Finalist Q&A: Rain Frog Apparel

Rain Frog Apparel is a maker of high-end, organic bamboo clothing for women and children. Rain Frog Apparel not only makes environment-friendly clothing, but also tries to create a positive environmental consciousness throughout society. To accomplish this goal, the company's founder maintains a blog promoting environmental awareness and is working on a book to do the same.



Idea Cafe: How did you come up with the idea for your business, and what were your influences and sources of motivation?

Karen E. Spaeder, Founder & CEO: My son was the primary motivation for starting my business, in so many different ways. I want him to see that creativity and passion can become great ideas, and great ideas can become businesses, and businesses can become sources of great happiness and personal achievement. When it’s your own, you take care of it just as you would a child. In some cases, it’s messy and unpleasant, but you love it anyway. It keeps you up at night and occupies your thoughts all day, but you never give up. And sooner or later, your business grows up and provides you with fantastic returns.

I also knew that I wanted to do something good for the environment, and again my son provided me with some inspiration. While reciting the Pledge of Allegiance one day, he replaced the last line, saying “With liberty and justice for frogs.” I began researching amphibian habitats as well as environmentally sound fabrics that would be suitable for T-shirts. I chose bamboo for its durability and sustainability.

What do you consider to be a unique feature of your business?

Because I am also a writer, my business efforts also include social networking and blogging (, where I use the space to promote environmental awareness, parenting tips, health and wellness, and general well-being. I believe that as a business owner, it is my responsibility and is within my power to create positive thoughts for others. Those who follow my blog come back to read about the power of a positive mindset, carbon offsets and many other topics of interest.

What are your thoughts on the future of small businesses in a slowing economy and their importance to the vitality of the local community?

Entrepreneurs are the ones who create solutions to problems. It will be the entrepreneurs who solve our economic woes, even the ones who are struggling right now. Tough times make us stronger, and those among us with a passion and a vision will make our economy lean and mean once again.

Why should the Idea Cafe regulars vote for you?

I have a desire to make a difference. My company is intrinsically philanthropic, with a portion of sales going toward environmental and other charities. I use my business to better the common good and not for selfish gain.

Rain Frog Apparel products.


Bamboo was a natural choice,

Bamboo was a natural choice, as it is naturally organic, grows and regenerates quickly, and benefits both the environment and the person wearing it as a textile.

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