tentree: An Interview with David Luba

Both revolutionary and authentic, tentree is quickly becoming one of the most environmentally progressive companies in the world. For each item purchased, ten trees are planted. The impact of these trees extends far beyond the environment; it provides communities with jobs, sustenance, and a future.

  1. How did tentree get its start? What’s the significance of ten trees?

This is great video that tells the story of how we started:

  1. You started out with a pretty simple business model: promising to plant 10 trees for every shirt sold. Was it also in the plan early on to promote fair labor practices and safe working conditions? How important is this practice to your brand?

It’s always been very important to us to have fair and safe working conditions while also ensuring all our clothes are produced with environmentally friendly practices. That’s why we started off producing strictly in North America. We did 2 years of due diligence before moving some production to beautiful facilities overseas. We see these things as being just as important as the trees.

  1. 7,000,000 trees have been planted thanks to tentree. Did you guys ever expect it to take off the way it has?

We dreamt big, but never knew it would get this big. It’s a truly humbling experience when you get to help people and the environment on a daily basis and call it “work”. It really doesn’t feel like work!

tentree

  1. Are there plans for expanding your products into more than tentree apparel?

In the future we hope to expand into new product categories but that is years away. We have so much expansion to do within the apparel market that we haven’t put too much thought outside of it yet!

  1. What’s the most rewarding aspect of the business you guys have built?

The most rewarding part is being able to go to work every day, and know that we are working to help alleviate poverty, give people hope in the face of extreme adversity, restore damaged eco-systems, protect wildlife, spark new economic activity in developing countries, and inspire people to get outdoors. Seeing it first hand is an incredible experience we will cherish forever and hope to share with others.

  1. What does the future for tentree clothing look like?

We are planning to be the most environmentally progressive company in the world. For the future, that means employing full community reforestation and agro-forestry projects. We want to be the spark for change environmentally.

tentree apparel

  1. You took a huge leap of faith presenting your brand on the Dragon’s Den and it paid off. What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Dragon’s Den (US: Shark Tank) was an amazing experience. If you try out for the show, just make sure you know your numbers. We pitched our idea after being in business for only 3 months. We knew our numbers and we had sales. It’s hard going in without any sales and we wouldn’t recommend it. Know your sales, profits, gross margin, profit margin, and projections. Make sure you do monthly financial statements!

  1. Pick three words to describe tentree.

(1) Environmental – Everything we do is a step towards our ultimate goal of helping the environment.

(2) Progressive – We are forward-looking, not dwelling on the past. We are excited about the future.

(3) Authentic – To be credible and do what’s right.

ten tree clothing

tentree: An Interview with David Luba