EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Kicking, tossing, and running around the backyard of their East Grand Rapids home, it’s hard to keep up with Karly Hiser’s family.
Hiser’s three kids have been on the move ever since trying on one of her designs.
“There’s smiles on their faces and excitement of like, ‘I’m wearing mom’s shirt today!’” said Hiser.
Two years ago, Hiser’s oldest son started kindergarten, but his sensitive skin and eczema made getting dressed difficult.
“It was all polyester blends,” said Hiser. “I was so frustrated I couldn’t find what I needed for him.”
Hiser says she searched for alternatives, but most were for adults. Seeing a need, she started Crann Apparel.
“It took a couple tries,” said Hiser. “Sewing underwear is hard. These lines, they’re not easy.”
The children’s clothing line uses plant-based fibers, like organic cotton and hemp. She says the materials were carefully chosen. The company cites a 2019 article from Ideas for Us, an accredited non-governmental organization, which says 30 percent of substances used in clothing production have been found to pose a serious threat to human health.
According to Hiser, Crann Apparel’s manufacturing partners practice the World Fair Trade Organization’s 10 principles, which include good working conditions and fair pay. One percent of all sales go to “1% for the Plant,” which funds environmental organizations around the world that protect natural resources.
“It’s super soft to the touch,” said Hiser. “It’s more absorbent than cotton and it’s also hypoallergenic.”
Unisex t-shirts and boys' underwear just launched. In October, Hiser plans to offer joggers and sweatshirts. She says while pandemic-related manufacturing delays and supply shortages added to the stress of opening a business, it was worth it.
“Before, in the morning, it was one shirt after another after another after everything’s getting tossed to the side. Next thing you know, you have a huge pile of clothing that’s not getting used,” said Hiser. “Now they know what they like and what they want, so they will go ahead and pick out a shirt that they like and they’re ready. It’s fast.”
Hiser wants the pieces to help families like hers.
“I just hope that it makes mornings easier, so that is the ultimate goal — happier, healthier kids,” said Hiser.
To learn more about Crann Apparel or to see available products, click here.