Factory Green: Young entrepreneurs roll out shirts with spunk

Last updated on by

Long hours, an increasingly saturated playing field: it’s not always a walk in the park for young, green entrepreneurs. But Jack Short and Daniel Lyons make it look easy.

The dynamic, 20-something Missouri businessmen run Factory Green, where they roll out sexy and carbon neutral apparel, accessories, and housewares to college students, a demographic that isn’t too hot on green poster products like low-consumption washing machines or hybrid cars.

In fact, Factory Green is probably best known for its dormitory staple line of t-shirts.

“Your traditional t-shirt at a store in the mall releases 7, 600 grams of carbon dioxide into the air by the manufacturer. Our shirts are completely carbon neutral, which means that there are zero carbon emissions. The only carbon emissions that are produced by our shirts are due to transport,” says Daniel Lyons, CEO.

Armed with the wise knowledge that “does this make me look good” still reigns supreme in the average consumer’s mind when faced with the decision to purchase a carbon-neutral versus a traditionally manufactured item, the duo isn’t shy to offer t-shirts with provocative titles like “Don’t suck…blow!” (“Decades of irrefutable scientific research has shown us that blowing wind energy is far more eco-friendly than sucking oil out of the ground”).

“Sure, our green products are top of the line but at the same time, as an average consumer, you’re going to want a t-shirt that’s representative of you,” points out Lyons. “You’re not going to want to buy some apparel just because of what it’s made of, even though it’s incredibly soft… but you want it to say something a little bit fun.”

While their apparel comes in low-impact organic cotton, produced in facilities that only run on wind and solar power, Factory Green continues to purchase accessories that are manufactured overseas – despite the push to buy local.

“We really try to find products that are produced here in the U.S. to reduce the amount of international shipping like our vinyl-ised collection… [But] the fact is that the best products are found outside the United States currently, so until U.S. manufacturers catch up and produce the same quality and the same sustainability as overseas companies, we’re going to keep on buying from them.”

As if running their own business wasn’t enough, Short and Lyons plan to head to medical school (the two got accepted before college). They plan to groom employees and solidify their business plan so that their company will continue to grow and expand as they become busier with the Dr. detail.

“So, it is a bit of a challenge,” says Jack Short, President and Chairman. “We don’t sleep anymore. We’re still really devoted to both, I would say and Factory Green has just been a ton of fun and on the other hand, we’re still ready to go to medical school too. So, hopefully, once Jack and I finish four years of school we can just do Factory Green full-time.”

Partial profits from Factory Green (FG) go to the United Nations charity Water for Life, which works to provide safe drinking water and sanitation in developing countries.