Brendan Synnott believes that by changing something as simple as your underwear, you can change the planet. Having co-founded organic food brand Bear Naked Granola and selling it to Kellogg for more than $80 million in 2007, Brendan is now taking on the $3 trillion apparel industry (the world’s second largest polluter) as CEO of the organic, fair-trade cotton apparel company, Pact. Learn more at
On today's show, it's creator of Bear Naked Granola and former Survivor contestant, Brendan Synnott! As an eco-conscious entrepreneur, Brendan's now leading a passionate team at Pact to change the apparel industry for the better, using organic, fair-trade cotton as the foundation for addressing the labor and environmental issues that surround clothing. They talk to Brendan about his birthday, selling candy, Bear Naked granola, Saturday Night Live, electric bikes,, walking through the door -- taking risks, and doing anything outside!  Before the call, Mark and Rick talk about their holiday break and Rick shares a hot sports opinion about Star Wars Episode 9!  STUFF THEY TALK ABOUT: The Simply Human Kids page The Simply Human MOMS page The Simply Human YouTube channel The Simply Human Facebook page Subscribe to the Simply Human Podcast on iTunes Listen to the Podcast on StitcherSupport this podcast at — to advertise on this podcast? Go to and sign up.
On this week's episode of Inside Outside Innovation, Brian Ardinger, IO Founder, sat down with Brendan Synnott, a serial entrepreneur, having cofounded companies like Bear Naked, which he sold to Kellogg, Evol Foods, and now Pact, an e-commerce organic fashion brand.  In this interview we talked about Brendan's opportunity to become an entrepreneur early on in his life, how he grew his company from zero to sell to a major corporation, and how he thinks about creating new innovations and new spaces.    Interview Transcript (To read the entire interview transcript, go to Ardinger: On this week's episode of Inside Outside Innovation, we sat down with Brendan Synnott. Brendan is a serial entrepreneur, having cofounded companies like Bear Naked, which he sold to Kellogg. He's found companies like Evol Foods, and he's now working at Pact, a brand-new e-commerce fashion brand.  In this interview we talked about Brendan's opportunity to become an entrepreneur early on in his life.  How he grew his company from zero to sell it to a major corporation. And how he thinks about creating new innovations and new spaces.   Inside Outside Innovation is the podcast that brings you the best and the brightest in the world of startups and innovation. I'm your host, Brian Ardinger, founder of Inside Outside.IO, a provider of research events and consulting services that help innovators and entrepreneurs build better products, launch new ideas, and compete in a world of change and disruption. Each week we'll give you a front row seat to the latest thinking tools, tactics, and trends in collaborative innovation. Let's get started.  Welcome to another episode of Inside Outside Innovation. I'm your host Brian Ardinger, and as always, we have another amazing guest.  Today with me is Brendan Synnott. He is a serial entrepreneur having cofounded the companies like Bear Naked Granola, which he sold to Kellogg. He started companies with Evol Foods, pet companies, candy businesses, and now he's in the fashion space with a company called Pact. Welcome to the show Brendan.  Brendan Synnott: Thanks so much for having me. Looking forward to talking about innovation. It's my favorite subject in business.  Brian Ardinger: You have got a lot to talk about and you've had a very eclectic career over the course of the last decade or so, starting and forming businesses that have gone from nothing to something.  Have you always been an entrepreneur and what led you to the path of entrepreneurship?  Brendan Synnott: I think I've always had that spirit in me. I was blessed by having two grandfathers that both had started their own businesses. One was a printing brokerage and one was a engineering firm. Both small businesses, but I grew up with that culture within my family about saying, you can do what you want. You can see it go after it. And then that led me to always starting little businesses growing up. I remember going to the Costco when I was a kid and buying 150 lemon heads or you know, for $8 and then go sell them on the street. Or go sell them in school or whatever it may be. And I had a number of businesses before I hit my first big one.  But it was something that I was always just like, ah, let's go try it, let's go get after it. let's go see what happens.  Brian Ardinger: I think you got your big break when you've cofounded Bear Naked in the granola space and you eventually sold that to Kellogg. What were some of the early lessons of entrepreneurship that you can share with our audience? To read the entire interview transcript, go to
How to take a risk, right now.   Survivor, SNL, slinging granola – what do all these things have in common? Brendan Synnott joins us for a conversation this week about his entrepreneurial journey. It’s more expensive to take a risk over time, he says. He and a friend grew Bear Naked, a granola company, from zero dollars and craft markets to $50 million and eventually sold it to Kelloggs. Discover what Brendan learned from growing the granola business and the importance of transparency between company and customer. Listen now. Subscribe
When it comes to kids, buying more sustainably can feel intimidating. If you are unsure of where to start or how to prioritize, we are chatting more about this today. Our guest is Brendan Synnott, the CEO of Pact, and he’s bringing us insight on the sustainable fashion industry, organic cotton, and what he’s doing with his own family. *This episode is not sponsored by Pact and does not contain affiliate links* SHOW LINKS: Pact [use coupon SIMPLE to get 40% off your first order] Sustainable Fashion for Kids – Episode Transcription Denaye Barahona: Hi, it’s episode 173 and today we’re talking about sustainable fashion. Thank you for tuning in. We are talking with Brendan Synnott, who is the CEO of PACT | ORGANIC. Many of you might be familiar with PACT, some of you may not. My husband and I have both been wearing PACT for probably six or seven years now. But we haven’t dabbled in their kids’ line and I’m talking today with Brendan a little bit more about sustainable fashion and kids. Honestly, I don’t feel like there are a lot of good, affordable resources when it comes to buying sustainably for our kids’ clothing. Today Brendan is going to teach us about the organic cotton industry and some things to look for when we’re trying to shop more sustainably for our kids. We’re also chatting a little bit more about what life looks like living sustainably with four kids in his house.  Denaye Barahona: Hi Brendan, thanks so much for chatting with me today.  Brendan Synnott: Hey, thanks for having me. Look forward to it.  Denaye Barahona: I’ve been looking forward to talking about this for quite some time. I know that many members of the Simple Families audience are interested in sustainable fashion and I think first and foremost, we don’t even really know what that means, when we say sustainable fashion. And it can be really confusing, especially when we’re thinking about shopping sustainably for our kids. So when I say sustainable fashion, particularly as it pertains to kids, what does that mean? How do you define that?  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, I mean sustainable is a journey and there’s nothing perfect about it. It’s so much for us and I think the bigger idea around it, is just having more consciousness to understand the clothes that you put on your body, the sheets that you sleep in, the towels that you use, the fabrics that touch your skin day in and day out, who made them and where did they come from? And then there’s 1,000 degrees of sustainability kind of beyond that. What we do at PACT is really focus in on two things that we think is really important.  One is cotton and using only organic cotton because we think it’s pure, it has less toxicides and it’s better for the planet overall and it just makes better product, more importantly. And then a fair trade certification that says the people that made our clothes or country, equally the people that wear them. So we want to make sure that the factory workers that actually cut and sew the product are treated to the best possible way within whatever country they’re in. And ours are particularly in India.  Denaye Barahona: So how long have you been at PACT?  Brendan Synnott: We have had PACT for nearly 10 years we’ve been working at it. The company was founded in 2009 and founded exclusively with this idea that we wanted to build a company that would impact the apparel industry. The apparel, the textile industry is responsible for 20% of world pollution and it has a massive impact on water pollution and then there’s the terrible things of factory suicides and factory collapses because people aren’t being treated right in the process. So all of that to me, felt like a very real problem, that I could go fix, really just by creating awareness to say, “Hey, where did these clothes get made? Who were they made by and what are they made of? And can they be made in a way that’s less impactful, that’s more sustainable for the planet?” Because the way it’s operating today is pretty gross and pretty destructive to the environment and our communities.  Denaye Barahona: Right and because a lot of the clothing production happens outside of the US, I feel like at least here in America, we’re not really all that aware of what that process actually looks like.  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, it’s an incredibly labor intensive product to make, apparel. One of the things that one of our founders would say is, “Robots don’t make your clothes, people do.” And it’s true, it’s not like there’s a machine that pumps out tee shirts. Tee shirts are made up of multiple pieces, all cut by hand, all sewed by hand, by people in overseas factories. And when you see the amount of people they employ and then the impact that those people have on their own individual communities, to be treating them in a way that is fair and empowers them, is something that we feel is important. And although it happens overseas, there’s just, there’s a right way to do things despite if it’s in your back yard or some place you can’t see.  Denaye Barahona: So we’ve seen the rise of fast fashion over the last couple of decades just grow out of control, can you explain first of all, what fast fashion is?  Brendan Synnott: The idea around fast fashion is to say how can we as quickly as possible make a product that is relevant to today’s fashion trends and habit and stores, no matter the cost to the environment or to people to go do that. So that’s kind of one concept of like, if we have a lot of things that are fast and then because we have so many things that are fast, there’s so many new things and consumers, this is like the crazy, crazy style of consumers, they throw away 85 pounds of clothing a year, typically. So we’re just buying so many clothes that we don’t really need because of all the fashions that are readily available to us in our face, all the time, for very cheap. Those are the elements that to me, make up fast fashion, where there’s kind of, it’s kicked off a somewhat destructive cycle in terms of the impact of people’s clothing and that fashion on people and communities and the planet.  Denaye Barahona: Yeah, and especially when it comes to kids, I think we have developed this attitude that, not just kids’ clothing, but kids’ toys or pretty much anything kid related should be more or less disposable.  Brendan Synnott: Yeah and as a parent, I fight it, right. And that fight starts with you just starting with disposable diapers. And you’re like, “Wow, I don’t want to be putting dirty diapers in the waste system, there’s got to be a better way.” And then you get into it as a parent and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t go do that.” It’s like, doesn’t work for my family and my lifestyle, so you start very quickly I think a lot of stuff is put into your face in terms of what you consume, how many Amazon boxes are showing up. What you’re throwing out, why does my garbage can always seem full? And you do your best to recycle and you do your best to compost, but families produce a lot more stuff and it typically means a sacrifice to fight against it, but it’s worth it when you can and where you can make it work.  Denaye Barahona: Yeah and with children, especially young children who grow so quickly, I think we can get caught up in this idea that it’s too expensive to buy enough clothes for kids sustainably because they are just going to wear them out and they need a lot of them because they ruin them quickly. And I haven’t really found that. I tend to buy high quality cottons for my kids and a couple of things that I’ve noticed with high quality cotton is that not only do they wash better and stains come out better, but they also don’t get as wrinkly. So if it’s not folded not perfectly in the draw, if it gets like knocked around, it’s not such a big deal. So I’ve actually found that buying better cotton is easier and we need less of it. But I don’t think that idea has really gotten mainstream yet, what do you think?  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, I think it’s a beautiful thing to be like, “My kid only has two or three tee shirts and that’s it and we’re going to wash them consistently and they’re not going to destroy them and they’re not going to lose them. And we’re just going to reuse those over and over again.” And what’s so funny is I think with kids, that’s what you want as a parent and then even if you do have like seven different tee shirts. I know with my kids, if we do have too many, they still want to wear the same one or two over and over again anyway. So it’s kind of like-  Denaye Barahona: Oh yeah, I definitely have that, especially with my toddler.  Brendan Synnott: If they’re telling us that, we think we need to give them more because they need the choice or we need the outfit, but really, they don’t need it.  Denaye Barahona: Yeah and what kills me is socks. I have this thing with socks. We usually only buy about, at any given time, each of us has about five pairs of socks and I have a lot of parents that say, “Well, what happens when you’ve run out or we lose socks?” And the reality is, if you have five pairs of socks and you lose them all, then you have to find them and sure enough, if you look underneath your sofa and in your car, you’ll find them. And if you have 25 pairs of socks, you’re going to probably lose all 25 pairs of socks and then you just have socks all over your house, which is kind of the end result.  Brendan Synnott: Yeah and I mean having 25 pairs of socks for your kids is almost like the equivalent of giving them cans of Coca-Cola for snacks. Just treat them, you don’t to have a lot, you can figure it out without it and it’s interesting how those habits that you shape your kids with and what that means for their consumption over time.  Denaye Barahona: Absolutely, the way we buy will teach them and even if it’s just something little, like buying a ton of socks because you’re afraid they’re going to lose them. Well, maybe we should be working on teaching them how to keep track of them and how to take care of them and setting that example ourselves.  Brendan Synnott: Yeah and I think that’s why sustainability and making those choices is such a journey. As opposed to finite things that you can check off of a box because ultimately it’s hard to make sacrifices to your individual lifestyle for sustainability, you have to do it when it works, otherwise it won’t be sustainable.  Denaye Barahona: Right and I actually don’t find, a few things that we have done around fabrics in our house to be more sustainable, is that we have really small wardrobes and we just wash every day and a lot of people think that that sounds like a lot of work. But to me, it sounds like a lot of work to do 10 loads of laundry on a Sunday and have overwhelming hampers full of clothing. But I found that it’s not really that bad doing a little load of laundry every day. And we also do cloth paper towels and we wash those every couple of days. And it just, it’s become part of our routine and it doesn’t feel like a lot of work, it just feels like part of the rhythm of the day. So I do think that there’s also a bit of a misconception about this idea that it’s actually harder to be sustainable.  Brendan Synnott: Totally, totally, it’s so funny you say that. I grew up in a household where there was the 10 bails of laundry at the end of the week and you could never find anything. So you needed stuff and my wife is the total opposite now. Where she’s got like a double stack, two washers and dryers. So then she can, on a daily basis, just continually refresh what we’re using. So we’re using only what we need and it’s available to us.  Denaye Barahona: Yeah and it’s awesome because everything that you love is always clean and it’s always available and everything that your kids want to wear, I mean I know my daughter wants to wear the same thing pretty much like five days a week, it’s always clean and she’s always happy. Absolutely, is there anything else in your house that you have done to move towards sustainability with young kids, that you feel like has made a big difference in your family life and any tips for being sustainable at home with kids?  Brendan Synnott: Oh, I think for us what I found is things that I can connect with them on and that they understand or like, like food sustainability. Why buy organic? Why buy fair trade? Where did the food come from? Can we buy it locally? We’re lucky, we live in Boulder, there’s lots of farmer’s markets in Colorado. And so having that conversation with them is something that they get a lot of benefit from because they love to eat, they love food and then it’s a way to kind of connect that food actually has an impact. It’s an area I found that they easily understand and then the second one is generally around waste. And that’s around everything, like why is there recycling?  Why is there compost? Why does something have to go in the trash? How do we minimize it? And thinking through and making them aware of those choices and then the last piece is just to kind of play and exercise and that’s just around, just health for us. I want to them to be inquisitive, I want them to be adventurous, I want them to be healthy and how do we do that in ways that are conscious and where they’re aware of the impact that they’re making and their choices? And so those are the things that we kind of cue in on, our kids are pretty young, so it feels like it has to be simple and tangible and repetitive for it to kind of sink in.  Denaye Barahona: Right and they have to see us doing it, they have to see us as the models for that kind of behavior in order for it to really stick.  Brendan Synnott: Exactly, it has to be natural to us. They know, they’ll see it in our daily choices. That’s really the best way that we can do it. But those seem to be the areas where they cue in the most.  Denaye Barahona: Yes and I think that they don’t, quite at such a young age, pick up on things when we’re not being consistent. Like, I went to visit this preschool and they really pushed the benefits of their composting program and their organic garden and then it was snack time and they were all eating off of styrofoam plates and I see things like that and I sort of think there’s this disconnect between wanting to put this good face forward of, “Hey, we do all these green things.” And there’s all these perks to doing life this way and this is sort of the desirable way to be raising kids. But then sometimes we’re backtracking and I feel like kind of reversing all of those efforts at the same time. And I know that there’s a lot of that in not just the clothing industry, but also in the food industry, which is, is it called greenwashing?  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, I think that’s a term just that I’ve seen, where folks are trying to take credit for movements that are positive, even though it’s kind of not really what their core product is about or-  Denaye Barahona: Yeah, it’s not really making a difference, more or less. And how do we be conscious consumers about that? I feel like I get super overwhelmed and my husband works in sustainability, so I think that as a family, we’re probably more tuned in and more informed than some and I still get really overwhelmed. Like organic, natural, fair trade, there’s a lot these certifications, how do we make sense of it and how do we start doing better?  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, I think the certifications are a good place to start and to me it always starts with kind of like what you’re interested in and whatever your personal interests are, whether it’s your health or whether it’s food or whether it’s travel or whatever it may, or gardening. You’d be like, those are the sorts of things that I encourage people to go deep on, being like, “I love this, as a passion of mine and I also love this planet and love my community. So when I do this passion, I want it to be in a way that positively impacts my community and my planet.” And what’s so awesome is that most kids and most younger folks and millennials particularly, even I’m 40, about to be 41, but I still, I feel like I have that mindset of I can make a change, I can vote with my dollar and I can make an impact with what I buy.  Brendan Synnott: In some ways, more than I can make an impact in voting in other ways. And it’s a way that impacts kind of my local community and the things that I care about. So that’s to me, where I start, it’s like you’ve got to start with your heart and your genuine curiosity to find a better way in whatever subject that is and then kind of using the industry certifications as kind of easy to understand badges. It’s kind of the same way that like when you walk into Whole Foods to go shopping and you’re like, “Oh, Whole Foods has made sure that they’re not going to put some chemically laden item on the shelf in here that’s going to hurt me or my family. They’ve gone through that process and brands like Whole Foods are great examples of that. And then utilizing certifications and utilizing just the understanding of the reading what’s on the back of the ingredients.  The first company I ever started was a granola company, I started in 2002, it was called Bear Naked and it was about the cereal aisle and understanding like, “Oh my gosh, I walked in the cereal aisle and it’s just cartoon characters and I don’t know where the ingredients came from and I eat cereal every day and I want to eat the healthiest possible cereal so I can have energy, so how am I going to make one with ingredients that I can understand and that’s processed in a way that doesn’t feel like it’s too much or like there’s some sort of secret sauce in it. Food should be simple.” And I put my whole passion in terms of understanding and building a better cereal product in a more sustainable way and that’s I think what every individual has to cue into to make it be a fun journey, getting after sustainability.  Denaye Barahona: Yeah because it can definitely get overwhelming, I feel like if you can afford to shop somewhere like Whole Foods it’s amazing because they take the guess work out of it. You go in and you pretty much know that most of the things on the shelves are going to be safe. They’re going to be well curated for chemicals and I think that, that’s so helpful for someone that gets easily overwhelmed by trying to be sustainable, which I know that, I’ve heard that from a lot of my audience members. The sort of, “Where do I begin? Where do I start?” Because there are so many different arenas to start with, whether it’s your toiletries or your food or your clothing. But you’re right, I like that idea of just sort of starting in the area that you’re passionate about and making small, incremental changes.  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, like if I am passionate about food. I want to go shopping—all right, I do not want to come home with bags that I throw away. I want to go shopping—so I’m going to bring something reusable, easy, makes sense, tangible and those are just the easy first steps. The classic thing that everybody’s talking about now is the plastic straw is now gone and for good reason. But simple choices like that, where it feels good for you and it can be easy for you or if you have the energy, it can be hard for you and that you feel good about. And that most importantly, that you can try to commit to, to make a habit and repeat. Because doing it one time and just doing 100 things one time, I just feel like that doesn’t feel as right as being like, “Listen, I’m just going to focus on not running the water when I brush my teeth.” Let’s just start there. I know I can commit to that and I’m going to make that happen and then I’ll figure out the next one after that.  Denaye Barahona: Yeah and I couldn’t agree more with that and I think so many families that are already overwhelmed just by life and by the stress of having kids and young kids especially, that when you try to go big and go all out, you’re just going to kind of crash and burn and give up. So starting with these little efforts, rather than just trying to go all in, all at once.  Brendan Synnott: I think that they say that you need to do something 22 days in a row to make it a habit.  Denaye Barahona: Yeah, absolutely.  Brendan Synnott: So like if you do, the first month try to do the 22 days, if you don’t do it all 22 days, you skip a few, that’s okay. Try to do something 22 days in a month.  Denaye Barahona: Yeah and just kind of give it-  Brendan Synnott: Go on to the next one.  Denaye Barahona: Giving yourself some grace around it too. I know my husband scolds me every time I take a plastic straw now and I forget. It’s hard to keep up with these things. I mean I know you read in the news that plastic straws are a no-no now, but I’ve been using plastic straws my whole life and it’s hard to remember. So when that happens, let it go and do better next time and I think that is something, especially for parents who already have a lot on their plates, that, that’s something I think we need to allow ourselves.  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, it’s okay to go to 7-Eleven and get a Slurpee in a big styrofoam cup, that’s filled with chemicals, you do it once every couple of years, don’t do it every day.  Denaye Barahona: Yeah, I get scolded on Instagram all the time by people about things like using baby carrots because they come in plastic bags. And I’m like, “You know what? I’m just doing my best people, I have never claimed to perfect, I’ve never claimed to be the ultimate environmentalist. I’m just over here, doing my best when I can, in the areas that are relevant to my family and really possible right now, for me and my family. And yes, we still use baby carrots in plastic bags.” Brendan Synnott: It’s so funny the way you say that, because at PACT we’re trying to do this and it’s impossible for us to be perfectly sustainable. There’s no such thing, it’s like we work hard at it every day and currently our products in plastic bags right now and we’ve been working on a solution for a couple of years now and it’s going to change to a compostable bag, which is awesome, we’re psyched about.  But I wanted to fix it, literally for four years, it took two years of figuring it out within supply chains, to be able to make it happen and make product overseas in multiple factories and have them put it in a package that is going to get to your doorstep in a way that you still want to buy and wear. And it’s just, it’s hard and it’s not about doing it right immediately, it’s about committing to it and doing it when you can and when you can make it consistent. Because that’s ultimately in some ways, the higher level definition of sustainable. It’s like can you do it over and over again?  Denaye Barahona: And as we see companies like PACT grow, which I’m hoping that we do because I feel like the availability of these products needs to be more and more so. But I think seeing change, like you said with those plastic bags, stuff like that takes time, especially when you’re working with a large organization that has complex supply chains and things going on, that it’s not going to happen overnight. And I don’t think we can ever really expect any company, even when they’re doing their best and they’re making sustainable claims, we can’t expect them to be perfect.  Brendan Synnott: Yeah.  Denaye Barahona: Even though I’m sure people do expect that from you all the time.  Brendan Synnott: We get hammered on it as we should though, as we should, right? It is not right and we can do better, but know that we’re working at it and it’s coming. And by the way, we’re doing 25 other things really awesome that nobody else is doing and let’s remember that part too. Denaye Barahona: Yeah, it’s kind of reminding yourself of that because you can’t fix all the little problems right at once. So tell me now, when we’re thinking about organic cotton, I feel like there are benefits for the environment and there are also benefits for us, as individuals as far as going pesticide free in our clothing. Can you talk a little bit about that?  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, the organic cotton, the kind of headlines of it is it uses a lot less water, number one. Some quotes are like up to 80% less water than traditional cotton and that’s primarily because it’s grown in regions that are meant to grow cotton and meant to grow cotton in a natural, organic way, as opposed to kind of a synthetically fertilized, pesticized, chemicalized way. And so that’s kind of the benefit and there’s cotton as a crop overall, if you look at your closet, you look at what you sleep in, you look at what you wash yourself off in the bath or shower, it’s like cotton really is the fabric of our lives. It is everywhere, it’s probably 70% of what’s in somebody’s closet, is cotton or cotton fibers.  So you can have a real impact just by going from conventional cotton, to organic cotton in your own wardrobe. If you just make that one simple choice, it will affect 70% of the fiber that’s in your cotton or in your home, which is awesome. And cotton is a great fiber, it makes beautiful fabrics that we want to live our lives in, we want them to touch our skin. So the other benefits of organic cotton production is that one, at the farm level and not putting pesticides, not using toxic chemicals in the growing, not polluting waterways, using less water. So very beneficial for the planet and think about the communities that grow that cotton. Do you want chemicals in the air around your community, or do you want organic fertilizers that are naturally made?  So those are kind of big benefits and then in order for our product to technically be called organic, so we sell organic underwear, which means that we use organic cotton in it. But when we dye and we process our cotton, it also limits toxic chemicals, metals, and nasty dyes in the process of us actually turning the cotton into a piece of clothing that you put on your skin or that you sleep in at night. So the organic certification, the benefit in apparel is both at the factory, sorry, at the farm level. But then in the production of the cotton and the types of dyes and chemicals that can be used in the processing of it. Yielding hopefully a more pure, better quality product, is what we believe.  Denaye Barahona: So I’m kind of thinking out loud here, so cotton is grown in a cotton field on a farm, which presumably has other crops in some sort of vicinity. So when you’re growing conventional cotton, I would imagine that some of those pesticides and the products that are being used on conventional cotton are going to make their way into some of the other crops too, in the ground and in the water supply and that sort of thing.  Brendan Synnott: Oh yeah, 100% and cotton is a super intensive crop from a water standpoint and very intensive from a pesticide and a herbicide application. Cotton takes up like 7% of the worlds farming land, yet it uses 25% of the worlds pesticides, these are put into the ground, are to deal with pests in conventional cotton. So it’s 7% of the acreage, but 25% of the poundage of pesticides going into the ground to grow it in that manner. Utilizing genetically modified seeds that require specific chemicals and inputs to go grow them. So I always think about like, yeah, we grow our organic cotton in India and we grow our cotton there and we make our products there. But to kind of take it home, cotton’s growing in the US. So cotton Texas in the South obviously grow a lot of cotton still.  Brendan Synnott: So imagine going to high school, and your high school or your elementary school is next to a cotton plantation that’s spraying consistently or a cotton farm that’s spraying consistently and from a community standpoint, I wouldn’t want my kids there. And I think if we can chip away at that, it’s not going to happen overnight, it’s a huge industry. But if we can chip away at that and grow this fiber that we all love in a better way, that’s I would argue, more sustainable for our planet and our people, let’s go do that. It’s going to take years to unwind what we already have done, but let’s go chip away at it, day by day.  Denaye Barahona: Right and now, thinking about the next generation, buying them organic clothing when they’re young is not really enough to make a difference in the environment per se because I think that we really have to teach our kids how to love the environment and how to love nature in order for them to want to continue to do it as they get older and to really understand the value of these things. And I know you being in Boulder, it’s a big outdoor community. I think you probably have a really easy time getting your kids outside, but in lots of parts of the country.  And in lots of families, it’s hard to get our kids out into nature and if our kids are not spending time in nature, they’re not going to be able to fall in love with the environment and they’re really going to have that value to take care of it as they grow. That’s one of the things we talk about here on the podcast a lot, is the importance of outdoor play. But I think with the rise of screen time and the increased amount of time that kids are being kept inside, whether it be in school or at home or whatever it is, I think that that is another risk for our kids and for the world as they’re growing older too.  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, I agree, there’s a great organization in Boulder, which we tried to support over the years, called The Big Green. And what their idea is, is they go put learning gardens into elementary schools across the country. Primarily in a lot of urban environments, where this gets back to passion and sustainability and why I always loved the idea, is you might not be able to help a family get outside consistently, across the board, but when their kids are in school, how do you make sure outside learning with nature, with something they love, like food, is something that’s a part of their life. And I love programs like that, that give those experiences to kids and that’s one example. But I couldn’t agree more. I, as a parent, I don’t like really even being inside with my kids, I want to be outside doing something all the time because I think they’re happier, I’m happier, kind of actually have to do less parenting outside. I feel like you do more parenting in your own house, to be-  Denaye Barahona: Totally, yes, when you’re-  Brendan Synnott: Which is more sustainable for me, as a happy dad and a husband to my wife, that I love also.  Denaye Barahona: Yeah, I think most people listening will agree that kids behave 100% worse when they’re inside, at home, as opposed to outside, anywhere.  Brendan Synnott: Again, they’re telling us something, they want to be outside, they’re going to behave better outside and we only need to really buy them one or two outfits because they want to wear it every day.  Denaye Barahona: Exactly, right, so just follow their lead, child led is almost always the way to go. So when I’m thinking about the kids clothing industry, I’m kind of in limbo right now, I used to buy a lot from Hanna Andersson and the quality has just taken a huge dive in the past year and a half and I’m just done. They used to have some good sustainable programs there, they had a Hanna me down program, where they were accepting hand me downs and repurposed those and they had a lot of organics. And they’re just kind of phasing all that out and the quality is dropping. Now I’m kind of stuck, I feel like there’s a big gap in the market and I know that you all at PACT are doing some kids’ stuff, but do you have, at this point, enough to sort of fully sustain a kid’s wardrobe or what sort of products are you offering?  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, I love, one of my favorite things in running this company, is making kids’ clothes and putting my kids in them, feeling proud about it. It’s just great personal joy I have, like my kid was wearing our orange drawstring shorts and the matching orange tee shirt over the weekend, for the Broncos and it was just like, it was awesome. Just like so much pride and it’s soft and more importantly it’s something that they want to wear. So what we make is, I think all of our product is 100% cotton, except for the underwear, which is 95% cotton. So nearly 100% cotton in everything that we make and we make underwear, we make awesome leggings for kids.  And we have a playground proof legging that has reinforced knees and reinforced bottoms. So that when they wear out, you don’t have to throw it out or when they inevitably bump their knee. And then we have something called a hand me down hoodie, which is kind of a beefy hoodie that actually you can write multiple people’s names in it. So it’s built to be kind of given away after the fact. And we have tee shirts and we have pajama sets and then we also have a ton of stuff for baby. So we call it the snapster, but it’s kind of that classic onesie, along with a sleeper footie. So just kind of a cozy, 100% cotton sleeping PJ outfit for babies.  So we make the basics, we’re working on, what we’ve always found is when we want somebody to change into buying organic or do these sorts of things, we want to do the basics really well, at a great value, that everybody can afford or most people can afford and make it accessible. And then slowly work up to the kind of more stylish, fashionable items that might fit less people overall. So that’s what we have currently with kids and we offer everything from baby stuff, all the way up to 12T. So toddlers or roughly like eight, 10-year-old kid, until they can start making their own choices and we’re tackling that next.  Denaye Barahona: Got it, so my husband and I have been wearing PACT for six or seven years probably. First discovered it at Whole Foods and we wear the underwear, my husband wears the undershirts and we’ve both been fans for a long time. But I’ve never tried your kids’ stuff, so I think I’m going to have to put that on my list.  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, the kids’ stuff is great, we have graphic tees and all kinds of fun stuff. And a lot more will be coming, this was kind of phase one, we just relaunched the program just two months ago or so.  Denaye Barahona: Okay, so we’re going to be seeing some more, just staples, some standard, simple basics, pants, shirts, every day type stuff?  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, we have great sweatshirts, cool joggers. It’s fun with the joggers, my little kids always love their pockets and so to put the little fun pockets in random places, that is not really practical for an adult, but kids love. That was really fun to do in the design process.  Denaye Barahona: Yeah, my daughter loves to fill her pockets up with rocks and leaves and all sorts of things that I find in the washing machine after the fact.  Brendan Synnott: It’s a nature pocket.  Denaye Barahona: Yes, lots of nature pockets, for sure. So what about availability? So I know that I first discovered PACT at Whole Foods, and I think, you’re still selling at Whole Foods?  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, we’ve been sold in Whole Foods nationwide for gosh, seven or eight years. And that’s the primary place people can find us offline, in retail, and they have a wide selection depending upon your store. But in all the Whole Foods across the country and then the rest of the business is primarily direct to consumer. So we sell directly at our website, which is And we have a big, huge selection there, both men’s, women’s, kids’. We also do home, which is bedding and bath, which we just launched recently. So we want to try to make it possible for your closet to be kind of as organic or more organic than your kitchen. And make that possible basically at the same price that you would go buy stuff at Gap or at J.Crew, so as widely available as we can.  Denaye Barahona: Okay, so what about Target? When are you coming to Target?  Brendan Synnott: We were in Target, and we kind of exited that business, primarily because they’re so focused on making their own brands. Their Cat and Jack brand, which is their house brand. And that’s kind of what they work on.  Denaye Barahona: Right and people love Cat and Jack and I love Cat and Jack. I buy the Cat and Jack pants, jeans, and leggings for my kids. And we’ve had really good luck with them and I think that for me, thinking about being sustainable with kids, because there aren’t a lot of great options out there, accessible options for buying sustainably for our kids, is I really try to look for things that I know are going to be able to be passed onto another family, after we’re done with them. And I see that with the Cat and Jack pants most of the time, not so much with the Cat and Jack shirts and tops. I feel like that’s definitely kind of, that’s always hard to know. But I think that’s something that I really value when I’m buying clothes for kids and thinking about trying some of PACT’s stuff, is that I want to know that not only has it been manufactured organically, manufactured in a sustainable way, but also that it’s not going to fall apart and that it’s going to last beyond my family and it’s not going to end up in a landfill somewhere.  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, 100% and making a disposable piece of clothing to me, is just like, considering the amount of resources it takes to make a piece of clothing, to think of it as disposable is just, it’s terrible. So we do our best to make things last. One of the other cool things we do, if you do order directly from us, on our website, you can basically take the box that we ship you our product in and then take old clothes. And then we will ship you a label to take that box, put your old clothes in it, that you want to recycle and then send it to a local organization that needs it. So we make that a part of like, we call it our give back box. But every box that we ship out, we want it to kind of be an opportunity for you to kind of take something that you don’t need any more, and give it to somebody that does.  Denaye Barahona: Cool, I love that. So what about, I’ve heard of there being some sort of initial efforts with people sort of re-buying and reselling clothes. Have you guys ever looked at this idea of maybe manufacturing tee shirts and then allowing people to send the tee shirts back to you and then reselling the tee shirts or is that sort of a pipe dream?  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, that’s not our core business, I get it. I think there’s some items that like a tee shirt that we all want our tee shirt to be soft and drape a certain way and in order to do that, we have to construct in a certain type of fabric. And it’s not realistic to think that, that fabric would last 10 years, to get that kind of drape or that kind of execution. So I think for higher end items, for jackets, for outer wear, for pants especially, for woven, woven fabrics, the durability of a woven fabric is something that just lasts much longer and I think is more around what you’re talking about. If you have a 100% organic cotton tee shirt, tee shirts to a certain extent, they pit out, it’s gross. But it’s like there’s stuff that happens to tee shirts because of the fabrication of them that makes them so that they won’t necessarily be something that you can give it to somebody else. But there’s really cool, especially if you buy 100% cotton or 100% organic cotton fabrics, you can recycle those. And you can send them to organizations that would basically chop them up and then reconstitute them into fabric platforms that can be reused again. But when that doesn’t work, is when you have a product that has 80% cotton, 20% plastic in it, then that gets a little harder. But if you could buy pure cotton products, that’s a great way to kind of in a sense, up cycle the product back.  Denaye Barahona: So would you suggest if you have a cotton product, maybe like a cotton tee shirt that’s stained, sending it to something like that, rather than donating it or I mean I guess, what is the best way to repurpose cotton after you can’t wear it any more, after it’s worn down?  Brendan Synnott: I don’t know the exact answer to that because if you have a friend that really needs a tee shirt, right or a local organization. I think about when the hurricanes went through Houston, right, we sent down hundreds of thousands of pieces down to them to distribute. These people were out of clothes and people genuinely needed them. So this gets back to like I don’t know if there is really, for me, I wouldn’t want to say a best way to do it. I just want you to do something with it, besides put it in the trash. And I really don’t care what you do with it, but just don’t put 82 pounds of clothing in your trash every year, find a better use for it. And that better use can be whatever’s easy and possible for you. I’d rather do 82 pounds the way you want to do it, as opposed to one pound the perfect way to do it.  Denaye Barahona: Right, okay, that’s good to know and I always, I think that our buying philosophy for clothing is to buy less and to buy better and then knowing that we can repurpose it. And usually, at the end of the season I just have like one small bag of stuff from my kids and it’s pretty simple stuff that I can find someone in my neighborhood or one of my kids friends and pass it on. So I feel like since we’ve started to buy less and buy better we really don’t even have the hand me downs as much any more. There’s a little bit, but it’s just, it feels so much simpler in that sense.  Brendan Synnott: Totally, totally, they only want to wear one or two outfits.  Denaye Barahona: Right, absolutely. Well it’s been so great talking to you, Brendan. I always said that we love PACT, but if there’s anyone out there looking to try PACT for the first time, do you have any kind of special offer that you can give us?  Brendan Synnott: Totally, totally, we have a great introductory offer. If you go to the website and enter the code SIMPLE, you’ll get 40% off your first order and that will expire November 15 this year. But encourage you to do that, if you enter, you’ll get 40% off your first order, and I hope you try all kinds of our stuff because everything in your closet can be organic.  Denaye Barahona: Cool, so that’s, and you said coupon code SIMPLE?  Brendan Synnott: Yeah, coupon code SIMPLE and just enter that at checkout.  Denaye Barahona: Okay, awesome, all right. Well thank you so much for your time, it’s been great talking to you.  Brendan Synnott: Thank you.  Denaye Barahona: Thanks so much for tuning in, if you want to stay in touch with Simple Families, go to and you can leave your email address to get all the updates. If you want to hear the things that Brendan and I were talking about today, you can go to and you can get the links there. If you’re interested in trying PACT, you can take advantage of that 40% offer that Brendan gave us, which is the code SIMPLE at checkout and that’s going to go until November 15th. As always, thanks for tuning in and I’m so glad to have you as a part of Simple Families. I’ll talk with you next week. The post SFP 173: Sustainable Fashion for Kids [with Brendan Synnott of Pact] appeared first on Simple Families.
View 5 more appearances
Share Profile
Are you Brendan? Verify and edit this page to your liking.

Share This Creator

Recommendation sent

Join Podchaser to...

  • Rate podcasts and episodes
  • Follow podcasts and creators
  • Create podcast and episode lists
  • & much more

Creator Details

Denver, Colorado, United States of America
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
1 day, 15 hours
Podchaser Creator ID logo 727316