This article originally appeared in HealthyHOME magazine in July 2023 (starts on page 29).
by Sabrina Aguilar, WellnessRE Magazine
Imagine a world where your fabric choices not only transform your living spaces but also safeguard the well-being of your loved ones and our precious planet. Welcome to the extraordinary world of Two Sisters Ecotextiles. Behind this innovative company are two visionary sisters, Patty Grossman and Leigh Anne Van Dusen, who have revolutionized the textile industry by offering safe, sustainable, and undeniably stylish fabrics.
It all started when Leigh Anne found herself in search of fabric to reupholster her sofa. To her disappointment, she discovered that available options were either environmentally unfriendly or lacked style. Even fabrics labeled as "organic" were processed with harmful chemicals, leaving Leigh Anne with no other options. Determined to find a solution, LeighAnne enlisted the help of her sister, Patty, andt ogether, they embarked on a mission to transform the textile industry.
Driven by their shared vision, Patty and LeighAnne founded Two Sisters Ecotextiles with the aim of revolutionizing the way textiles are made. Their commitment to creating entirely safe and gorgeous fabrics, utilizing organic and sustainable methods while avoiding plastics like polyester and nylon, set them apart from the industry norm. Their debut fabric collection garnered praise and recognition, including being named "Best Merchandise" by House & Garden magazine and earning the title of "Eco-Warriors" by TheGuardian.
An Interview with Patty Grossman
Hey! Thanks for taking the time to be here. Can you start by sharing a little bit about yourself and your business?
We at Two Sisters Ecotextiles produce and sell organic fabric. Not just fabric made of organic fiber; but fabric that is safe to bring into your home. What distinction am I trying to draw between organic fibers and organic fabric?
Think of making applesauce. If you start with organic apples, but add red dye #2, stabilizers, preservatives, emulsifiers, etc.,you do not get organic applesauce.
The same is true with fabric. What makes a fabric "organic" is not simply the fact that organic fibers are used, but that the entire process uses only inputs whose toxicity profiles prove they are safe for humans- and the planet.
Even a fabric that is advertised as beingmade of "100% organic cotton" is 77%cotton and 23% residual chemicals by weight if conventionally processed.(Conventionally processed means not following the requirements of the GlobalOrganic Textile Standard).
What services do you offer? And why did you choose to offer those particular services?
We sell safe fabric whose production has been safe for the planet. (Hmm – maybe not entirely “safe”, but as safe as we can be right now) Why? Because we want to save the Orcas, the polar bears, the planet.
We educate people on the stunning safety issues with fabric. And we sell fabric that is safe to bring into yourhome.
This is NOT a trivial issue.
We've all had amazing clients or stories to share that make it all worth it. Can you share a story about a teammate, vendor or client that really impacted you and touched your heart?
We have had many parents of sick kids, people who are sick themselves, or people who just want to do the best thing for the environment, thank us for our information, our work, and our products. If we don’t have a solution, we don’t pretend that we do. But finding safe fabrics is still a ridiculously difficult project. Most distributors and sellers of fabric have no idea what they are selling. For instance, here are ZERO legal requirements to reveal anything about any finish applied at any stage of the fabric production process. Even most sellers have no idea what is in the fabric and the products they sell. There is a lot of unintentional – as well as intentional – misrepresentation in fabric. That is why it is so important to insist on fabric certifications, especially the one that is the gold standard: GOTS, the Global Organic Textile Standard.
Fabric production requires GARGANTUAN mounts of water, chemicals and energy. Water is used at every stage in fabric manufacturing:to dissolve chemicals to be used in one step, then to wash and rinse out those same chemicals to be ready for the next step. Chemicals needed in fabric production weigh between 10%to 100% of the weight of the fabric. The production of the fabric covering your sofa required between 4 and 20pounds of chemicals. The chemically infused effluent - saturated with dyes, de-foamers, detergents, bleach, optical brighteners, equalizers and many other chemicals - is released into the local river, where it enters the groundwater, drinking water, the habitat of flora and fauna, and our food chain. As Gene Lisa has said,“There is not a 'no peeing' part of the swimming pool.” We’re all downstream.
Many of the chemicals are known to cause profound health problems in humans; when they have been tested for toxicity at all. GOTS limits or prohibits 300 to 400 chemicals or classes, and more are added every year as theEuropean Reach Legislation advances. The Toxics ReleaseInventory of the US EPA reports that over 25,000,000 lbs. of toxic chemicals were released by US textile mills in 1995: that’s 25,000,000 lbs of just the chemicals classified as toxic by the not very aggressive US government - and those are the toxic chemicals produced in theUS alone. The US textile industry is almost non-existent. Imagine what the Chinese mills are doing.
If a potential client were reading this article, what would you tell them about you, your team or your business that would convince them to choose you?
They are GOTS certified and therefore safe to bring intoyour home AND their production has been the lightest onthe planet currently possible.
This is NOT true of the VAST majority of fabrics on themarket.
Thank you so much for being a part of the HealthyHOME™ Business Spotlight!
Thank you so much for letting people know what. big deal fabric is! Fabric gets no respect.