I know that everyone is going to love LOOPTWORKS as much as I do. Read on about this eco-friendly west coast based business.
1. I love the eco-friendly message that LOOPTWORKS sends out. Can you tell our readers how you got started in business and what made you decide to go with eco-friendly?
Co-founders, Gary Peck and Scott Hamlin, have more than 40 years in the apparel industry with Nike, Adidas, and Royal Robbins. During their tenures at these great companies, they witnessed, first hand, the excess that exists within the supply chain. In 2009, they came together to do something about it. One of the earliest specific product inspirations came from Scott’s love of surfing and his pursuit of a fun and practical use for excess, which comes from the production of wetsuits. The result: a whole line of neoprene electronic accessories made form 100% upcycled materials.
2. Your website talks about upcycling. Please tell us about that and also about some of your fabulous items.
Upcycling is when you take excess materials and make something of equal or greater value out of them. Generally speaking, this process is ‘repurposing’ the substance to leverage its existing material benefits. This is different than ‘recycling’ because in that process, the goods are broken down to their fiber base and then put back together for the next use. Often, recycled fibers need to be fortified with virgin materials to ensure that it can perform its product duties. For example, this is why you’ll find 30% or 80% recycled paper products.
So, for LOOPTWORKS, a great example of upcycling exists with our Luhu & Shaxi leather iPad cases. These products are made from excess shoe leather that came from one of the largest tanneries in the world. During the process of preparing leather for future products, parts of the hide with natural blemishes, like bug bites and/or scratches, are filtered out. This filtering can generate 4,500 lbs of this “excess” material a day! We saw the opportunity to put this material, which could have otherwise gone straight to the landfill or incinerator, to good use by making really cool, limited edition, and well made products. Not only are we finding ways to use pre-consumer excess (direct from the factory) to make great products but we also take comfort knowing that we’ve helped conserve water and reduce CO2 emissions — just by using what already exists.
3. What new items do you have in store for 2013?
For 2013, we will be revealing a new Transit focused line (i.e. products that enable one’s “on-the-go” lifestyle) as well as new colors and graphics for existing products like our Men’s & Women’s Upcycled Classic Tee, Hoptu laptop cases and Kasum backpacks.
4. If I were a business owner that was just starting out, what one piece of advice would you give me…that you wish you had known?
When you are starting out, everything takes longer than you think it should. Model your business to allow you to make mistakes along the way and take the time necessary to successfully develop your company.