It also helped that I did almost everything DIY and have very talented and helpful friends!

unused_candles11 karma

Is your cotton sourced from labor camps in Xinjiang?

NE213 karma

It isn't.

Captain_Hampockets5 karma

Where did you get the money for all this, as a university student?

NE213 karma

Did loads of deliveroo and and made some risky crypto bets, I'm not even kidding

NE214 karma

Having a great time doing this - it's really important to keep working on the brand and what we need to be. Special thanks to u/Gloomheart for the great suggestion to recycle!

coryrenton3 karma

As a percentage, how much of revenue is set aside for marketing, and what channels have done the best for you so far?

NE213 karma

Oh lord, so I try and work on 10-15 of revenue for ads. What I've learned:

Snapchat support was really unhelpful when they sent my ads to the wrong place, and the conversions to purchases were super bad Facebook has AWFUL small business support, and locked me out for no reason for a week when I was trying to see about ads. Terrible conversions too and questionable 'impressions' figures

Summary: do organic traffic if at all possible!

johnisback1232 karma

you mean t-shirt and jeans?

NE212 karma

T-shirts yes, jeans not yet :)

shivers_421 karma

It's often very hard to get away from fast fashion in extended sizes because of the cost of high quality plus size clothing and the lack of availability for second hand plus size clothes. Are you considering extending sizes more in the future?

NE212 karma

This could be done, thanks for bringing to my attention! What sort of Max. were you thinking? Have a hoodie or two in 2 or 3 xl I think?

shivers_422 karma

Honestly 5-6X is ideal to be really inclusive. I have started shopping almost exclusively at places that go up to at least a true 4X as someone who wears 2-3X just to be sure that if something I like runs small I can still size up.

NE212 karma

Oh ok! I will be absolutely sure to consider in the next run.

Thank you for telling me

ukallday1 karma

Is it as affordable as primark?

NE211 karma

Um not quite but nothing ridiculous

karmenrider5551 karma

Do you think sustainable brands are profitable since most sustainable brands have high price tag?

NE212 karma

Not more profitable, as people are still hooked on primark etc. they need more volume of sales to truly succeed

Drblackcobra1 karma

Might use this in a game. What are your predicted sales after the pandemic? (Sorry dumb question)

NE210 karma

Oooh fun! You have my permission to use our name, so long as it's good for the player! Hopefully up, as at currently they're a little low as I expect people are worried about income which is fair

Drblackcobra2 karma

Ah ok. Thank you so much! :) We should keep in contact!

NE211 karma

Yes please!

rachbbbbb0 karma

Do you know Ruth?

NE211 karma

I know of one from a long time back

NE210 karma