What’s your story?
Solid State Clothing was founded by Eric Henry, President and CEO of TS Designs, a North Carolina company committed to making the highest quality printed apparel in a domestic, transparent, and trackable supply chain. After several decades selling wholesale, Eric created Solid State Clothing to connect individuals with clothing made in our own communities, from dirt to shirt.
What is your “why”?
The United States is the third biggest cotton-farming nation in the world. Nearly all of that cotton gets put on ships and is sent to China, India or somewhere else in Asia to be loomed into yarn, knit into fabric, sewn into clothes and then shipped back across the ocean for us to buy it as cheaply as possible.
What would happen if we all spent a little more to buy products made in a way that makes our communities stronger? There would be more farms and more good-paying manufacturing jobs. Our money wouldn’t go overseas. And we’d be stronger here at home.
Welcome to the antidote! We’re taking American cotton and keeping it state-side, more specifically right here in the Carolinas. We’re rebuilding the American community of making things and transferring power to U.S. cotton farmers and conscious consumers. We’re starting with the best damn t-shirt on Earth.
What’s your flagship product?
Solid State Clothing focuses on making premium-quality 100% cotton t-shirts for people who care about the story behind their clothing. We launched with the Homesteader T-shirt, a style with a classic look inspired by the t-shirts of early 20th century farmers.
Who’s your ideal customer?
Our customers are optimists who believe they can make a difference and that positive change is possible. They are originals, and a great t-shirt is the perfect blank canvas for displaying their individuality. They don’t need slogans or over-thought design to make them interesting; they bring the cool, and the shirt looks and feels good without getting in the way.
Why does sustainability matter?
Today’s apparel brands are typically based around one of two things: chasing a cheaper price or creating an illusion around a lifestyle. Apparel brands of the future need to be ethically and equitably built around the people that make the apparel and the environment providing the fiber.
Do you contribute to your local community?
We have been supporting and hosting monthly meetings of the Triad Electric Vehicle Association (TEVA), a nonprofit educational organization focused on the development of electric drive systems for vehicles of all kinds, at our headquarters in Burlington, NC for over ten years. We also recently started producing upcycled t-shirt face masks and have donated masks to several local people and organizations in need. As the first certified B Corp in North Carolina, we are always looking beyond the bottom line to improve our social and environmental influence.
Advice for entrepreneurs?
After 40 years of being in business and dealing with a rapidly changing economy and technological landscape, I think you have to maintain a balance and focus on the short term (i.e., making sure you make payroll) but also on the long term to make sure your business will continue to be viable.