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Behind the Label

COTTON SOCKS

Organic Cotton Fields

We purchase our organic cotton directly from over 2000 cooperative farmers in Nicaragua, making $400 prepayments each June for every 1000 lbs. of organic cotton we need for the following year. Our investments cover approximately half of the farmers’ annual cultivation costs. In December when the crop is harvested, Maggie’s pays the entire balance, at prices often higher than the established fair trade price. In this way we share our farmers’ risks, and we guarantee our customers a steady supply of great quality organic cotton. We have worked with these growers for many years through our NGO Jubilee House Community, helping to develop a special variety of cottonseed which is revitalizing both soils and an industry. Sharing risks and staying the course with cooperative farmers is what we call real fair trade.

We are saddened to report that the Nicaraguan farmers, who we have worked with for over seven years to develop organic cotton, have lost their crops to unpredictable weather patterns due to climate change. Until we are able to develop a solution in Nicaragua, we are temporarily sourcing GOTS certified organic cotton from Pakistan and working to develop a relationship with a group of organic cotton farmers in West Africa.

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The Gin

All of the cotton used in all of Maggie’s socks is ginned at a 100% worker-owned cooperative that is run by the farmer co-ops. Once the truckloads of seed cotton arrive at the gin, worker-owners run the equipment and bale the ginned cotton in preparation for shipment to the spinner. Maggie’s has stayed with this project through the early years of trials, even helping to hand-clean the fiber when needed. We pay for all ginned fiber as soon as it is completed, enabling the farmers to reap the harvest of their labor. Establishing long term relationships with our producers and making financial investments in their work is what we call real fair trade.

We are saddened to report that the Nicaraguan farmers, who we have worked with for over seven years to develop organic cotton, have lost their crops to unpredictable weather patterns due to climate change. Until we are able to develop a solution in Nicaragua, we are temporarily sourcing GOTS certified organic cotton from Pakistan and working to develop a relationship with a group of organic cotton farmers in West Africa.

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Spinning

Our spinner is a family-owned-and-operated mill located in San Salvador. As one of the largest mills in Central America, organic cotton is a small part of their business, but they have provided both technical and financial support to our cooperative farmers, and they respect the direct relationship we have with these growers. They work with us to make sure the blend of our fiber and the twist in our yarn is adjusted each year to assure the highest quality socks, and they do it all in accordance with GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards). Communication with and respect for our vendors is what we call real fair trade.

We are saddened to report that the Nicaraguan farmers, who we have worked with for over seven years to develop organic cotton, have lost their crops to unpredictable weather patterns due to climate change. Until we are able to develop a solution in Nicaragua, we are temporarily sourcing GOTS certified organic cotton from Pakistan and working to develop a relationship with a group of organic cotton farmers in West Africa.

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Knitting

Every pair of Maggie’s Organic Cotton Socks is knit by one of four independent family knitters, all located in North Carolina. From our tenacious Crew knitter’s pole barn near the historic mill town of Elon, to the husband and wife team that rebuilt their factory from the ashes after a devastating fire, this group is living proof of the tenacity and perseverance of the American spirit. Maggie’s partners with this indomitable spirit: Since we process and purchase our own organic cotton yarn, our knitters are able to produce our socks before investing in their main raw material. This helps their cash flow, and assures both us and our customers us that our organic yarn is tracked through every step of production. Assisting the financial needs of our knitters and keeping production jobs in the USA is what we call real fair trade.

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Dyeing & Finishing

Every pair of Maggie’s Organic Cotton Socks is dyed and finished in North Carolina U.S.A. We work directly with our dyemasters, and at times we challenge their technical methods. When we brought the idea of hand-made, time-cured Tie Dye socks to our Burlington dyemaster, a true leap-of-faith was required. Special curing racks were built, and many hands and minds worked countless hours to meld together two worlds. The result : our best quality tie dyes in over 22 years! Since adding yarn-dyeing to our sock line in 2012, we have begun to work with another American owned -and- operated dyehouse, in business since 1943. Best of all, EPA-enforcement of US dye standards means we know our low-impact dye criteria is followed. Frequent and honest interaction with many employees at our production facilities is what we call real fair trade.

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