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Nancy Mims

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Organic Home Decor Textiles Expert

Here, Nancy Mims, co-founder of Mod Green Pod, explains how organic home decor textiles differ from their non-organic counterparts, what you should look for when buying them, and why they are worth it in your home.

nancy mimsQ: Why should people "go organic" when they are buying home decor textiles?

A: It’s a matter of taking control of and improving our indoor air quality. Too many home products on the market are treated with toxic, off-gassing chemicals that are supposedly added to make our furnishings more durable and beautiful. Not only are these chemicals unnecessary (and mostly just convenient or profitable for the manufacturers), they are degrading the air we breathe in our homes and work spaces.

Buildings are becoming better insulated, and while this is great for energy conservation, it’s preventing the flow of fresh air into our houses. According to the EPA, indoor air pollution levels can measure as high as 100 times worse than outdoor air pollution. Cleaning up the invisible chemical clouds floating around in the air we breathe requires making better choices about each and every thing we bring into our homes.

Most home textiles go through a series of chemical processes throughout the manufacturing chain from raw fiber to finished product. One of the most pervasive and dangerous chemicals in textile finishing is formaldehyde. I have been shocked to learn from manufacturers how use of formaldehyde is standard and simply unquestioned, even though we have known for decades that it is carcinogenic. Many if not most apparel textiles also contain chemicals such as formaldehyde, but some of it is washed away in our laundry (which presents a whole other set of issues as the chemicals are added to our wastewater) but most home textiles (and the attached chemicals) go straight from the bolt to the furniture, never to be washed.

When manufactured according to organic regulations (such as the Global Organic Textile Standard or GOTS), organic cotton products are free of formaldehyde and other toxic chemical inputs. Beginning with U.S.-grown certified organic cotton, Mod Green Pod’s textiles are woven in a certified organic mill in the South and printed or dyed using low-impact inks and dyes approved by GOTS. We then finish everything in accordance with GOTS, using mechanical processes in lieu of chemicals such as formaldehyde.

Q: How does the organic cotton home decor textile production process differ from non-organic production? Are there materials that are allowed in non-organic production that are prohibited in organic production?

A: Mod Green Pod follows the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) from seed to finished product. Our US-grown cotton is certified organic, farmed in a way that is respectful to the environment and the workers. Our raw cotton must also be certified organic according to the same standards as organic food. Beyond the harvest, GOTS provides a list of inputs that are or are not allowed to ensure that the final product remains as clean and healthy as possible. As I already mentioned, formaldehyde is a great example--it is way too commonly used in non-organic textile production but it is NOT allowed in organic production. Same goes for many other chemicals.

Q: At Mod Green Pod, you use 100% certified organic cotton to create your products. Why is this your material of choice?

A: When we first established Mod Green Pod, one of our priorities (in addition to creating a beautiful, environmentally-friendly, home-healthy product) was to manufacture our product domestically, using U.S.-grown fiber. As soon as we educated ourselves about organic vs. nonorganic cotton, we were committed to organic 100%. We’ve also been excited to pioneer several supply chains that have helped bring more business--especially organic business--to the textile factories in the United States. We love being able to help the textile industry with business but also help it become a bit cleaner in its practices, one yard at a time.

Q:  How can consumers be sure that the home textiles they purchase are, indeed, made from organic materials?

A: Ask questions, read labels and most importantly, call companies to ask about their practices. We field several calls a day from consumers who are curious to know the details of our manufacturing--what we do and do not use on our fabrics--and we’re more than happy to engage in that conversation with our customers. It’s time consuming to have an educational side to the business, but we truly enjoy helping consumers learn about the importance of organic cotton and indoor air quality. Happier, healthier homes result in happier, healthier people.

Q: Are there many options for organic home textiles currently on the market?

A: Mod Green Pod was one of the first to market with high-design organic cotton home textiles and since our launch, we have seen so many other beautiful options become available from newer companies like ours and from larger, more established textile companies. We’re thrilled to share the space and to see the organic cotton market grow and our hope is that ALL cotton will be grown and processed organically in the very near future!

About Nancy Mims

Designer, mother of two, and sustainable textile pioneer, Nancy Mims, co-founded Mod Green Pod in 2005 to offer the home décor industry an organic alternative to designer textiles by “shaking the beige out of organic.” Unwilling to choose between beautiful design and organic materials, Nancy has helped show the world that you can have both.

With a highly successful textile print design background, Nancyʼs sophisticated but whimsical signature designs appear on Mod Green Podʼs U.S.-manufactured organic cotton canvas and vinyl-free, FSC-certified wallpaper. Nancy lives in the creative mecca of Austin, TX with her husband and two kids, where she takes artfully quirky photos of everyday inspirations & supports the arts & agriculture of her local community.

Praised by the home décor press for its head-turning design and by the eco press for its high standards, Mod Green Pod is a leader in green design, manufacturing, licensing and consulting. Continuing its commitment to organic cotton and to innovative design,
Mod Green Pod is proud to have recently unveiled a new custom collection of printed fabrics that allow consumers to choose their own colors to match their décor schemes.

For more on Mod Green Pod, and to play with their innovative Room Creator, visit www.modgreenpod.com.