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Premium Fibers are a Hook for Emerging DTC Brands

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Getting consumers to take a leap of faith on a direct-to-consumer product is no small feat. Without that hands-on retail experience, how do you convince a shopper that your seams are as strong and your fabric as soft as you’re promising?

Throw in the challenge new brands face building a reputation from scratch, and DTC aren’t left with a wide margin of error. Because of this, some are turning to premium branded fibers as a way to assure consumers that they’re indeed getting what they pay for, every time.

A DTC apparel manufacturer targeting millennials with minimalistic designs, Gettees leverages its relationship with Supima cotton to fulfill its pledge of uncompromising high quality. That Supima is grown exclusively in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas also aligns perfectly with Gettees’ corporate mission, which is to be a champion of the U.S. people who make their products. (The company’s name is inspired by The Gettysburg Address.)

The Detroit-based Gettees, which employs just shy of 20 people, was founded in 2014 by Mathew Hunt. Despite lacking a background in apparel, Hunt was drawn to the industry after studying the garment trade during his time as a student at Michigan State University. With the area’s long history of serving as a platform for American factory jobs, Hunt said he was inspired to continue the legacy of building products and creating opportunities for workers in Michigan.

Supima cotton, meanwhile, is grown by over 500 U.S. family farmers. Its extra-long fibers are known for its ability to retain color, as well for their softness and strength, and more than 500 licensees in over 45 countries make use of a brand that’s become synonymous with high-quality apparel.

Gettees t-shirt with Supima cotton

Credit: Gettees

“Supima is associated with luxury,” Hunt told Sourcing Journal, who noted that it helps his brand when consumers are already familiar with the Supima brand. “When someone is online and they can’t feel the shirt, being able to use a name like Supima helps validate the fabric a lot.”

“Our goal, especially with our first products, was that we wanted to take the shirt out of the box and for it to feel different,” he noted. “And it starts with the fiber [and] the fabric. Supima was the best cotton we could get in the U.S., so that’s the route we went.”

And, Hunt added, “when people feel the product—and we’ve been at pop-ups shops—it speaks for itself.”

Although Gettees got its start as a t-shirt seller, it’s graduated to become an apparel company by adding sweatshirts and hoodies to the mix. As the company has matured, it’s bringing its audience along with it by educating consumers on the material and sustainability benefits of purchasing clothing made with premium fibers.

“When someone feels the shirt and you explain to them that it’s so soft because we’re using Supima, [then] they’re looking for it in other products we make because they want that soft feel,” Hunt explained.

As sustainability and transparency become a larger priority with younger consumers, brands are more conscious than ever about detailing how their products are made—and of the dangers of greenwashing. As such, that Supima has partnered with Oritain, a product and supply chain traceability specialist, goes a long way in helping brands develop a relationship of trust, especially in online selling.

Oritain’s forensic technology enables licensees to authenticate the origin of Supima products to determine if it’s been blended or substituted. This can be done at any stage in the supply chain thanks to Oritain’s ability to ID a “unique fingerprint”—one that can’t be faked or altered.

“People do care and are becoming more aware of how things are made,” Hunt said. “I think if it’s done the right way and it’s interesting—and it’s benefitting them—I think people are willing to listen. The Internet is a great way to storytell.”

Visit Supima.com to learn more about Supima Cotton.

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