“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek

Why?

To change the world, one article of clothing at a time.

Most American clothing companies outsource production to factories overseas with poor environmental and human rights records.

The practice is not only bad for workers and the environment but it also costs good, American jobs.

How?

Source and produce locally in a sustainable way that protects and empowers workers, the community and the environment.

Develop a culture that prioritizes people in all decisions.

 

 

What?

Design, produce and market high quality, hemp clothing with a mainstream fashion appeal.

Create a fun and inclusive brand, using positive and humorous designs and advertising, making it cool to wear hemp.

 

 

The Benefits of Hemp

environmentally friendly

  • requires less fertilizer, fewer pesticides than cotton
  • it’s generally carbon-neutral, and can even have a negative carbon footprint

high quality

  • more durable and longer-lasting than cotton, which means less post-consumer waste
  • colors don’t fade over time
  • naturally anti-microbial

comfort

  • silky soft; wears in—not out
  • keeps you warm in the winter, cool in the summer
  • naturally moisture-wicking, keeping you dry all day long

The Company

Branding 

The name came to me one day when I was in college. It appealed to me initially on a superficial level because of the way it seamlessly connected the names of my favorite color and animal. Over time, the idea began to take on a deeper meaning as I realized that Bluelefant could be a symbol of unity transcending the divisions I saw around me.

In my home state, people take college football very seriously—you’re either a fan of Auburn University, whose primary color blue, or the University of Alabama, whose mascot is an elephant.

In the polarized world of American politics, the Democrats are represented by the color blue while the Republicans’ logo is an elephant.

During the American Civil War that divided the North and South, the Union wore blue and the Confederacy wore gray—the color of elephants.

Later, as my idea for the company evolved to focus on hemp, I realized another connection: hemp originated in India and Nepal and where Hindus worship the god Ganesh who is often depicted as a blue elephant.

Mission 

  • to mainstream hemp clothing
  •  to support the local and national economy by creating good jobs with fair wages
  •  to serve as a role model for other companies by creating a new kind of company

Structure

Bluelefant will be a privately held, employee-owned Public Benefit Corporation with a lifetime employment system. Salaries for upper management will be capped at a 5-to-1 ratio with respect to entry-level positions.

Bluelefant will be the parent company for a collection of subsidiary brands. While the Bluelefant brand will initially target a niche market of early adopters, the main focus will be on developing the Jolly Golferrr brand for mainstream appeal.

Employee Ownership

High employee turnover costs businesses time and money in training new hires, so workers who are satisfied with both their work and compensation are less likely to leave. To achieve the highest possible retention rate, companies should not only pay competitive wages but give their employees a true stake in the success of the business through an employee stock ownership plan and as soon as the company becomes profitable transition to a 100% employee-owned structure.

Economic Philosophy

Outsourcing manufacturing overseas is standard operating procedure for the majority of American companies because they believe it saves money and increases profitability. While in the short term outsourcing may give companies a competitive advantage, Bluelefant believes that in the long term local production is better for everyone concerned.

It’s a time-honored truth that manufacturing builds middle classes. Every country we outsource to eventually builds their own middle class. When the cost of doing business becomes ‘too high’ due to the inevitable rise of wages and labor costs, we outsource to a different country. First Mexico, then China, now southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, South America, Eastern Europe and Africa. Eventually this trend should create enough middle classes that there will be nowhere left to outsource too. Then what?

At the same time, outsourcing of jobs leads to lower wages, higher unemployment and a shrunken middle class at home which has less disposable income to spend on the products and services businesses provide. When companies see their revenue decline they will implement more cost-cutting measures to maintain their profit margins, further exacerbating the problem. Business leaders are too often driven by the lure of short-term gains and fail to see the bigger picture. The ever-widening gap between the top and bottom is only the first stage. With an eroding consumer base, it’s only a matter of time before the top will collapse. A business climate that undercuts its customer base will ultimately fail.

While it’s possible to successfully operate certain businesses, like craft breweries, on a local or regional scale, apparel brands still must appeal to and reach the national market but can still operate with distributed local production.  The first company to develop a sustainable, local production model will be well positioned not only for long-term success but should also be a dominant player in their industry going forward. That’s why Bluelefant is committed to creating and supporting local manufacturing jobs and educating consumers on the benefits of products Made in the USA.