￼Sami Lea Lipman: What inspired you to start Raintees?
Beth Doane: I founded a fashion company in my early twenties, and at first it seemed like the best job ever. I had an arsenal of designer heels and handbags and I was flying to New York, Milan and Paris for private parties and fashion weeks.
But there is a dark side of fashion most people never see, and as I began working more closely on the manufacturing side of the business I saw how toxic and destructive the industry can be. There are millions of garment workers around the globe who have very little or no rights and are threatened, beaten and even killed for demanding safe working conditions or fair wages. There are also children working in apparel factories, and they are exposed to the multitude of toxic chemicals and dyes used to make our clothes.
I knew there had to be a better way to make apparel, and that idea led me to design a clothing brand that is made ethically and gives back. I called the company Raintees because we plant a tree in an endangered rainforest for every item we sell. We also work with fair trade factories that pay above a living wage, donate school supplies to children around the world, and feature their artwork on our Raintees apparel and accessories.
￼SLL: What are some ways Mantra readers can make more conscious choices when shopping?
BD: It starts with buying local as much as possible, reading labels and buying from manufactures that are transparent about where they produce their products and how.
￼SLL: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?
BD: Be kind to each other. We are all in this together.
￼SLL: How do you keep your center in the midst of chaos? Do you have a daily routine?
BD: My career involves a lot of traveling, so a routine is challenging. I have found, however, that I am most focused and calm when I get enough sleep and stick to a plant-based diet.
￼SLL: Tell me about your latest project.
BD: We are expanding our Raintees Pen Pal Program because it is a completely free way for our fans to have a positive experience with a child or teen from a different culture. You can sign up on our web site, www.raintees.com. Look for the Pen Pals section.
￼SLL: What truth do you know for sure?
BD: Education changes lives and an educated youth population can redefine our world’s future. It’s the single most powerful thing we can focus on right now.