A Spartanburg company recently kicked off a relationship with “America’s Team.”
Alta Gracia, which has a corporate office in Spartanburg and a merchandising office in the Dominican Republic, signed an agreement with Dallas Cowboys Merchandising and 289c Apparel to develop a line of garment dyed shirts for the popular NFL team.
Along with the Cowboys, the merchandising group produces shirts for the University of Texas and the University of Southern California.
“We developed a new product line for them, and they made a significant commitment to us to buy that product,” company CEO Donnie Hodge said. “They will take that product and decorate it either for USC or Texas or for the Cowboys.”
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The value of the agreement was not disclosed.
The line of T-shirts is set to be available in the fall where Cowboys, Trojans and Longhorns apparel is sold.
“It’s significant in several ways, one of those is we wanted a blank division, where companies and groups could buy a blank Alta Gracia T-shirt and print themselves,” Hodge said.
Hodge said the Cowboys deal is the first “blank” deal the company has secured.
Hodge helped start Knights Apparel, also based in Spartanburg, before it was purchased by HanesBrands for $200 million in 2015.
Housed in the third floor of USC Upstate’s George Dean Johnson Jr. College of Business and Economics in downtown Spartanburg, Alta Gracia employs about 140 people at a facility in the Dominican Republic.
There, workers are paid more than three times the minimum wage, Hodge said. The effort to produce ethically made products, which is backed by the Worker Rights Consortium, played a role in Cowboys agreement, Hodge said.
“Not only can they get a good quality brand, they can do some good with their purchases,” he said.
Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, said in a statement that Alta Gracia is doing something many other clothing factories don’t.
“Lots of clothing brands claim to be socially responsible,” Nova stated. “What Alta Gracia does isn’t talk, it’s real. A living wage transforms workers’ lives.”
Along with the new agreement, Alta Gracia has merchandising deals with colleges and universities across the country.
The company’s largest deal is with Barnes & Noble, which runs bookstores on college campuses nationwide, Hodge said.
“This kind of initiative allows for what we think is a great branch-off for us. We hope other corporations and groups make the decision to buy Alta Gracia products,” he said. “It’s beneficial for us to be associated with (the Cowboys) brand.”