How has your solution transformed the industry?
Every single year, $120 billion worth of unused textiles are left in a warehouse to gather dust, get burned, or sent to landfill. We know from speaking to suppliers, brands, and retailers around the world where it comes from: approximately 15% of every single step of every production run ends up as waste. So, this isn’t a problem that’s confined to any particular business model – it’s occurring globally, within every supply chain. For a large brand or retailer, we’re not just talking about scraps off the cutting room floor. This can be millions of yards of perfectly good fabric and thousands of SKUs around the world. At that volume, this isn't just environmentally irresponsible, it's a CFO issue!
What empowered you to disrupt this industry?
My family has been in fashion and textiles for over 100 years. In 1896, my great-grandfather came over on a ship from Austria and landed at Ellis Island. After settling into the Lower East Side, he had to make a living for his family as an immigrant chasing the American Dream. So he started working with his hands. He would find materials and supplies nearby (old fabrics and materials other immigrants had brought with them on the ships but weren't using anymore). He’d create beautiful fashion garments with minimal waste and minimal toxins because his bottom dollar depended on it. He sold finished goods to local customers and it was a very successful, profitable, and sustainable business.
Of course, today's supply chains are much more complicated. Hundreds of steps involving millions of people across the globe and metric tons of water, chemicals, crops, and oil are used in the process. Given where we are today, with trade wars and pandemic disruption, how can we use technology to get back to what my great-grandfather did? He didn’t talk about it in terms of sustainability, but it absolutely made sense for people, for planet, and for profit!
Right now, our world is literally crying out for change, and the question for brands and retailers is how they can be a part of it, rather than ending up as a dinosaur. For me, dead stock material is probably the most powerful untapped sourcing mechanism there is. Especially given that we know the next generation supply chain is going to be on-demand, more local, more sustainable, and more digital. If fashion businesses can get ahead of that they’ll be able to survive today and thrive tomorrow, while solving the world's water crisis.
I want my 5-year-old son and my 12-month-old to have clean water to drink, clothes that aren't toxic to wear, and a planet to live on. We've already saved over 1 billion gallons of water doing it, and we're just getting started. Together we will change the world!