Partnering with us in our commitment to sustainable fashion, TS Designs has been making major environmental strides since 1977 in eco-conscious apparel. We sat down with President Eric Henry to learn more about how this company got its start and is working with other socially-conscious businesses that make up The Green Movement.
Q: What inspired you to enter the apparel industry?
A: I started my first business when I was a sophomore at NC State University to support my extracurricular activities.
Q: Can you explain what TSD does differently as it works to better the industry?
A: There’s two big things. First is REHANCE, a water-based print then garment dye process that we developed. We discovered that the industry standard for printing t-shirts was using plastisol inks, which aren’t good for the environment. The second thing is a completely transparent supply chain. We have our own, Cotton of the Carolinas.
Q: TSD has 3 bottom lines, can you tell us about them?
A: People, the Planet & Profits. We believe businesses have a responsibility beyond the bottom line. A business should be aware and responsible for their external cost, like the impact of climate change or outsourcing their manufacturing.
Q: You wear a number of hats at TSD, is there a certain element of the business that you are most passionate about?
A: That’s a tough one. I guess I would have to say building community. Connecting with people, companies, and suppliers that share similar values.
Q: As a leader in the fight for sustainability, what changes do you see most necessary in our current national and international state?
A: First, addressing Climate Change, the biggest challenge our generation faces and how we address it will impact future generations. Secondly, the shrinking middle class and the concentration of wealth within a very small group of people. This problem is corrupting both our political system and democracy itself.
Q: Your involvement in the community is extremely inspiring. What local organizations are you involved in?
A: I helped start our co-op grocery store Company Shops Market and Burlington Beer Works. I’m also on advisory boards for Elon Business School, Environmental Science and Burlington Downtown Corporation.
Written by Shannon Randall
Photos by Matt Johnson