Did you know there are Healthy Home Professionals in your area helping people live in a less-toxic, more comfortable and joyful living environment?
HealthyHOME™ PRO is a community of forward-thinking real estate agents and healthy home experts who provide unique and incredible products and services that help their clients achieve more well-being.
We are thrilled to be able to share their stories with you in our Business Spotlight Series.
Two Sisters Ecotextiles
Serving Residents in
Seattle, WA and Worldwide
GOTS - The Global Organic Textile Standard
An Interview with
Q1 - Hey! Thanks for taking the time to be here. Can you start by sharing a little bit about yourself and your business?
We at Two Sisters Ecotextiles produce and sell organic fabric. Not just fabric made of organic fiber; but fabric that is safe to bring into your home. What distinction m I trying to draw between organic fibers and organic fabric?
Think of making applesauce. If you start with organic apples, but add red dye #2, stabilizers, preservatives, emulsifiers, etc., you do not get organic applesauce.
The same is true with fabric. What makes a fabric "organic" is not simply the fact that organic fibers are used, but that the entire process uses only inputs whose toxicity profiles prove they are safe for humans- and the planet.
Even a fabric that is advertised as being made of "100% organic cotton" is 77% cotton and 23% residual chemicals by weight if conventionally processed. (Conventionally processed means not following the requirements of the Global Organic Textile Standard)
Q2 - Everyone has a creation story to share. What was the inspiration or reason you decided to do what you do?
About 20 years ago, when my sister was looking for fabric to recover her sofa, her kids suggested that she choose an “environmentally friendly” fabric. She could find none.
When we first launched sales in 2007, we thought that the issues are so profound that we had 2 or 3 years to make our name before everyone was selling safe fabric. But change is SLOW! We are still one of the very few.
And that is so sd. Because everyone is looking for ways to decrease their carbon footprint, and to help the Earth; not to mention keeping their families safe.
There is no easier way to make a profound difference than changing your textile choices!
Buy GOTS certified fabrics.
Q3 - What services do you offer? And why did you choose to offer those particular services?
We sell safe fabric whose production has been safe for the planet. (Hmm – maybe not entirely “safe”, but as safe as we can be right now) Why? Because we want to save the Orcas, the polar bears, the planet.
We educate people on the stunning safety issues with fabric. And we sell fabric that is safe to bring into your home.
This is NOT a trivial issue.
Fabric production requires GUARGANTUAN mounts of water, chemicals and energy. Water is used at every stage in fabric manufacturing: to dissolve chemicals to be used in one step, then to wash and rinse out those same chemicals to be ready for the next step. Chemicals needed in fabric production weigh between 10% to 100% of the weight of the fabric. The production of the fabric covering your sofa required between 4 and 20 pounds of chemicals. The chemically infused effluent - saturated with dyes, de-foamers, detergents, bleach, optical brighteners, equalizers and many other chemicals - is  released into the local river, where it enters the groundwater, drinking water, the habitat of flora and fauna, and our food chain. As Gene Lisa has said, “There is not a 'no peeing' part of the swimming pool.” We’re all downstream.
Many of the chemicals are known to cause profound health problems in humans; when they have been tested for toxicity at all. GOTS limits or prohibits 300 to 400 chemicals or classes, and more are added every year as the European Reach Legislation advances. The Toxics Release Inventory of the US EPA reports that over 25,000,000 lbs. of toxic chemicals were released by US textile mills in 1995: that’s 25,000,000 lbs of just the chemicals classified as toxic by the not very aggressive US government - and those are the toxic chemicals produced in the US alone. The US textile industry is almost non-existent. Imagine what the Chinese mills are doing.
Q4 - Can you recall a challenging client or situation that you were able to fix or overcome? How did you fix it?
Oh, many ! The facts about the textiles industry are pretty unbelievable. We launched a blog in 2009, and we have had MANY challenges to our posts. We stick to the facts; and quote studies and sources. It helps that I have an MS from MIT, and I read and understand the studies.
Q5 - What have you learned about yourself and your business over the years? How has your business changed to adapt to changing consumer needs?
We sold selling exclusively through showrooms from 2007 to 2015. But we could find no showrooms or sales reps who would learn and educate people about our fabric. Going direct is dangerous in this industry because most “wholesalers”- people or businesses who regularly specify upholstery or drapery or sheeting fabric – make a material part of their income from up-charging for fabric. This puts us in a very difficult position. But our clients tend to understand and are totally willing to pay COM fees – Customers Own Material.
Q6 - Running a business is not always easy. If you could go back in time what advice would you give yourself?
Sift through the advice given by others, including consultants and advisors. Stick to your vision. For instance, absolutely everyone told us to never highlight our mistakes or black eyes. We were encouraged to soft-pedal them. We don’t do that!
Q7- We've all had amazing clients or stories to share that make it all worth it. Can you share a story about a teammate, vendor or client that really impacted you and touched your heart?
We have had many parents of sick kids, people who are sick themselves, or people who just want to do the best thing for the environment, thank us for our information, our work, and our products. If we don’t have a solution, we don’t pretend that we do. But finding safe fabrics is still a ridiculously difficult project. Most distributors and sellers of fabric have no idea what they are selling. For instance, there are ZERO legal requirements to reveal anything about any finish applied at any stage of the fabric production process. Even most sellers have no idea what is in the fabric and the products they sell. There is a lot of unintentional – as well as intentional – misrepresentation in fabric. That is why it is so important to insist on fabric certifications, especially the one that is the gold standard: GOTS, the Global Organic Textile Standard.
Q8 - If a potential client were reading this article, what would you tell them about you, your team or your business that would convince them to choose you?
They are GOTS certified and therefore safe to bring into your home AND their production has been the lightest on the planet currently possible.
This is NOT true of the VAST majority of fabrics on the market.
Q9 - Fun fact about yourself that people may not know.
I love ponies!
Q10 - Where do you see your business going in the next 5 to 10 years?
Since I have been completely wrong about our company for the past 20 years, I’ll resist projecting. I hope we triple in size. That’s still not very big. I hope we can make a mark in our initial goal: to change the way textiles are produced.
What you, what consumers demand gets produced. We want to educate enough people who then get so charged that they educate their friends and they all INSIST on GOTS certified fabrics.
We enjoyed learning so much about you and your business. How can people learn more or get in touch with you?
Please sign up for our newsletter on our website or on our blog; follow us on Facebook or Instagram. We have not been blogging much in the past 2 years (my sister got sick); but I will be again. And most of the issues in our blog are still relevant!
Thank you so much for being a part of the HealthyHOME™ Business Spotlight!
Thank you so much for letting people know what. big deal fabric is! Fabric gets no respect.