Beanie Love - The Story of JOOB's Brooklyn Made, Climate Neutral, Beanie
Vancouver, BC Photo Shoot with JOOB Beanie in Black and White/Sky Blue Day Pack
When we first started designing our initial assortment and began looking at sustainable materials, Merino wool was one of our top choices for a number of reasons:
- Merino is biodegradable and recyclable - While Merino accounts for only about 1.5% of virgin fiber production, it accounts for 5% of donations to apparel recycling centers - indicating it's durability and longevity.
- Merino is sustainable and natural - Even with the accounting for the methane produced by sheep, the lifetime CO2 emissions profile of this material is better than most options such as cotton, polyester, and nylon.
- Merino is moisture wicking and has a quick evaporation process, keeping you dry even when the material is wet.
- The thermal regulating capabilities of merino keep you warm when its cold and cool when its hot - making it perfect for both winter and summer seasons.
- Merino is naturally breathable and anti-microbial.
- Merino is easy to wash and dry - No dryer is needed and merino is perfect for hand-washing so bringing this fabric with you while you are on the road means a wash in the sink and an overnight hang dry is all that's needed. This contributes to Merino's low CO2 profile during use and re-use life-cycle stage.
Tees or Beanies?
JOOB Beanie in Moroccan color
So we looked at this material for use with tees and beanies, and found a non-mulesed 100% superfine merino material from Australia, thanks to our partner Kendor Textiles out of Vancouver, BC. Our first trial was in the prototyping of a men's tee, but even with the light material of the superfine merino, it was heavier than we really liked.
So we started thinking about using the superfine merino for beanies. The fact that most beanies are thick and don't do well under ski or bike helmets was a key gap we saw with most beanies. In addition, we wanted an easy to store, easy to care for material available in a lot of different colors. And the itch factor that most of us experienced with the thicker wool beanies would not be an issue with the superfine touch of our material.
Prototyping and Production
South Andros Photo Shoot w/Prototype Beanie
You would think that making a beanie is a pretty simple process - but there's actually a lot to consider - how the top shape comes together, single or double-lined fabric, size to cover male and female heads, tags and labels, stitching style. It wasn't until our Brooklyn partner MCM Enterprises came to our assistance did we get the prototype almost perfect. We went through 5 different iterations until we were happy with what we ended up producing.
When Joanne from MCM sent us a picture with her wearing the beanie and telling us how much she loved the fit, comfort, and style of the beanie, we knew we had it right.
Joanne Yeung with Production Beanie in Twighlight
So we started production with MCM in Brooklyn making our initial run in 6 colors - a variety to suit most people and cover most days of the week. To date our beanies have been the most popular items sales-wise and have also received positive feedback from a fit and function perspective. Char Mix and Twighlight are the two favorite colors.
Zero Waste and Climate Neutral
Our last stage in managing our beanies, as well as all of our products, is having a neutral impact on the environment. So during our initial year of launch in 2018 we measured our emissions for the beanies and all products, in order to understand our CO2 footprint as a company - from textile production to delivery to customer. And we've invested in carbon offsets to balance the unavoidable emissions created during each stage of production to delivery.
We then partnered with MCM and a local Ann Arbor tailor to take responsibility in repairing any beanies that get damaged - this is our zero waste commitment (check out our zero waste blog). We want all of our products to have the longest life-cycle possible - and never be thrown out.
So on this Valentines Day, give some love to your spouse and your head and check out our beanies. Free shipping, climate neutral always.
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