Janice Masoud and the Sekem organic cotton farm
Prior to founding her company in 1997, president Janice Masoud worked as an apparel designer for 14 years. When searching for organic products for her young children, who were experiencing allergic reactions to conventionally manufactured products, she discovered organic Egyptian cotton at the Sekem Initiative Farms in Egypt, and immediately started working with the farm on a line for the U.S. market.
Back then, organic cotton was not readily available, so Janice thought about starting a company to make organic baby clothes that could benefit her own children as well as others.
The Sekem Farm provides a worldwide model community for biodynamic agriculture and a workplace that is fully supportive of its workers, from educational programs to health care. From the cottonseed to the spinning and weaving of yarn to the sewing process, every manufacturing step is completely toxin free.
All Sekem farms are "Demeter" and COAE (Center of Organic Agric. in Egypt) Certified.
Demeter certification is the highest certification in the world, ensuring that the entire process, from growing the cotton, spinning, weaving, dying all the way to sewing the garment is certified. All Under the Nile hangtags feature the Demeter logo.
Sekem's group of biodynamic engineers assists all its organic cotton farms with any issues that may arise. A farm that has transitioned into organic farming can be certified after three years, which means absolutely no pesticides, insecticides, defoliants, or harmful chemicals can be used on the land for three consecutive years prior to certification. During this transitional period, Sekem helps the farmers trade their cotton on the local market for a fair price. After that period, Sekem purchases the certified organic cotton at above market price.
Sekem employs 700 people in its production facility, with 2,000 farm workers, and a co-op of 50 farmers who grow organic cotton on approximately 12,000 acres.