Scaling a Sustainable Up-Cycling Business with Project Repat Co-Founder Nathan Rothstein
Where to listen
Nathan Rothstein is a co-founder at Project Repat. Repat launched in 2012 trying to solve the problem of too much clothing waste in the world, and a loss of textile manufacturing jobs in the US.
Since then, they have sold over a million t-shirt quilts, preventing over 25 million t-shirts from ending up in landfills, and created 60 textile jobs in Western North Carolina.
In this episode you’ll learn about:
- Creating an affordable, US-based product – how to build the right team, and ways to scale.
- The impact of textile waste on the environment – how building a US-based up-cycling company can make a positive impact on the environment.
- How to scale an up-cycling business – from farmer’s markets to email and text marketing strategies.
- The difference between a good idea and a genuine business – how Project Repat went from trying to sell upcycled t-shirt bags to selling over a million affordable t-shirt quilts.
- Worker-owned factory models – the importance of hiring workers that believe in your product and vision.
- Repatriates – how Project Repat creates a high-quality, affordable t-shirt quilt with minimal carbon impact that brings textile jobs back to the United States.
- Facebook Ads – are the glory days of Facebook in the past? Should businesses look to google?
- Fine-tuning your lead generation – finding the balance between social media ads, google, and email marketing.
- Text and email marketing – why a phone number is worth more than an email address.
- Why Project Repat – keeping t-shirts out of landfills and upcycling them into something new that commemorates important dates, times, and events in people’s lives!
Connecting with Guest:
Connecting with the host:
- Rebecca Babicz on LinkedIn
- 1:39 “Something that was sturdy and well crafted, but also wasn’t your museum-like quilt.”
- 2:49 “There’s traditionally not a great way to recycle textiles, and they have a long history of disrupting economics in different countries and also adding a lot of textile waste.”
- 7:47 “There’s about 2 billion t-shirts printed in the US every year, and 96% of them are made overseas.”
- 8:04 “T-shirts become a representation of who you are.”
- 9:01 “What we’ve tried to do is turn those memories into getting people to support textile work in the US.”
- 11:54 “You want workers that you have a close relationship with, that really see the meaning of the work, and they can benefit economically from it.”
- 13:36 “I don’t know if we could’ve started this business now and achieved that scale. Because at that time, a lot of people were trying to raise money to then spend that money on advertising, and instead of raising money, we used Groupon and Living Social as our Series A financing.”
- 28:00 “Most people want to be doing customer service through email, and text, and chat.”