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“The new miracle shirt. Photo: Wool & Prince”

When I saw it I didn’t believe it. But, hey! It’s 2013 and start ups are coming up with more and more inventive ideas, no? At first, I was curious to find out what the secret was to no having to wash one’s shirt, but then I quickly realized that I like washing my shirts. I like the crisp, clean smells. I enjoy pulling it out of the dryer and having it feel softer each time due to fabric softener. I actually like doing laundry. SO clearly, I am not the target customer here. But then, that leaves the question of who is? A commenter cleverly wrote, “A homeless man who can afford a $100 shirt?” Well, it seems like so far there are 1,354 of such people, so why not?

On a more entrepreneurial note, what – or rather who- I’m fascinated by is the founder, Mac Bishop pictured on the right. He used his family’s Pendleton Woolen Mills in Oregon to create his first few shirts but will ship manufacturing to Shanghai using the kick starter seed investment of $194,000 (and counting) to turn his miracle shirt into a couple thousand miracle shirts. It brings up the question of what fuels the decision to design in the states but then manufacture abroad. I mean, wouldn’t customers value a shirt more if it were to be made locally as opposed to abroad?

According to recently published Wharton and Duke research, conservative voters are less likely to buy a product just because it has a ‘green’ label as opposed to one that doesn’t. So maybe some people don’t care for local products per sé but I think it’s important that up and coming start ups make environmental impact and social impact in general an important part of their mission. For a company to be sustainable in the long run, it needs to be in sync with the needs of the local and global community. Especially considering that buyers are paying for the technology behind the shirt, they are less price sensitive and the value of a shirt that can be worn for a 100 days can definitely have a hefty premium – whatever it takes to produce locally. But this is from the view of an inexperienced business student; I’m sure as we continue to develop the company we’ll find out soon enough what the real issues are, and then we’ll fight against them and try again until something works!

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