Today we’d like to introduce you to Randy Allison.
Hi Randy, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
ALTER X Company is a sustainable apparel brand. The way back story includes growing up in a family that home gardened (loads of kale), composted, lined dried clothes and otherwise was a very planet and people minded family. As a kid, you don’t realize how you are being influenced at the time, but in looking back these daily routines were very formative and influential. My dad was I would like to think a pioneer in the electric vehicle industry working to get electric buses on the road in Santa Barbara back in the early 90s. My mom is Filipino and grew up out in the country in the Philippines where they had to repair and repurpose clothing and make the most of what they had. Her sewing machine was always going! Growing up new shoes were not an option until we had tried duct tape and gobs of shoe goo first. By any means necessary, make it last.
In addition to environmental and general conservation awareness, my family has fostered youth for several years. Living outside your comfort zone and giving of yourself for the purpose of bringing other’s comfort and care is a gift and spirit we wanted to encourage through our brand. Take care of our planet, take care of others and make do with what you have – thus our company slogan. Do what we can, with what we have, wherever we are.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The company is in response and inspired by an experience my wife and I had while she was working as a Registered Nurse on an Indian Reservation in Arizona during the peak of COVID (Blog – www.alterxco.com/the-gift-of-getting-there). Leaving the comforts of a Los Angeles suburb and taking up residence in an RV park out in the desert was not easy, but showed us that we can do more with less and furthered my belief that we help ourselves in ways only found when we intentionally serve others. ALTER X Company intends to advance this mindset. The apparel industry needs our help, consumers need help revisioning how they see and use clothing and there are opportunities for everyone to find purpose in helping others near or far. Anyone and everyone can make a difference.
Failure in the apparel business is almost a certainty. Dreams and idealism aside, there were more reasons NOT to start ALTER X. Ever changing markets and communities effected by COVID, exhausted and constrained international supply chains, no industry experience in apparel, no connections and limited financial resources were all staring, sometimes screaming in our face. But we did it anyway.
Like any entrepreneurial venture there is daily doubt… the worry and “what ifs” that go with the journey are constant, but it’s the vision and a belief you are doing the right thing and what is necessary that keeps you going. And loads of praying! And in the grand scheme of things, I really don’t believe that the financially and power secure make the most impact for good on this planet. It are everyday, “ordinary” people who make those daily decisions to do and be better that make the most difference and influence enduring change.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
At the heart of our business is the belief that people and organizations can do better to improve the lives for all people and in the process become better caretakers of our planet.
The company is structured as a California Benefit Corporation which places in our charter the directive to make intentional and verifiable contributions to causes and our communities. For profit with a non-profit heart and mission.
Our brand intends to demonstrate an example of how apparel brands can benefit the industry by producing less, wasting less and make sustainability a standard not a nice to have.
Over production is a problem not only for Fast Fashion brands but we see even “sustainable” brands still over producing. Ask Africa if we need more clothes. Over production and the resulting excessive consumption of clothing is still a problem for the industry, fast or slow. It isn’t just what goes into or how you produce clothing but answering the question, should we make it at all and why? We want to influence change by showing consumers and producers that less is more. We are looking past sustainability as a novelty to being standard practice which of course must be mindful of materials and labor rights but also includes much smaller production cycles and significantly less consumer enticement practices. Make clothes that last and let consumers be satisfied with what they have. Unfortunately, creating envy is a necessary evil in apparel. We want to help evolve fashion and style to include mindfulness and purpose to make a difference for others and this planet we share. Helping people find and realize purpose is a huge part of why ALTER X exists.
What I hope anyone interacting with our company takes away is the idea that everyone, everywhere can make a difference. Whether being more mindful consumers, better stewards of the planet or using our time and talent to help others.
Our first item is a premium t shirt made of 60% Hemp and 40% Organic Cotton. Every shirt sold will donate 150 meals to Mississippi Food Network to fight hunger and food scarcity in Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson and their surrounding counties is consistently the most impoverished and food scarce community in the country (https://alterxco.com/collabs/). By integrating intentional giving into our brand we hope people will discover and demand greater values (not just value) and intention in what they wear. Purpose is the new substance of style.
On the hot topic of brand transparency, consumers can see what goes into our shirt by scanning our QR code printed on the inside size and care label of every shirt. Here we will provide all we can to uphold the spirit of transparency and accountability our customers and planet deserve: www.alterxco.com/thelabel
Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Life is a gift that is to be used in service to others whenever possible. There is no greater joy or sense of fulfillment than knowing you made a positive and hope inspiring difference in someone’s life. Real living is giving. Let your light shine!
In interest of disclosure and transparency needed in our industry we are providing our pricing break down:
- Production (Materials and Manufacturing only. Not including marketing, general business costs etc.): $20.00 per shirt.
- Our materials, manufacturing and labor standards simply costs more. We produce less than 2000 units in each batch all made in Los Angeles using only Organic and sustainably produced materials. We do not chase the benefit from volume discounts. Further, because we are Fair Labor certified (SA8000), our producers pay a fair wage. Values over value. But we still think our shirt is a great value because of the premium quality, deep color and richness of our shirt (best in market in our opinion) and all the good it does and keeps doing (highly durable).
- Cause collaboration: $25.00 donated directly to Mississippi Food Network for every shirt sold. Hope beats hunger! In the future we will include other causes including Mental health and Human Trafficking.
- Direct to Consumer Retail price: $67.00
- Email: Randy@ALTERxCO.com
- Website: www.alterxco.com
- Instagram: Alterxcompany
- Facebook: Alterxco