Supima is the Champagne and caviar of cotton — or, in this case, that would be the sustainable and organic Champagne and caviar. Pima cotton (of which Supima cotton, which is a brand name, is made) has finer and longer fibers, ensuring that anything it comprises is supremely soft but oh-so-strong.
Jennifer Chi, founder of Live Good, uses only organic Supima in her line of bedding for babies and adults. Any cushion filling is natural, too (think fibers from the kapok tree). Dyes are also organic, and the lettering uses water-based inks. Who needs to live in a plastic bubble when you can surround yourself with all these non-toxic offerings?
We asked the Stanford grad and former human rights investigator what inspired her to start this eco-friendly — and eminently luxurious — brand.
How did your training as a human rights investigator in overseas factories influence the way you started and now run your company? That experience certainly shaped me as a human being, and therefore influences my decision-making at Live Good. It’s easy to focus on the negatives—memories of workers getting sick from toxic materials and having to endure very long hours for minimal pay. I choose to focus on the positives. I remember people being kind to one another, sharing lunches, or stepping in when another worker was tired. Your work makes up so much of your life. Everyone deserves to feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose. That’s what I hope to give all of my talented team members at Live Good.
Why was it important for your designs to be made in America? As a woman, I feel fortunate to have been born and raised in the United States. The one thing that is always on my mind when traveling abroad is the state of women in that region. Although I find all cultures and countries to be beautiful in their own way, I see that gender inequality is alarmingly prevalent around the world. Growing up in the States, I had the opportunity to attain a college and graduate school education — an opportunity that most women in developing nations do not have. Why was it important to manufacture in the USA? I wanted my company to be a strong reflection of my values and principles, which are rooted in the American civil liberties culture.
How do you think your business can be a model/inspiration for other companies? To be honest, other companies have been an inspiration to me and my team. I am working with some of the most respected names in manufacturing, and they have been so kind. I never imagined these veterans would be willing to restructure parts of their business just to work with Live Good. It has been an incredible journey so far!
Even the wooden buttons on your duvet covers are sustainable. Why do you think this attention to detail is important? The wooden buttons come from a very nice man in New York. He carves them himself. I remember he was trying to finish up my order and Hurricane Sandy was on her way. So dedicated! But to answer your question, I believe true beauty is in the details. I use all certified organic materials and dyes because I want to be able to say Live Good products are made according to the strictest environmental standards — and mean it.
What do you do to maintain your balance and “live good”? These days I’m usually busy running color checks at my dye factory or overseeing final production at my warehouse. But you have to be careful not to burn out, so I make it a point to spend at least one afternoon a week by myself walking on the beach—just me and the blue Pacific. I love the ocean; it’s where I find my peace.
— Maria Ricapito