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Office Space: Kate McKay and Priyanka Patel, IAmTheEarth clothing company

Kate McKay and Priyanka Patel, both from Kansas City, are co-presidents of IAmTheEarth, an organic and USA-made clothing company that promotes awareness about humanitarian and environmental issues. Th

Sustainable methods and material are important to Kate McKay and Priyanka Patel, who started IAmTheEarth.

Typical day on the job at KC Organics market

7:30 a.m.

Recruit awake and willing family members to help set up the IAmTheEarth booth

8 a.m.

Spread the word about shirts to Saturday shoppers

9:30 a.m.

Buy vegan cupcakes for an a.m. sugar kick

10 a.m.

Laugh and tell funny stories to amuse shoppers

12:30 p.m.

Pack up the booth and head to lunch, then snooze

2:30 p.m.

Post-nap, chat about ideas and next steps for the following week

Special to Ink

Baby steps

IAmTheEarth is still in infant mode, but Patel and McKay are “learning so fast,” McKay says.

Balancing act

Patel and McKay attend separate colleges but connect from afar to keep the company going. “I’m at Washington University, and Kate is studying at Central Saint Martins in London, but we have to talk every day. We Skype, call and email constantly,” Patel says.

Distinctive designs

“There is a lot of organic clothing out there, but not too many people are promoting issues with it,” McKay says. The backs of the IAmTheEarth tops ($23-$33) are printed with messages about trees, AIDS or water.

Spreading shirts

The goal is to promote awareness outside of the U.S., such as in England, Mexico, South America and the Middle East, McKay says.

The moving movie

Patel watched a documentary called “The Cove” last summer about the controversial Japanese practice of hunting dolphins. Watching the film made her want to do her part to save the environment. “I called McKay, and we decided to start an eco-friendly clothing company that takes nature as its inspiration,” Patel says.


McKay learned to sew at Kaplan’s fabric store, and she worked with Patel to come up with a clothing concept that was loose and free. “Our products are manufactured in Maryland and are made from organic cotton and thread,” McKay says. “The packaging is also recyclable, but we’re really hoping to be paperless soon.”

Wear your cause

Eventually, McKay and Patel hope to be able to create a buzz about more causes through their shirt designs and messaging. “We created the shirts to support the mission of many organizations,” Patel says. “We want to give back.”


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