Big news: Oolie got GOTS!
You read that correctly. GOTS is the Global Organic Textile Standard, the most stringent certification for organic textile products.
We are very happy to announce that after many months of collaboration with multiple manufacturers, vendors, and agencies, Oolie has officially earned GOTS certification for our new bedding products, all now made with — ahem — certified 100% organic cotton.
Why Certification Matters
I know, I know: Certification is not the most exciting topic in the world. We won’t bore you with the details — it is, indeed, a slow process of navigating administrative minutiae. But we invested the time and energy because we believe it’s so important. And now we can claim — honestly, certifiably — that our bedding products have have been subjected to the most rigorous review of practices and materials there is.
What GOTS Certification Means
So what was involved?
First, we had to connect with an accrediting body; we chose Oregon Tilth. Together, we reviewed every aspect of our company’s purchasing and production processes, from documentation to storage and shipping, from partnerships to traceability.
Traceability is a really big deal. It means that any individual Oolie product must be traceable back to its origins, much like the provenance of a famous painting. How can you know the Mona Lisa is really the real Mona Lisa? The documentation provides traceability.
All Oolie organic products are labeled with lot numbers, which correspond to specific manufacturing production runs. Materials suppliers and manufacturers (all also GOTS-certified) provide transaction certificates every time product changes hands. So, when you buy an Oolie product with a lot number, we can trace back where that product came from, who manufactured it and when, all the way back to when its cotton was grown, harvested, and processed.
When you purchase a certified organic product, part of what you’re paying for is a whole infrastructure of documentation, tracking, and verification that guarantees the product is actually organic, as claimed.
Our next step was an on-site visit by our Oregon Tilth inspector. We were bracing ourselves for something as unpleasant as an IRS audit, and we were pleasantly surprised to make a new friend! Our inspector, Linden Steinmann, was such a joy to connect with. She verified that our operations are in order, and she was also very generous with her observations and insights about other organic creators and operations, particularly here in the Pacific Northwest and up and down the West Coast.
We were happy to pass inspection with flying colors (non-toxic dyes only, naturally).
Certify, but Verify
During this process, we learned a lot about the bedding industry and organic textiles more broadly. The first thing we learned is that… there are a lot of companies out there claiming to sell you “organic” products that are not certified or, worse, claim to be certified, but aren’t. Some companies will imply certification through displaying certain logos on their website, but, when pressed for documentation, they get real squirmy and look the other way.
We won’t name names, but we’ve initiated collaborations with several different manufacturers, in part because they claimed to have GOTS certification. Yet, GOTS had no record of them, and they were unable to provide documentation.
By the way, most certifying bodies — for organic textiles and otherwise — maintain public directories on their websites. So it’s easier than ever to verify for yourself if a company claiming certification is doing so honestly, whether that’s for Fair Trade, B Corp, GOTS, or any other certification.
For example, you can verify Oolie’s GOTS certification for yourself on the GOTS website, where you’ll find our Scope Certificate, a PDF that formally documents which of our products earned certification.
Even More Organic
Our first GOTS products will launch soon, and we’ve got more (organic) products in the works.