We’ve put together a list of a few brands and the stories that make these companies stand out from the rest. Feel good stories. Stories about doing good and stories about exploration and discovery.
GOOD: Wooden Ships is way more than a sweater company. They are family-owned and family-run, with an obsessive attention to fit, lasting quality, and a love for cool, casual-chic style.
BETTER: Husband and wife founders began their journey over 25 years ago in Bali were they backpacked, fell in love with the people and the culture, and decided to make Bali their home. Their passion for friends, family, community, taking care of our planet and giving back, funnels through Wooden Ships products and company values.
BEST: The love of the environment still drives Wooden Ships today. As of 2017, the company is 85% powered by the sun, they recycle everything possible and donate all yarn wastage for reuse locally for stuffing in pillows and dolls, plus they compost, and believe in Lean Production, a no-waste approach.
What our staff loves: These sweaters are boxy, relaxed and super comfy and soft. You can wear them next to your skin, or as a layering piece. It’s a beautiful staple that will last for years.
GOOD: Purnell makes flexible clothes with classic style. It’s for those who live and work with passion. It’s for the movers, the makers, the innovators.
BETTER: Co-founder Brent Dehlsen comes from a family that has been pioneering the renewable energy industry for over 30 years. He began his career climbing wind turbines and spending his days hundreds of feet off the ground. He found it tough to find clothing that could adapt to the variable and intense conditions out in the field. He visualized something he could wear both on and off the job, with specific design tweaks like added stretch to canvas and rearranged pockets and seams.
BEST: Purnell is for folks who want to look sharp in apparel that flows effortlessly with you from the place you get your hands dirty to the place you ink the deals or drink the beer –or whatever.
What our staff loves: This line is made with high quality and extremely comfortable fabric. The shirts drape nicely and the colors are a man’s best friend…neutral colors which match with every pair of pants. This is apparel that can keep up with whatever you do and still look sharp.
For Men and Women + Only available in Kennett Store
GOOD: Tentree was founded on the premise that every consumer wants to know that they are contributing to the wellbeing of our planet, which is why tentree plants 10 trees for every item purchased.
BETTER: At tentree, the focus is on more than just planting trees. They want to help change lives. Not only does reforestation revitalize dry arid soil and provide a substantial oxygen supply, but it directly benefits locals living in the area by providing wood for fuel, food, and fodder for livestock, as well as permanent and seasonal employment. Tentree partnered with not-for-profits across the planet to ensure that tentree has a truly global footprint, and can identify the regions that will benefit most from their planting. They also work with socially and environmentally responsible factories that are [WRAP](http://www.wrapcompliance.org/en/certification) certified.
BEST: Soft, warm, and comfortable, tentree graphic tees and hoodies are feel-good essentials made with unique, long-lasting style. Most are made with a purposeful blend of organic cotton and recycled polyester, and accented with details like a cork drawcord tab featuring the tentree logo.
What our staff loves: David (TCO Manager and tentree fan) loves the tees mineral wash look and feel. He is a true outsider, cyclist and environmental enthusiast, so the idea of planting trees for every tentree hoodie, hat or tee purchased is an added bonus.
For Women + Men
GOOD: The founders of Altra are elite athletes and running store managers from the Wasatch Mountains. They noticed that the design of most running shoes was hurting runners more than helping them. They originally used a toaster to modify their trail running shoes before they developed their own shoes with the goal of making a shoe that let you run the way you were born to.
BETTER: For decades, virtually every running shoe has featured pointy toe boxes and heels that were twice as thick and heavy as the forefoot. While shoe companies claimed this design would protect your body from running injuries, the scientific research did not agree. Altra founders decided to modify shoes into something that could encourage low impact running technique and prevent injury.
BEST: What began as experimental shoe alterations has transformed into the only shoe company to provide a cushioned Zero Drop™ platform and FootShape™ toe box. This innovative combo promotes low-impact technique and allows your feet to remain in a natural, relaxed position across every terrain.
What Jim says (TCO employee and ultra marathoner): Running is a huge part of my life, and these shoes make running farther more comfortable…while relieving my worries about injury from pushing myself to keep going.
GOOD: FEED was founded in 2007 by Lauren Bush Lauren during her travels around the world as a World Food Programme (WFP) Honorary Spokesperson. Her goal was to put a dent in child malnutrition by providing school meals.
BETTER: For each bracelet sold, 5 school meals are provided. For many children, a school lunch is the only meal they receive all day, and research shows that when children are given school meals, attendance doubles and performance greatly improves. That’s where FEED helps out: With the simple idea of creating products that would engage people in the fight against hunger in a tangible way. The FEED 5 Bracelet comes in an array of cheery hues that make it easy to look good while doing good.
BEST: All FEED products are produced under fair-labor conditions. The company is also committed to using environmentally friendly materials, including organic cotton and burlap, whenever possible. FEED Project works with artisans and has established cooperatives in Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Kenya, El Salvador, and Peru to provide sustainable livelihoods in areas where they provide school meals. They also provide meals in the U.S. To date, over 98 million school meals have been provided.
What Ally says (TCO employee and FEED fanatic): I wear one, maybe two bracelets at a time, they look great and I love that I am helping feed kids across the world. A true fashion statement. I plan on giving FEED bracelets this Holiday to just about anyone I think would wear one.
For Men and Women, Glen Mills Store
GOOD: It’s back! We are happy to once again be carrying Mountain Hardwear, which was founded in 1993 by a small band of outdoor industry iconoclasts. These folks think that everyone who enjoys the outdoors is an outdoor athlete.
BETTER: For Mountain Hardwear, performance means products purposefully designed, form following function, using the highest quality materials and technologies. They believe that living boldly means daring to be different, leaning into life and pursuing new challenges and opportunities to experience the world more richly, to know your self more completely, and to savor the satisfaction of living life to the fullest.
BEST: With the focus on performance, users benefit from a better physical and emotional experience through fit, weather protection, temperature regulation and moisture management. Along with stand-out products, Mountain Hardwear is committed to exploring innovative ways of doing business that will support a sustainable future. At the heart of their Social Responsibility program is their Standards of Manufacturing Practices program (SMP) which outlines standards that support Mountain Hardwear’s values of ethical, fair treatment of people and sustainable manufacturing practices.
What JB says (Employee and longtime Mountain Hardwear fan and former rep): I love Mountian Hardwear products, especially the Yumalino pant (pictured above). While the stretch fabric is abrasion-resistant, the key ingredient here is the fleece lining. These are the ultimate outdoor, cold weather pant…from shoveling snow to a winter hike to walking the dog, it can do it all and it will last forever.
Farm to Feet is committed to the single, simple goal of creating the world’s best wool socks by exclusively using an all-American recipe: US Materials, US Manufacturing, and US Workers. They are an independent American brand, owned by Nester Hosiery which employs more than 200 people in its Mount Airy, NC facility.
Farm to Feet takes “Made in the USA” one step further by using raw materials sourced from the United States. This includes the American-grown wool, nylon and elastic to produce their 100% American Socks as well as the paper and inks used in our packaging. These socks are comfy and durable and keep your feet happy all day long.
Rainbow Sandals were originally contemplated in 1972 by Jay “Sparky” Longley, who experimented making sandals in his Laguna Beach garage. With $200, Sparky bought a sewing machine and some rubber and started his conquest: To make the world’s best sandal. After years of hard work, trial and error, and tenacity, Sparky was able to develop a sandal that looked good, felt great, and didn’t wear out. Fast forward to today, and this is exactly what you get.
“We love hearing the stories people write us about the countless miles they have walked in our sandals. All our customers say, ‘I love my Rainbow® Sandals,’ and I hope you will too.” ~ Jay R Longley, Jr.
MPOWERD, together with Luci, the first inflatable solar light with the goal of making an affordable clean energy product that people could use in any situation, was founded on a sustainable business model that allows them to provide clean and safe solar lights to people in developing countries at prices they can afford. Their goal is to empower the three billion people around the world who still live without reliable access to electricity. So they made a light that’s clean and safe – pretty much the opposite of the toxic and expensive kerosene lamps so many depend on – because life doesn’t stop after the sun goes down.
There are a growing number of gear makers producing products and apparel in the U.S.A. according to Outside Magazine writer Tom Vanderbilt. In his story he explores the new economics of insourcing, and here at the store we’re proud to support the American-made brands we sell.
Princeton Tec has been pioneering new technologies and building lights for more than three decades. They make their gear close-by in New Jersey. We love Princeton Tec’s Fuel headlamp – designed to meet the widest range of applications while remaining small, lightweight and robust. Available in hues suited for everyone in the family.
Wigwam Mills, Inc. proudly knits its Wigwam socks in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. And they support wool producers in our country by sourcing wool almost exclusively from American yarn spinners who buy from American wool growers. Their All-Terrain Hiker repels moisture, prevents blisters and cushions your foot. Hike on.
Throughout its 35-year history, Croakies has remained a small company with a big heart. They create eyewear retainers and accessories that provide comfort, durability and functionality for active people of all ages, and use only the highest quality materials available. Nowadays ninety percent of Croakies revenue comes from products that are proudly made in the USA. Pick up your pair today.
SmartWool believes that a thoughtful approach to living extends beyond the walls of their office and the boundaries of their industry. Along with giving back to the community through many advocacy programs, SmartWool knits their PhD socks right here in the U.S. The PhD Running Light Micro Sock is the perfect sock for reducing shock and abrasion in your high density impact zones. Gotta love happy feet.
Three friends created Cascade Designs after collaborating to produce Therm-a-Rest pads, the worldwide standard for outdoor sleeping comfort. Now, almost 4 decades later, Cascade Designs remains a private, family-owned company that still builds the vast majority of products in their Seattle, Wa., facilities. Next time you hit the trail, consider taking the Trail Scout mattress, perfect for light backpacking, car camping and adding essential warmth to cots. Sweet dreams.
It’s no secret that Patagonia promotes environmentalism through many of the organizations they support, and that every product Patagonia makes is created by causing the least amount of harm to the environment. But did you know that many of their T-shirts are made in America including the women’s Live Simply Guitar T, made from super soft and comfy 100% organic cotton? It’s life unplugged.