A couple of weeks ago I joined Seth Godin's Triiibes network - basically a closed social network of people interested in marketing and community.
At the moment it is still a bit daunting - there are over 3000 members altogether - but in amidst the people punting their get rich quick schemes and the people who seems to think that pre-ordering a $10 book (the pre-requisite for membership) makes us all some kind of intellectual elite - well amidst all of the fluff there is some really interesting discussions taking place.
Part of the deal is that we don't discuss any of those out with the site until October - so I won't be elaborating anything until then but I did want to write about something brought up on the site which is so off topic that I don't think it is embargoed.
My one worry about the site was that it would all be marketing executives and brand managers; and to be honest there are rather a lot of them, but there amongst the 3000 are a sizable number of artists and craftspeople - there is even a sub group discussing arty/crafty/designy issues. One of the things we all did was to post images of our work - to give an idea of what we do. I posted a photo of the large meadow cushions I made Within half an hour I had received 4 e-mails as to whether the cotton I used was organic.
Now in fact they are hemp from 1930s, but what struck me is that in the 5 years I have been making things not one single person in the UK has asked me about the textiles I use.
I don't use new cotton for these reasons, and these - and the fact that I have found it difficult to source organic cotton at a price that I can afford. I use largely recycled materials - wool blankets, linen sheets, tea trays; and where I need to buy new, I get excess rolls of Irish linen from a dealer in Lancashire. For the future I have been looking at hemp and bamboo. However I have never posted about this and never made an issue of it as no-one has ever seemed to be interested.
If the US reaction is to be believed though - this is going to become an important issue for consumers, and people who work with textiles (an amazingly dirty business, especially if dyes or printing is involved) will have to have an answer ready.