Our Commitment To Sustainability
Here at Sunny Day Designs, we're committed to being as sustainable and environmentally friendly as we possibly can. We're constantly working on improving our production practices, our carbon footprint, and our overall impact on the Earth's resources.
Why? Because, not only do we care about Mother Earth, we want to make our founder's mama (and our customers) proud too!
Shelley's mom taught us that the Earth should be valued and that recycling was important. She taught us that creative solutions could be found to repurpose items for new uses. She encouraged us to go on nature walks and to explore the outdoors, especially in terms of our education. Growing up, Shelley was always encouraged that, especially when it came to the outdoors, if you visit a place you should always leave it a little bit nicer than you found it. Whether that meant picking up stray litter from previous visitors or volunteering to weed a park or cemetery, that aspect remains important and it applies to the Earth as a whole.
We strive to create joyfully made, small batch products that not only spread smiles, but leave the Earth a little better off than we found it!
Here are some of the ways that sustainability influences our everyday business practices:
SHIPPING - We strive to use recycled (and recyclable) mailers and boxes to ship out our packages! Not only are they recycled, but they're also manufactured in the USA, which helps cut down on our carbon footprint. We even repurpose packaging materials that we receive from our suppliers when we mail out our larger wholesale orders, such as recyclable air packs, bubble wrap, and large boxes. All of our logo stickers are made from recycled paper, as is our cheerful, yellow patterned tissue paper - so feel free to recycle or repurpose those when you receive your order!
- PRODUCT DESIGN - We proudly design all of our fabric products from scratch, and we create those items in a way that keeps fabric waste to a minimum. By reducing fabric waste during the cutting process, we're able to significantly cut back on the amount of total textile waste that we generate as a company. Additionally, we save all fabric scraps that are large enough to repurpose and use these to develop other cute products (like our organic cotton fabric round sets) or we incorporate these scraps into our product designs (such as the corner hanging loops on our printed linen/cotton tea towels, which are made from the white, selvedge edges of our custom printed fabrics).
- PRODUCT PACKAGING - We intentionally use cute, yet minimal, packaging to wrap and secure our products. Our burp cloths are rolled up and secured with a recycled paper strip known in the packaging world as a "belly band". Our tea towels and baby blankets are carefully folded and packaged with baker's twine and sustainably sourced postcards. Our product hang tags are sustainably sourced and attached using colorful baker's twine and a good-old-fashioned safety pin instead of plastic fasteners. We box up our baby teethers in recycled kraft paper boxes and we now use compostable cello bags to package our art prints and greeting cards. We believe packaging is important in the product world, and so is the impact that it has on the environment.
- CARBON FOOTPRINT - We're committed to designing and manufacturing all of our products here in the USA. Why? Because doing so not only helps improve the American economy (on both a larger-scale, as well as the local community level) but it also reduces our company's carbon footprint from shipping since packages from our suppliers have a shorter distance to travel. We LOVE working with local companies whenever we can to source and print our materials and we know that our customers appreciate our commitment to reducing our carbon emissions as well.
- PARTNERSHIP WITH ECOCART - Additionally, we're extremely excited to be partnering with EcoCart in order to provide all Sunny Day Designs customers with the option to offset the carbon emissions on their orders. EcoCart provides full transparency regarding where the money goes and they donate the amount that is collected per order to facilities and organizations in the USA that are able to offset the carbon footprint from shipping your products (learn more about that here). By analyzing the size of the package, weight, and shipping destination, EcoCart is able to estimate the carbon emissions that your order will generate and displays them to customers to help raise awareness. The choice is yours at checkout - whether you choose to offset your carbon emissions or not - but we love that this option helps empower our customers by raising consumer awareness and encouraging greener choices! The typical amount that is paid to offset carbon emissions at checkout is typically a few cents to a dollar or two - proof that even small efforts can add up in a big way to make the world a greener place!
- NATURAL & ORGANIC FABRICS - At Sunny Day Designs, we consciously choose to use only natural fiber, plant-based fabrics (like linen and cotton) or 100% organic cotton fabrics when manufacturing our sewn products. Geez...why are we so strict about this? Because natural fiber fabrics are so much kinder to the environment...and also much gentler on baby skin! Textiles that are made from natural, and organic substances can be recycled, composted, and broken down in a more natural way than synthetic, man-made fibers such as polyester, rayon, nylon, etc. An added bonus is natural fiber fabrics often wear better, and last longer, when compared to synthetic fabrics, which have a tendency to pill, shed, and snag over time. While synthetic fibers can be recycled, there is a limit to how many times this process can happen before the fibers become too weak to be reused - resulting in them inevitably being discarded into a landfill. Worse still, some companies burn synthetic fabrics in an effort to dispose of them, which releases harmful, toxic gases into the sky. Plus, every time you wash a synthetic fabric it "sheds" little bits of microplastics that eventually make their way through your pipes and into the ocean. When you wash our linen and cotton products, you don't need to worry about harming the ocean's eco-system!
- NON-TOXIC, WATER-BASED DYES & INKS - Our exclusive fabrics are custom-printed in the USA using high-tech, digital printing processes. Digital printing on fabric uses virtually no water and also incorporates long-lasting, non-toxic, soy-based dyes. Water pollution from dying fabric is the BIG ugly secret of the textile and fashion industry. Sunny Day Designs strives to eliminate that issue by digitally printing all of our fabrics so that you can feel extra good about your purchase. The non-toxic dyes that our printer uses are kinder to the environment when compared with many other fabric printing methods, since they don't leach the harmful metals and toxic chemicals that are found in many other fabric dyes and inks. When washed, digitally printed fabrics don't "bleed" ink onto other items and they also don't release harmful dyes and metals into the ocean via your pipes. Plus, digitally printed natural fiber fabrics are non-toxic and great for babies and those with sensitive skin!
- RECYCLED & SUSTAINABLY SOURCED PAPERS - All of our cards, art prints, and stationery products are printed onto either recycled or sustainably sourced paper. They can all be recycled after use and we print all of our paper products in the USA in order to reduce carbon emissions from shipping. With the exception of our vinyl stickers, our paper-based products are all digitally printed using soy-based inks. Even our wholesale product catalog is printed on recycled paper and the rest of our marketing materials (postcards, business cards, hang tags, logo stickers) are printed on sustainably sourced and/or recycled paper as well. We believe in preserving trees for future generations to climb, for creatures to inhabit, and to improve the Earth's overall air quality!
- SMALL BATCH PRODUCTION - It might sound counter-intuitive, but we don't manufacture our products in massive quantities. Why not? Isn't that a bad idea from a business perspective? Well, that all depends on how you look at it. Nowadays, many small businesses manufacture HUGE quantities of every product they sell in order to get the pricing so low that they can compete with bigger box stores. That approach is not always a business owner's choice, since many factories have minimum quantities that are needed in order to place an order, but...the downside is that, unless a product sells out right away (unusual) companies are left with large amounts of products that end up just sitting on a shelf...sometimes for years, before they are finally sold (or disposed of). Multiply that by hundreds or thousands of products and you have a huge amount of items that need to be stored somewhere, usually in a temperature controlled environment. This type of storage requires warehouse space, heating/air conditioning, electricity, etc. Additionally, the energy, labor, materials, and shipping required to make all of those products is essentially wasted if they are not sold to a consumer. Our production approach is different. While we do have printed fabrics and other materials in stock that are eagerly waiting to be used, we purposefully keep only small quantities of fully-finished products in stock, and many of our sewn items are cut and sewn on demand. Yes...this does slow down our production a little bit, but it also allows us to make more flexible and eco-conscious decisions regarding our fabrics and materials in order to prevent overproduction and material waste. We believe small batch products (and slow fashion) are the future of a more sustainable and ethical economy.
Are we perfect? NO! Are there still processes and products that we still want to improve? YES!
Sunny Day Designs is committed to constantly making eco-conscious improvements to our product line, supply chain, packaging, and our production processes. We hope that these efforts resonate with our customers in a positive way.
Bit by bit, we're working towards a greener company and a sunnier tomorrow.