14 Million Tons of Apparel Per Year ends up in landfills.
Introducing Renewed Apparel! The easiest and most fashionable way to save the planet.
To find out more behind how The Renewal Workshop got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews The Renewal Workshop co-founders, Nicole Bassett and Jeff Denby
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with The Renewal Workshop co-founders Nicole Bassett and Jeff Denby. The Renewal Worship, based out of Cascade Locks, Oregon is a renewed apparel company, that takes defective products from brands like Indigenous, Toad & Co., Parana, Ibex and Mountain Khakis and will fully repair, clean, and revitalize the apparel/outerwear. The Renewal Workshop is a company founded with a focus in tackling the huge waste problem that is heavily tied to apparel and gear production/manufacturing. In the United States 14 million tons of apparel end up in landfills every. Single. Year. After Nicole and Jeff were hit with this hard fact they got to work. Having just finished an incredibly successful indiegogo campaign, they are ready to be the saviors of fallen gear by reducing waste and increasing the lifespan of your favorite gear.
Have an opinion? We want to hear it! Join the conversation and leave a comment, check out show notes, and get all the links mentioned in this episode below
Head to The Renewal Workshop website (Updates coming soon)
- Follow The Renewal Worship on Instagram, Linkedin
- Stay updated with The Renewal Workshop on their blog
- Check out The Renewal Workshops indiegogo page
How did you guys come up with the idea for The Renewal Workshop?
Nicole: “Well I think it helps to know that, Jeff and I, both have backgrounds in apparel manufacturing...every year we made those garments that went to those landfills every year…”
What did the story start for both of you?
Jeff: “Well for me, I started in product development year and years ago making anything from forks to furniture…”
Nicole: “Jeff and I actually met through the fair trade supply chain. I was working for Prana running their sustainability program. Jeff and I were inadvertently sharing the same factory in India…”
How do you guys spend your time when you’re not running The Renewal Workshop?
Nicole: “Right now my biggest thing is mountain biking and running and luckily there’s a lot of nature and trails to get out in it.”
Jeff: “We try to keep ourselves sane. Sleep, food, and exercise are important fundamentals for anybody but, particularly if you are an entrepreneur running a startup…”
How long have you guys been working at The Renewal Workshop?
Nicole: “Jeff and I have been working at this for about a year and a half…”
Jeff: “We took our funding at the beginning of 2016, when we really raised the money to actually begin the implementation of the businesses plan. So it’s been a very fast year…”
What made you guys decide to jump into an Indiegogo campaign?
Nicole: “The idea of what we were trying to achieve is so much greater and bigger than us and we needed to serve that idea in a way that would make it successful. And that was not bootstrapping in my garage...it needed to be served by real funding and real resources...”
What kind of products do you guys have for customers at The Renewal Workshop?
Jeff: “When the customer comes to Therenewalworkshop.com they will see renewed apparel. Renewed apparel is product that has come through our factory and gone through the renewal process… Our process here is to pull the product out of the box, assess it’s condition, decide if we think it can be renewed, and then if there is something wrong with it, it gets repaired…”
How did you guys develop your process with The Renewal Workshop?
Jeff: “When Nicole had this idea initially and brought it to me and I started looking at product it was unbelievable to pull product out of a box and see that it was pants missing a button or a shirt with a seam tear…”
Jeff: “We looked at eachother and said we have to develope a system to fix this. But what we realized to do that here in the US, was all about creating a system that would be really efficient…”
What sort of products do you guys focus on?
Nicole: “Out of the gate, it’s pants it’s shirts. It’s the offering of the brands that we have, is essentially what we will be putting out there. It’s reflective of what Pranna sells, it’s reflective of what Ibex sells and Mountain Khakis…”
Jeff: “Yeah and it’s exciting because in the future we’ll be able to roll in different kinds of products… it’s a step by step process but right now we’re really focused on all kinds of apparel...”
What’s something about The Renewal Workshop that no one knows about?
Jeff: “I think one thing that’s really fascinating about our business is the cleaning equipment we use. We’ve partnered with a company called Tersus… They’ve created this incredible system… It’s a huge laundry machine that can do 50lb of clothing at a time and it cleans the product with liquid CO2…”
Have you had any mentors who’ve helped you build The Renewal Workshop?
Nicole: “When you start a business you have to know so many things, not just what you’re an expert in...You just have to be able to go out and ask people...”
Jeff: “I think it’s really important for entrepreneurs to seek out a mentorship web of people who can help guide you through this ridiculous marathon…We have a network of people that we ask for help...It’s phenomenal to have their input constantly guiding us...”
What else are you guys doing in terms of sustainability besides revitalizing gear?
Nicole: “One of the things that was important when we created the values of the company is sestainablility and that to me is really strong around this idea of sustainability…”
What’s the culture that exists within The Renewal Workshop?
Jeff: “We purposely spent a lot of time developing our values and deciding between when it was just Nicole and I- who are we as people, why are we doing this together, and what kind of organization do we want to build and work at…”
What would you say has been the hardest part about starting The Renewal Workshop?
Jeff: “One of the things that’s tough is wanting to go faster or time goes faster than we can go. It kind of goes both ways…”
Nicole: “I think there’s an emotional factor in running a company that I didn’t know would be so hard…”
What would you guys say is your biggest fear and how do you manage it?
Jeff: “We call out fear in our business whenever it crops up as a point at which we are making a decision that is based in fear. A lot of decisions in business are made out of fear… You can kind of feel it when fear rises to the top of a problem solving process…”
What would you guys say are your biggest mistakes with The Renewal Workshop?
Nicole: “I feel like we’re constantly making micro mistakes but, we’re iterating and learning from it. We’re catching them quickly enough that we can do something else…”
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a business in the outdoor sport industry?
Nicole: “The planning process is really valuable. I would say writing a business plan is really useful exercise, being a part of an accelerator or an incubator is a really useful process to go through…”
What’s in store for the future of The Renewal Workshop?
Nicole: “We have a very ambitious big vision and that is a circular economy through the apparel industry. That includes things like recycling textile and there is very limited innovation in that space today but, there’s a lot of really cool companies and ideas that are being developed right now…”
What’s the best part about running The Renewal Workshop?
Jeff “What’s really exciting is the people we’ve been able to partner with and find...we’ve found the most amazing people, brains and hearts, that are now part of our world...because these people share our values and are trying to share what we’re trying to do it’s a joy to come in and do the work…”
- Nicole: “I think the thing that is so exciting about running a business is you can do what you want...if we want to incorporate environmental metrics into our reporting, we can do that… I think that’s the thing that’s exciting, I don’t have to write a case study and a business proposal and flush it through eight levels of command…”