When we say “recycled” and “local”…

Published on 08. Feb, 2012 by in News


Sometimes I think that there are so many “green” terms that, at some point, they all blend together and lose a bit of their meaning in the process (frankly, I’d like to start making some up and see if they catch on). One of these words is the word “recycled” and I’m talking specifically about how Muffinhead uses it on this website and in our marketing.

There is a very real “green” movement in this country and, well, it’s trendy. Everyone loves this new environmental bandwagon- -even people who weren’t necessarily fans before have joined the crusade, because it’s something that’s gained enough momentum to be sort of “cool” and mainstream. Be that as it may, we’ll take it! Any vehicle to get people jazzed about the environment and trying to preserve it is fine by us!

BUT, for the reasons cited above, I forgot/forget that the word “recycling” might invoke the wrong idea or visual about how we “recycle” human textiles and make them in to dog jackets. It isn’t a process like melting glass down or reducing paper back to a pulpy state- -we are simply taking an existing article of clothing (or blanket, or sleeping bag, etc.), washing it with something that won’t irritate your pup’s skin or be destructive to our environment (there’s that word again), and then cutting it up and turning it into a dog jacket. So, technically, and to be clear….we are not recycling textiles in a traditional sense, we are upcycling (which is such a new word that my spellcheck has identified it as non-existent), re-using, or re-purposing the textiles. We are taking one thing, cleaning it, altering it only via scissors and thread and then VOILA(!)- -not only is something that was discarded given new life, but it will hopefully improve your dog’s life when it’s raining or cold (or when your dog wants to look AWESOME).

Now for the “local” bit. From time to time, people from outside of Muffinhead’s home base (i.e. Portland, Oregon) will question the “local” bit of our slogan/mantra. Is Muffinhead local to Portland, OR? Yes. Is Muffinhead local to the Pacific Northwest? Yes. Is Muffinhead local to Old Orchard Beach, Maine? No. Similarly, it’s not local to every town and city in the world.

I promise that we weren’t trying to trick you. As one might have it, “local” is also sort of a buzzword right now also. People are loving LOCAL- -but why wouldn’t they? Don’t we all want to support our neighbors and neighborhood shops/farmers/businesses, etc.? It’s rhetorical- -of course we want that! So, that being said, we aren’t trying to capitalize on the popularity of “local”- -when we started we thought it would stay very small and local to where we live in the Pacific Northwest. But, now that we’re growing and we’ve entered into markets outside of Oregon and Washington, we realize how much we want to continue to feel like a small company- -with products that are individually handmade with love, and all related products and services that are made by other small businesses. Like many people, we like the idea of something being made by your neighbors and friends, and then sold in small shops that are run by individual people who contribute to the richness of your particular town or city.  (To be redundant with our above bit on “recycled” and the processes referenced there…) Our products, for instance, are sourced by Amy and I, then washed by one of us, then cut, then sewn by an amazing business in Portland, OR that is also run by two awesome, inspiring female business owners, then gushed over by Amy and I in a way that could only be described as “Christmas Morning-esque,” and then delivered to the local businesses of Portland, OR and beyond. We are a small business, and we love small businesses. So, to make a very long story short- -we are local to Portland, OR and the Pacific NW – -but regardless of our growing size, we’d like to keep the feel of a small, local company. Local to some, local-feeling to everyone (hopefully), and while we may not be local to you, we encourage you to support your own local businesses.  -Emily


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