Company’s Challenge: Create Consumer Interest in Organic Cotton, Similar to Organic Food

John Ewoldt reported this week at the Minneapolis Star Tribune Online that, “Organic cotton textiles register no more than a footnote in the world’s cotton production, but Vishal Naithani wants to change that.

“His company, Sustained Organic Living in Edina, selects certified organic cotton grown in India with non-GMO seeds. The products are made using only fair trade labor on the farms and in the factories.

The challenge for Naithani and his company, which is also known as Sol Organics, is to be able to create the level of interest among consumers for organic apparel that has been generated for organic food. For now, his chief weapon is price: He aims to price his products significantly lower than his online competitors and on par with high-quality bedding that is not fair trade organic.”

The article explained that, “Part of the reason Naithani acts as a maverick is that organic cotton hasn’t grabbed the consumer’s attention like organic milk, produce and poultry.

“‘Shoppers aren’t ingesting organic cotton as they do organic foods, so they may not see the benefit,’ said Mary Brett Whitfield, senior vice president at Kantar Retail, a retail consulting business. ‘We haven’t trained shoppers to think about how cotton is grown or how it fits in the environmental food chain.'”

Mr. Ewoldt added that, “Naithani and others in the business believe that, in time, more consumers will search out organic sheets, towels and clothing. Only 5 percent of consumers purchase organic clothing, slightly higher among millennials, according to Kantar Retail.

“The average price paid for a queen sheet set in the U.S. is $80, but organic cotton sets (300 thread count sateen) start at $240 at and $258 at

“At the wholesale level, organic, fair trade cotton costs only about 15 percent more than conventional cotton, Naithani said. He doubles the cost of the goods for his retail price while competitors triple the cost, he said.”

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