The World's Only Organic Cotton Hairties

Posted on September 07, 2014 by Jesse Schiller | 1 comment

In March 2014 we quietly introduced our highest selling product yet. 

At that very moment we were midway through a tremendously successful Kickstarter campaign to launch the Journey Shawls - the 12 outfit in 1 multi-use scarf that is now being worn in 23 countries (or more?) of the world

But this story isn't about the Journey Shawl (read that one here); this is the story of the LILA hairties, the only organic cotton hairties in the world


The idea was simple: make the highest preforming hair elastics in the world... and make them in a sustainable manner, using organic cotton. 

We spent months looking for the right supplier. The search led us around the world, interviewing elastic makers of all sizes, to find just one that was already making an organic cotton elastic.

Pretty much everywhere we called we were met with the same: “Organic? Nope and no plans to make any!”

We found the answer rather shocking. With a consumer market that is increasingly tuning into the importance of organic and sustainable materials in textiles we expected that demand would have necessitated a product.

But we were wrong - about the product already being made; not about the demand.

Eventually our bouncing between suppliers led us to a wonderful sales agent for an elastic manufacturer with a reputation for innovation. Best of all, they were based in the US North East, meaning we'd be sticking with our goal of making all our products ethically and close to home. 

Instead of the “nope, no plans to make that” response, we were met with a cautiously optimistic “tell me more”.

And so we shared with her what we knew of the need for an organic cotton elastic:

A) Conventional cotton is the most heavily sprayed crop on earth (2.5% of world's crops are cotton, yet it takes 25% of world's pesticides - read more about it here) and that the poisons we spray on those crops don’t just end up in the community water tables and on the skin of those picking the cottons, but in the very makeup of the final garments we wear on our skin.

B) The hairties currently on the market are poorly manufactured and regularly break in the hair yet never break down when in the trash (polyesters take up to 1000 years to breakdown). 

C) With all the women (and men) that are increasingly looking for eco-fashion in their wardrobes (a recent study found that consumers want to double their eco-apparel purchases this year), not a single one is able to purchase an organic cotton hair elastic. 

I'd like to believe that points A and B won her over but the reality of point C is: it's just good business. 

Over the next several months we mailed samples back and forth across the continent, refining characteristics like strength, size and elasticity of the organic cotton elastic with every round.

With the official company launch of KOOSHOO approaching we agreed on a beautiful braided organic cotton elastic that ticked all the "a great product is" boxes. The final composition was a mix of 75% Organic Cotton and 25% Natural Rubber.

The team created the elastic and then shipped it to our elastic dye house in Los Angeles, a small operation run by 3 brothers who dye every elastic by hand (yeah, they’re amazing!). They were then transferred 3 blocks to another family run operation for finishing and packaging. 

At our elastic dye house finalizing colors for the AUREA skinny headbands

By November 2012 we launched the organic hair ties in 2 color packs – a Neutral pack and Playful (colors) pack (both now sold out) – along with our hand dip dyed AUREA headbands, solid and batik ENSO and HU headbands, and our hand dyed Shawls. As predicted, they were huge sellers right out of the gate, gaining rave reviews from people worldwide.

As the hairties continued to delight we got back in touch with our manufacturer to begin work on a 2nd generation of Organic Cotton hairties. We knew that with a few simple revisions we could make an already great hairtie even better.

Several rounds of prototypes later we had our “Aha” moment when we shifted from braiding the elastics to weaving them. The shift allowed us to dramatically strengthen the organic cotton hair elastics, meaning they’d hold up under even the most rigorous use (women looking for elastics for extra thick hair: we heard you!).

 Braided Elastic 
Woven Elastic

As mentioned above, in March 2014, at the height of all the excitement around our very successful Kickstarter campaign to launch the gorgeous Journey Shawls, we quietly introduced the 2nd generation of LILA hairties in 2 new color packs: Black/Brown and Colorful (Natural, Radiant Orchid, Grey, Yellow, Green).

In the months since, the new generation of hairties have gone on to great heights and sales. Because of the excitement (and work surrounding) the Kickstarter campaign, and the summer festival season that followed, we never properly "launched" the new generation of hairties.

So that, folks, is what we wanted to do here today*.

*clapping, fireworks, baby-kissing

We would love you to get to experience these phenomenal hair elastics and would like to offer you 10% OFF your purchase. Simply use the following Promo Code at checkout: LOVELILA

Valid through to September 30, 2014.

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  • Stacie

    I am looking for a hair tie that won’t break my hair. I have thick hair, but need a mainly cotton tie with strength. Is the rubber in your hair tie surrounded by cotton?


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