In short: Slightly more than a quarter of the world’s population are considered internet users and the web now influences more than $1 trillion in sales annually (about 50% of all sales are web influenced and that number's growing according to Forrester Research). It would be a much larger operational undertaking to partner and distribute goods through local surf shops in an effort to reach a landscape as varied as the online community offers.
Now, a slightly different and more in depth answer: As a developing business, there are several complications in directly selling while simultaneously authorizing merchants to indirectly sell the same merchandise. When distributing through multiple channels, it’s a significant hurdle to develop brand awareness, integrity, and positioning within each individual merchant channel and within each aspect of the retail process itself. This can be additionally complicated by the need to create competitive and consistent multilateral pricing. When examined in this way, it’s perhaps a simpler approach to “fabricate” a single online community reflecting a broader corporate image.
The technology that goes into making an online “storefront” is greatly improving, which will continue enhancing the purchasing experience. The team is confident that your online shopping experience can be a satisfactory one (not to mention a little bit more ecofriendly, efficient, homey, and tax friendly). Don't forget to play the beachy songs accessed from the "S" icon in the top right corner of the webpage.
Is this shirt just for men or is there something in this for the ladies? Unveil
Natural Border began with a vision for an enhanced men’s beach shirt. Why men, you ask. There are two primary reasons:
The Natural Border team is well aware of the fact that women are critical decision-makers and stakeholders in any purchasing decision .... a purchase a gentleman makes is often very much a reflection of what a lady believes should be purchased. So Natural Border is growing on a foundation that is very unisex in its vision, mission, and products .... developing a brand category that’s created to be as universal as possible.
As far as the signature beach shirts go, just use the sizing chart to match a shirt in your existing wardrobe to the Natural Border shirt dimensions. The Natural Border shirts have significant competitive advantages in: the ease in which they’re fastened, the comfort in which they’re worn, and the style in which they’re fashioned. This is universal across gender lines or any other societal demographic. Nickel free snaps are used because no one enjoys a skin irritation; allergies to nickel are common, moreso for females. Heck, even the snaps themselves are said to have a male and a female component. Natural Border shirts are designed, shaped, and tailored so one of the sizes should create an optimal fit for you, but unfortunately there are exceptions. On this front, we promise to continue trying to expand our collection. In the meantime, just have a look!
The snaps used on the shirts have been extensively tested and have proven to have significant durability advantages. Snaps are the optimal and most common fastener for boat covers, so the application should not present any difficulties. Since there was a primary desire to be as universally accepting in composition as possible, hypoallergenic materials were selected and those containing nickel were eliminated due to the number of nickel-related allergies. Eventually, the Natural Border team chose to use snaps fabricated from brass. Brass has been used in sailing ships for centuries because of its durability when exposed to water.
The snaps on the long sleeve shirt are finished with copper, which is a material that has been effectively used to shield or channel water around residences in the form of downspouts, faucets, gutters, plumbing pipes, and roofing. Copper has also been used to make pots and pans because of its hygienic and nonporous qualities that make it resistant to the spread of microorganisms.
And what about the snaps that are different colors? As a secondary quality control at the factory, the colored Natural Border snaps are boiled in water for about 10 minutes to ensure that the heat-sealed paint is not altered. The snaps have been certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The snaps may show slight signs of being worn, but if they lose their functionality or become altered in their material composition with normal wear then please contact our Natural Border team. These situations have been nonexistent and will be few and far between ... if traditional shirt manufacturers were equally as confident in their button fasteners, they wouldn’t need to attach a backup supply of buttons to the shirt like they typically do.
Because Natural Border shirts are oriented toward outdoor enthusiasts, the team made every possible effort to make any decision with a durability litmus test at the core of that decision. If there was a method or material that would lead to increased durability, the Natural Border team made every effort to incorporate those procedures or components into the manufacturing process. Here are a few examples:
In 1885 the snap was first patented by a German inventor. Snaps were originally utilized in costume design because actors were required to quickly change outfits between scenes. Today, snaps have also been incorporated into tear-away pants for athletic warm-ups and they're included on the occasional chef shirt, hospital gown, or outerwear jacket. Many lab coats are now made with snap fasteners as the user is repeatedly putting it on and taking it off … plus, it's a safety advantage to quickly shed the garment should it come into contact with a harmful substance.
Snaps were first applied to shirts designed for cowboys as a way to improve the shirts’ durability and offer better protection when riding a horse. If a rider brushes against a tree branch, then the shirt is ripped from the rider instead of the rider being ripped from the horse. In this way, the shirt also remains undamaged by the mishap. The shirts resulting from this functional enhancement became popular throughout the American Midwest and remain uniquely popular. Cowboy-western shirts can be mostly distinguished by the bulbous pearl snaps they utilize and the unconventional, decorative seam lines that border the front and back shoulder area (neither feature appears within the Natural Border collection).
Well, “easy” is a relative term and each person’s abilities or inabilities are, likewise, relative in nature. With that being said, people in a retirement or rehab community are often hard pressed to see the advantages of button fasteners. For those looking for an easier fastener, buttons make about as much sense as a gas-powered vacuum cleaner or a solar-powered submarine …. about as sensible as a pregnant pole vaulter. The elderly or anyone who has difficulty with buttons will likely appreciate the ease and practicality of snaps and the illustration below is definitely relevant:
Yes, the Natural Border community is a VERY diverse group with wide ranging interests. Folks really seem to appreciate that the shirts are durable and have competitive advantages in: the ease in which they’re fastened, the comfort in which they’re adorned, and the style in which they’re fashioned. Here's a chart inspired by current folks in the Natural Border community to help the brainstorming train leave the station: NATURAL BORDER COMMUNITY
THANK YOU FOR SHARING HOW THE NATURAL BORDER SHIRT WAS USEFUL IN YOUR ACTIVITY, LEISURE, OR LIFESTYLE!
~ PLEASE CONTINUE TO PASS THIS INFORMATION ALONG TO THE TEAM
~ PLEASE tell your friends about the cool new shirt you bought and how you helped make the world a better place in the process!
The short answer is: hardly any bigger or smaller than the button on an average shirt. The longer and more dweeby answer is written as follows: Snaps are measured in terms of “ligne” sizes (“ligne” is pronounced like the word “lean”). A ligne equals .025 inches and there are 40 lignes to the inch. Natural Border shirts use size 16 ligne snaps which are .4 of an inch in diameter.
The use of tagless labels within the apparel industry is a relatively new phenomenon and thus the technology to complete this process is still evolving. The Natural Border process uses ink pads to print the label information directly on the fabric instead of using a heat transfer or screen print. In addition to being NAMSA certified to have zero skin irritation, the label is more durable, flexible, soft, and of course optimal for the environment.
Knowing that one of the key descriptors of the Natural Border brand involves environmental responsibility, it became evident that the packaging and presentation aspects of the brand’s merchandise would need to reflect these same sustainable qualities. In the apparel industry virtually every garment has some type of hang tag to help with the physical branding of the product. Because hang tags are almost always discarded to the landfill, it was decided that the best hang tag would be one with a secondary purpose added to its life cycle. This led to the development of the Natural Border hang tags that are unique bookmarks and coasters (much like the ones at your local watering hole); the bookmarks are good brand identifiers and the coasters are good marketing vehicles as it hosts your favorite beverage. Both the bookmarks and coasters are made from biodegradable, recycled paper collected from local offices and schools.
Instead of stopping there, the team discovered a way to add a third step to the tags’ lifecycle. Herb seeds were added to the manufacturing process so that the bookmarks and coasters can literally be planted and eaten (basil seeds can be found in the coasters; parsley seeds can be found in the bookmarks). Post-consumer waste and biodegradability has never been so attractive, and your friends will likely agree when they hear about how your shirt became a source of water for those who had none and its tag became a part of your own meals! It's also hoped that these tags can be used as educational tools to show our young people a better way for products to return to the earth. International customers receive a magnet instead of the merchandise tag since shipping herbal seeds overseas is complicated.
It was determined in one of the early boardroom meetings that, like with every emerging brand, there would be a benefit to summarizing the company using a few key descriptors. Lists emerged and all of the words seemed to fit into six fairly decipherable categories. Soon it became clear that creating an acronym could help categorize the brand as a whole. As the lists were assessed and the ideas were assimilated, the word that finally met the expectation of this exercise was “access”. Later, it was more formally scripted with the tenuous strokes of spray paint:
So, each letter in the word “access” could be extracted to become the first letter of one of the six categorical brand identifiers. Plus, the word “access” could also stand on its own to create a desired emotion. Webster describes the word “access” to mean: “freedom or ability to obtain or make use of something”. And, it quickly became evident this is the same word used to show where one is to approach the ocean .... a “beach access”. The word “access” would be used to:
After even more doodling in the boardroom, a tagline evolved to further position the brand:
Water is number one on the list of resources most needed for survival. Water education, water hydration, water purification, and water replenishment are among the key issues facing mankind on a daily basis. Water is an extremely limited resource and two things are extremely likely: it will become much more limited and much more expensive to access. Natural Border was established with a three-part mission to: help where possible, to focus on association rather than disassociation, and to build a community base instead of a consumer base. The result has led to a strong collaborative initiative to improve our overall synergy with water and it can be seen in many areas: charitable outreach, manufacturing practices, market positioning, organizational development, packaging initiatives, and post-purchase education and programs.
We live in fluid comprised mostly of water before we're born, beginning existence as cells (made mostly of water) smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. Fifty-five to nearly eighty percent of our bodies are comprised of water (water concentration decreases as a person ages). Moments before we're born, we signal we’re ready to experience the world by “breaking the water”. More than 70% of the earth’s surface is comprised of water. We directly consume water on a daily basis for survival and our food supply can require as much as 90% of our freshwater withdrawals. Water becomes even more intertwined with our lives when it's used in air-conditioning, aquariums, beds, cleaning, competition, defense, electricity generation, exercise, fountains, government, medicine, recreation, religion, science, sport, sprinklers, transportation, and, often most cherished, our vacation getaways. Water fuels, heals, molds, purifies, and transforms. Imagine if your bathroom (or water closet as it's commonly called in many countries) didn’t have any water; imagine your kitchen having a sink or dishwasher without running water; imagine if your ice machine or laundry room didn’t have a water hookup; and imagine if your garden and landscaping didn’t have water.
Water, like religion and ideology, has the power to move millions of people. Since the very birth of human civilization, people have moved to settle close to it. People move when there is too little of it. People move when there is too much of it. People journey down it. People write, sing and dance about it. People fight over it. And all people, everywhere and every day, need it.
So Natural Border didn’t come to water, water came to Natural Border and our community shares the need to protect water, our most vital resource. Undressing the facts:
About 1 out of every 7 people on this planet doesn’t have access to clean water.
4 out of every 6 people on this planet will suffer from water shortages by 2025. (Blue Planet Run)
Water-related diseases kill almost 10 times more people than those killed in wars.It’s safe to say that everyone can relate to water in one way or another …. or, in this case, in one way and another and another and another ….
The bamboo plant has existed since the prehistoric times when dinosaurs were munching on it. There are more than 1,000 species of bamboo. It naturally grows like a weed throughout the world and early civilizations used bamboo to make these items:
Bow & Arrow
Evolving technology inspired communities to use the unique versatility of the bamboo plant to produce amenities such as these:
Tiki Bar, Torch
Luis Marden wrote for National Geographic that: Bamboo is all things to some men, and some things to all men. It enriches the soil; binds the earth against raging floods and the shocks of earthquakes; gives man tools to work with, instruments to make music, toys to divert his children, and weapons with which to fight his fellow creatures. Bamboo provides us paper, a brush, and stylus to set down praise of its own beauty. No growing thing has so many and so varied uses as bamboo. No other living thing grows so tall so fast (some recorded growing four feet in 24 hours). The philosopher said that those who are ignorant of history are doomed to relive it. Modern scientists, well knowing their natural history, turn increasingly to bamboo for both instruction and for use.
In the 13th century, famed explorer Marco Polo described ships in the Pacific towing one another using bamboo to tether the two boats together. Thomas Edison, while fishing with a bamboo pole and having tested more than 6,000 different filament materials, stumbled on a type of charred Japanese bamboo that produced the best filament, lasting about 1,200 hours. Until then, the electric lamp had been more of a novelty item and could now be put into commercial production (over a century later, some of those antique bulbs can still provide light using glowing bamboo). In short: bamboo has been a “big deal” in the story of human civilization, modern technology will continue progressing, and bamboo will continue to prove its effectiveness as a sustainable textile fiber.
Surprisingly, there are many reasons why patterns haven’t been invited to the party yet. While not saying they won’t ever be, here’s a general statement about why the collection is based on solid color shades:
1) Stylists and fashion designers largely agree that it's difficult to match one “pattern” with a second “pattern” within the same outfit. Realizing that most boardshorts and bathing suits being worn in today’s hotspots are typically patterned in style, the Natural Border shirts were designed to complement almost any bathing suit or outfit on the market .... of the patterned or solid variety. The solid colors provide the desired versatile, simplistic, and organic style.
2) Solid colors require a lower quantity of fabric. A higher fabric yield is achieved because less fabric is wasted since it doesn't have to be “matched” in the same way a pattern or print shirt typically does (increased efficiency that benefits both price and sustainability).
Not sure why the brand began with color shades of blue, green, and off-white?Try visualizing a globe, a grassy hillside, a tropical sand beach, a cloud infused sky, or a bright blue ocean without those colors. Or look at the difference in the pictures below: the first is taken without the blue, green, and off-white; the second is taken with these colors added.
This was a design detail that was created by the Natural Border team as a way to allow the user to easily store a writing utensil or sunglasses in their pocket. Because this shirt is likely to be a favorite at the office, it was deemed beneficial to design the pocket flap so that it would allow for the storage of a pen, pencil, or pair of reading glasses. A half inch gap within the seam that joins the flap to the shirt front permits many daily accessories to slide behind the pocket flap and fall securely into the pocket. This feature isn’t noticeable from the front because the visible stitching on the pocket flap is uninterrupted. This feature creates more practical distinction for the shirt and additional utility for the wearer. Please understand the potential risk in storing a pen close to fabric, due to situations when the cap becomes separated from the pen.
It would be very easy to skip the importance of packaging materials, deciding that there isn’t much difference between shipping materials and that truly ecofriendly materials probably don’t exist. However, our team continues to be far from satisfied with this conclusion. After all, it's the packaging that makes the first impression to the community and allows for an additional way to further distinguish the brand. A substantial amount of time was allocated to finding a material that's uniquely benevolent for the environment, a search that culminated in the innovative application of using stone instead of trees in the packaging process. Packaging made from stone is a newly emerging technology and ensures that no deforestation occurs in the manufacturing process.
Stone paper is environmentally friendly from the sourcing of raw material to the processing and onto the final degradation or recycling. It is very unique as it is not a synthetic paper, but an extremely durable paper made from 80% calcium carbonate (CaCo3) and 20% non toxic polyethylene (PE). This is opposed to traditional paper that consists of up to 95% wood pulp and production processing that is harmful to the environment. Stone paper is produced in a waste-free, pollution-free process that uses no water or chemicals (traditional pulp paper uses a lot of water, electricity, and bleaching in processing). All printing that appears on the Natural Border packaging is completed using harmless, soy-based inks. In addition to being durable, the stone-based packaging is nearly waterproof, which helps protect your new favorite shirt during transport. Feel free to repurpose it and when it enters the end of its lifecycle, it can be recycled. If it is discarded and left in direct UV sunlight for more than a year then it will photo-degrade. When it first appeared that there was no good alternative to traditional packaging practices, the Natural Border team is pleased to report a refined method of merchandise packaging that is more ecofriendly than originally thought possible .... almost as unique as the shirt itself.
ABSOLUTELY! It’s unfortunate, but there are aspects of almost every company’s manufacturing and distribution cycle that aren’t optimally efficient or environmentally neutral. The main reason it’s difficult to offset every aspect of the manufacturing and distribution cycle is at least partially because of globalization (though many things are made possible through it). Today, goods often travel further because they can be transported more freely and efficiently. Products are typically created using components that come from locations where that particular item is either most abundant or most easily produced. With more international trade and increasing global competition, the world has become an expansive specialized network that connects a worldwide economy experiencing historic integration. In this way the products created in today’s economy often come from more geographically distant regions that have, for one reason or another, produced specialized and often sustainable advantages.
EXAMPLE: Most companies that compete within the consumer goods sector require some aspect of their supply or distribution chain to function using petroleum-fueled locomotives. The energy powering today’s commercial transport is far more efficient than it was 100, 50, 20, or even 5 years ago, but it's still not at a point where it's totally carbon neutral and energy never exists in complete absence of heat or friction inhibiters. In fact, petroleum powered locomotion typically experiences around a 30% efficiency rate .... referring to the amount of energy used that's actually converted into mechanical energy. Thus, in the field of transport alone there are clear systemic hurdles that need to be overcome to allow for more environmentally efficient supply and distribution cycles.
But, every cycle has to have a starting point and every company needs to create a foundation. The Natural Border foundation is not rooted on 100% sustainability, but it's propelled by a vision to create a much more sustainable planet than we currently have. Civilization currently is and will continue to be challenged with two key depleting resources, petroleum and water. In a locally scalable way, Natural Border has developed an apparel business that's nearly void of any use for petroleum-based pesticides or manmade irrigation. And, in reference to that earlier example of the globalization of goods, Natural Border has gained a competitive advantage in developing a more globally efficient supply chain. This is because many of the physical components used in shirt production arrive from the same location as the design, manufacturing, and distribution parts of the cycle ... The United States of America.
In short, it's definitely the opinion of the Natural Border team that the shirts are priced fairly. Since it's occasionally necessary to explain the shirt’s value proposition relative to the marketplace, here are some highlights that might aid in this dialogue. Natural Border, like most companies, doesn't share information about manufacturing costing and sourcing. But, KP MacLane stepped outside the box and thoughtfully provided the costing numbers for their signature polo shirt production. This Wall Street Journal feature can be read here, but below are the numbers that bring transparency to their manufacturing costs:
The manufacturing costs of a Natural Border shirt are substantially higher than the numbers disclosed in the itemized list above. Before you think that eliminates any chance of presenting a good value to the end user, please remember that’s why the Natural Border shirts are not sold at a wholesale level. Therefore, the additional manufacturing costs due to the shirts’ detailing are absorbed before reaching the community.
Instead of using African cotton like many dress shirts, the Natural Border shirts are made from Asian bamboo and have many completely distinctive features. So, in the end, the prices reflect a Natural Border shirt that's distinct from any other on the market and the inherent need to utilize highly technical manufacturing partners. Decisions were made along the way to maximize the shirt’s value while minimizing the overhead costs. Costs were only assumed after careful consideration was given to the effect on the value proposition, including our shared costs of not tending to the water needs of our most needy. In the end, the hope is that the shirt becomes one you feel represents your own values and, thus, a fair price.
The Natural Border team remains far from sure that folks visiting the site will come close to reading all of the material. However, just so you’re informed, here are a few reasons why there's so much content on the website:
So, in the end, the team is not arrogant enough to believe most folks are reading the content in its entirety. But, it's hoped that if relevant information is being sought, then that information can be found here. And, yes, this content heavy format does have some drawbacks in making it more difficult to keep the focus on products and sales, which are the key to marketing in an age of shrinking attention spans. Because of these hurdles, the website was constructed with the navigation (user interface) designed so that the catalog page, key product descriptions, and checkout functions can still be utilized quickly and simply.
Including fine dress shirts, almost all shirts have seam thread that comes to an end, is tied off, and can sometimes protrude from where a particular stitching process came to an end. All shirts go through an auditing process and de-threading machine prior to leaving the factory, but unfortunately some threads might remain dangling or become apparent after laundering cycles.
Just remember that the Natural Border shirts were crafted by hand at almost every stage and it's this very personalized approach to the shirt-making process that also gives each shirt its own subtle uniqueness. So, expect to clip a few threads on your shirt as it's cared for and if there appears to be something out of whack, then certainly let us know. Otherwise, embrace your individuality and the individuality of your shirts. You can rest assured that the shirt was handled with care and, most importantly, cared for using the hands of folks with a lot of passion for what they do .... and what they do is stitch attractive shirts with a lot of intricacies.
Epaulets (those small decorative straps in the shoulder region of the shirt) are also commonly spelled “Epaulettes” and orginate from said French word meaning “little shoulder”. Epaulets have some small similarities to shoulder “pteruges”, which were a small design detail seen in ancient Roman military garments. But, in more modern history, they were seen beginning in the 17th century as bunches of ribbons designed to signify military rank. Countries throughout the world have used epaulets in different variations and they almost always involve denoting some form of rank (countries like Canada, Germany, France, Sweden, & the United Kingdom).
In the United States, epaulets were authorized for the Navy in the first official uniform regulations in 1797. Captains were fashioned with an epaulet on each shoulder and lieutenants wore only one epaulet on the right shoulder. By 1802, lieutinants wore a single epaulet on the left shoulder, while only the lieutinant in charge of the ship wore a single epaulet on the right shoulder. Stars and stripes were later added in different ways to denote rank. Epaulets were specified for all Army officers in 1832 (utilizing colors to deliniate ranks with some being silver and others gold). More recently, epaulets have also been fashioned by others including airplane pilots and Boy Scouts.
The decision was made early to incorporate epaulets on the Natural Border long sleeve shirt because of its origins in maritime history and appearance seen in captains and those displaying a particular status or rank. Additionally, the epaulets (shoulder straps) added the necessary symmetry and balance to both sleeve straps and both pockets/flaps also appearing on the long sleeve. The epaulets were integrated in the design as another way to further differentiate the shirt’s style from other shirts on the market and as a way to further differentiate the long-sleeved and short-sleeved shirts within the Natural Border collection.
As you know, the Natural Border message is relatively dynamic and requires a lot of grassroots support from folks like yourself. Actions are usually first set into motion after a question has inspired us to move; we're often propelled by unresolved questions. So thanks for asking mate. As a small startup, most of our capital investments have been apportioned to researching and developing the product itself, instead of funding an explosive marketing campaign. It's a production cycle worth recommending and, thankfully, it's sustained through the growing voice of supporters like you. Natural Border welcomes your voice in helping to broadcast our collective message. The marketing plan has six targeted strategies serving to amplify our voice:
|ommunity activism. If you're active in your community or know someone who's active in their community, we would encourage you to educate others about our collective need to protect our resources and to dress more responsibly. If you're not active within your community, please consider stepping up your game.|
|ptimized domain. A website address (domain name) is found when the “right” keywords are entered into a search engine or address bar. Because every visitor takes a unique path to arrive at this destination, we would encourage you to tell us the sexy story about what word combinations you searched to get here. This continually helps determine the “right” keywords to use as virtual brand identifiers, helping with coding for search engine optimization. Also, links to our homepage are generally welcome.|
|utstanding exposure. If you're a high profile celebrity or you have accessibility to a celebrity who shares our passion for sustainably developed initiatives, then we would encourage you to contact us with this information.|
|ublished material. If you're a journalist, you aspire to be a journalist, or you know a journalist then we would encourage you to contact us. We would love for the Natural Border story to become a subplot of your next great literary masterpiece.|
|nvironmental stewardship. Just as folks in the early 20th century like Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson called for a more harmonious interaction with the planet, the Natural Border team seeks to echo the sensibility of these ethics (particularly since our planet had about three billion inhabitants in 1950, currently has more than seven billion people, and the population continues to grow at a rate that demands attention to sustainability).|
Natural Border got its start in apparel after a noticeable migration in the food and beverage sector away from the big industrial and towards the more locally crafted. In order to reach an online community interested in a “ration” of locally handcrafted products, website addresses relating to local craft brewery tours were virtually linked to the Natural Border homepage. This was done in a way that uniquely allows the website to access coastal or otherwise targeted communities. It’s a common mission that unites locavores and this often involves: drinking locally, eating locally, and dressing locally.