Local’s what you make it | Technically, Locally Grown Clothing Co. isn’t local—it’s based in Des Moines, Iowa. But the Twin Cities is by far the strongest market for founder Fred Scott’s two-year-old brand, which has shirts at many metro co-ops, from Lakewinds Natural Foods in Minnetonka to Mississippi Market in St. Paul. It is popular at boutiques as well, from Grand Avenue’s Baby Banou to Brightwater Clothing and Gear in Excelsior, where the “locally grown” message tees and wovens are merchandised beside upscale brands. “As one customer put it, ‘I don’t wear T-shirts with stuff on them, but I’ll wear this one,’’’ says Brightwater owner Bill Damberg. “They have this feel that they are straight out of Iowa, and they are cool.”
Branding a lifestyle | Scott was born and raised in Iowa. Locally grown. It was a saying he started thinking about while selling collegiate T-shirts to sporting goods stores, and it really resonated as he began learning about sustainable agriculture. Local isn’t only where you live, but what you eat, Scott says. He trademarked the phrase and printed T-shirts for men, women, and children.
“I started to conceptualize a lifestyle brand for people who have some social consciousness about things they buy and the way they live,” Scott says. Locally Grown donates 1 percent of sales to the grassroots organization Food Democracy Now! As Scott points out, “Few things have a greater effect on achieving sustainability on our planet than the choice you make at least three times a day: what to eat.”
“I started to conceptualize a lifestyle brand for people who have some social consciousness.”
Made for Minnesota | The message has played particularly well in the Twin Cities, with its strong presence of food co-ops. Baby boutiques also love the quality—Locally Grown uses some organic cotton and eco-friendly ink, which is important to customers at Pacifier in Minneapolis, says owner Wing Witthuhn.
Creative Kidstuff has done so well with the line, the retailer commissioned some exclusive Locally Grown designs that will be available this spring.
Meanwhile, Scott is trying to add more fashion to the line with new styles and more products. “It’s nice,” he says, “to have something that makes you feel good at the end of the day.” locallygrownclothing.com