Ryonet Blog

Sandilake: Chum for the Sharks or a Breath of Life?

“What if we could close the circle and build a story for the shirt?”

The T-Shirt has always been a part of our story at Ryonet. They are the canvas of the print, the billboard of this generation. Screen printers bring stories to life on t-shirts. Your prints share a message, create pride, and build confidence. But the T-shirt that is behind every print seems to go without a story. What if we could close the circle and build a story for the shirt? The shirt that helps bring those who touch it, and those who created it, life. Ryonet is embarking on a purpose driven enterprise with 10 fellow screen printers to create a shirt that has a story and helps make the world a better place. One of these founding print partners is SandiLake Clothing.

Looking for a better way to dress her girls, Mel started Sandilake in 2014 to create children’s and mom-focused apparel to wear and, perhaps, to even make enough money to support a stay at home mom. Mel started screen printing on a Ryonet Silver Press using basic screens and plastisol inks. A year later she found out that Target had ripped her America design and decided to do something about it. The mishap garnered her national attention on Good Morning America which increased their fan base by 20 fold. Headed into their 3rd year, they have become a model example for Etsy success and will be featured on SharkTank this Friday, October 21st. Mel has already started making her own private label clothing with American Apparel and Portland Garment Factory so she was excited to be a part of something new. It seems having a say in how her shirts are made and making the world a better place is right up her alley! Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and as documentaries like Poverty Inc explain, the need for meaningful, well-paying local work is the answer to the poverty and orphan life cycle that currently envelops Haiti. “We just watched the videos with our little girls, and truly feel like this was all meant to be,” Mel said after seeing the conditions the orphans live within every day.

Mel has already jumped in and is making custom baby rompers for the Christmas season that are manufactured at our living wage LIFE facility in Haiti. At LIFE, Haitian workers earn up to 10x the average daily income in Haiti, they are able to take care of their families, adopt orphans from the community, and help build an economic foundation in their country. The rompers will be private labeled for SandiLake with this message stamped into every shirt! Through this living wage product, the local makers in these impoverished communities touch your life, and you help to keep their families together through dignified work.

Thank you for reading about this exciting new journey, we hope you will follow along closely! There will be many opportunities for you to help these communities by being knowledgeable of where your garments are created. While we push to shift the industry towards more earth friendly, and people friendly garments, we will need your help in spreading the word.

For more information on Sandilake, her coming appearance on ABC’s SharkTank, or about the exciting new LIFE project we’re working on, please follow the links below.
About our purpose for orphan prevention and our partner GoProject: https://goproject.org/go-project/orphan-care/orphan-prevention/
Interested in hearing more about our exciting new LIFE project? Contact Ryan: https://www.instagram.com/ryanmoor/


-Ryan Moor




  • Great story, until Haiti. Have you not heard? There are families suffering in Portland! Oh yeah, you gotta pay at least $9.75 an hour in Portland. I’m guessing 10X wages in Haiti is still WAY less. Why are clothing manufacturers always tooting their horns about saving 3rd world countries instead of keeping production here???

    • Hey Tom, thank you for reading and commenting. You are right, there are a lot of opportunities all over the world. We are very fortunate in the US to have amazing opportunity to work, grow, learn, and build. Hussein from the Printory in Beaverton was telling me about when he came here as a Iraqi refugee and how he started a small print shop which he is now grown and hiring people from the opportunity he was able to take advantage of. He’s got a great story, check it out at http://www.theprintory.com – At Ryonet we have been fortunate to do the same and have been able to hire over 120 team members in the Portland/Vancouver area. I would be happy to discuss this in more depth with you and I am going to leave my contact info below so we can connect. The short story is our goal is to create a supply chain in the shirt that has the most integrity possible. We are going to be using US Cotton with Organic and Recycled Poly options, it will be made in Haiti to start, but then distributed out of living wage facilities in the US with similar models to New Avenues Ink have in Portland and that provide jobs and opportunity to homeless and struggling youth teaching job skills and work ethic. Eventually we want to have a US MFG line as well. Anyway, feel free to email me rmoor@ryonet.com or call me 360-910-6354. Have a great day and thanks again for your comment. Ryan

  • Awesome & inspiring story! I remember hearing about the Target incident too, and being a small freelance designer, I was relieved that she fought the big company to rite the ship.

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