There’s a new teeshirt and apparel business in town that I find delightful in many ways. EcoTeeCo‘s owner and operator, Angela Polimeni (lead image), started the business to serve a sole purpose – she wanted to create a line of clothing that was environmentally responsible. Since a young girl, she has been one with the planet, which she credits to her father who always pointed out the beauty in nature. He would talk about the flowers, the trees, and the animals, whenever they went on nature excursions. Angela never took her natural surroundings for granted, and when she was old enough to decide what she wanted to do for a living (it’s still mostly a passion play at the moment), she knew that helping to safeguard the environment would be critical in choosing her path.
Angela told me that early on in life she began sketching images that would later be the inspiration for EcoTeeCo. I initially met Angela at the Allen West Festival, which was the first event that she ever set up a pop up booth. Inspired by her devotion to the environment, I struck up a conversation with her, which eventually led to the two of us sitting down over coffee (at Perks, which is an earth-friendly café). Angela started off by telling me that her day job is as an ENL teacher at one of the city’s most impoverished schools. She said that her teachings helped to inspire the launch of EcoTeeCo, which is a project to promote environmental and social responsibility within our community.
Angela also mentioned that EcoTeeCo is dedicated to her dad, who was the inspiration behind the brand. In a terrible twist of fate, her father had a stroke the day that she launched the product line (a few years back), which is why she initially pulled the plug on the project. It was her students that inspired her to revisit the project.
Now, she works on EcoTeeCo at night, before she wakes up early in the morning to take care of her father, upon which time she heads off to teach. “For me, this is a giant leap of faith,” said Angela. “I needed to do something that would make a difference, and I wanted to come up with a product line that would help a cause. The clothing is all fair trade, with organic materials that use no pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides. The growing processes use less water, and there are no chemicals. The materials that I source are hemp, organic bamboo and cotton, and rPET (recycled polyethylene terephtalate made from recycled water bottles), with all natural dyes. I also source as much as I can in the US, and locally (from tags to embroidery). On top of that, every purchase that is made equates to one tree planted by Onetreeplanted.org (inset photo)”
Talking to Angela, it’s easy to get inspired by her responsible economic stances and beliefs. Whether it’s her joggers, sweatshirts, scarves, leggings, dresses, or beanies, her heart is set on selling the best stylish products, with as little impact on the earth as possible. Her hope is, if people start wearing more responsible clothing, then they might begin to rethink other ways that they can make a difference in their daily routines, from transportation choices to using refillable water bottles. “It’s all about reducing your carbon footprint,” she explained. “Buy local, read the labels on clothing and pay attention to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), and plant some trees in the process. If we all pay attention to what we are consuming, we can make a big difference. We have reached a point where we really don’t have a choice anymore. We need to come together to make the right choices, for the good of the planet and for future generations.”