Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.
Stormie Poodle makes new clothes for children out of discarded high-quality hotel textiles that are kind to kids' sensitive skin. The production is ethical, creating work at Dzivesprieks's sewing workshop in Latvia. Dzivesprieks runs a vocational school for disenfranchised youths.
WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"
What if this could act as leverage to include newcomers, creating work for immigrants - many have handicraft skills, it could be a way to learn a new language and feeling useful - while a the same time taking care of a high quality resource?.
Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
New clothes for kids are full of chemicals that may be irritating or harmful. By making new clothes out of used high quality textiles that have been washed many times we can limit the chemical load put on kids. At the same time we are saving water, energy and chemicals as cotton is the thirstiest crop to grow. We must become better at working towards a circular economy and this is my contribution to it.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
Today we are burning water when cotton towels and sheets are incinerated! (Cotton is one of the thirstiest crops around.) By upcycling the discarded hotel textiles, which Stormie Poodle does, water is saved and a high quality resource is put back into the loop of the circular economy. My plan is to coordinate a large-scale sorting of these textiles, collaborate with great designers and coordinate a sewing "workshop"/factory where previously unemployed but skilled workers can be hired. I believe that this type of manual labor - both the sorting of the material as well as the actual handicraft work in piecing together a new piece of clothing can be a way to integrate newcomers/refugees. It is a labor-intensive process.
Globe Forum Sustainable Innovator 2009, finalist in Stockholm Business Region's Innovation Contest 2015 (winner to be announced on Dec 7th)
Impact: How does it Work
Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.
By taking a resource that otherwise would be discarded, high quality textiles can be given new life and a new textile loop is created. The environmental gains are huge: saving water, energy and chemicals. The health benefits are obvious: reducing kids' exposure to chemicals. The ethical gains are large as well - creating work opportunities for underprivileged persons.
The material itself is the biggest challenge - the material has been discarded due to flaws which means that in order to salvage the "good parts" of the towels/bedlinen, one needs to put quite a lot of man-hours into handling each piece of material. There is no quick fix here. Each new product that is made is a piece of handicraft, and manual labor is quite costly.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.
Stormie Poodle has created several work opportunities by placing its manufacturing at Dzivesprieks' sewing workshop - the proceeds go straight into the vocational school that provides an education and social rehabilitation to youths who have had very difficult upbringings. Today there is a huge influx of refugees all over Europe and many of these people are highly skilled in handicraft. I would like to organize sorting and sewing studios whereby new work opportunities are created. It would be a way of introducing newcomers to a new language and culture. Many persons coming from abroad have a rich history of handicraft skills - it would be a shame to not put that to use. Also, there will always be a need for skilled manual laborers and seamstresses.
Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?
Stormie Poodle sees several ways to go: liaising with a larger fashion company that wants to move in a more sustainable direction or partnering with someone who can help me market the products to reach a larger group of people. Ideally I would liase with the authorities that are responsible for migration and employment so that my vision of creating work opportunities could become real. Finding new young designers to wok with is the least difficult.
Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?
Today, Stormie Poodle is lacking funds to expand its business. The ideal situation would be to secure funding for some time so that I could put much more time and effort into Stormie Poodle. My day job is a necessity today to pay bills and take care of my 4 kids. The timing is right - we have surpassed 3 Planetary Boundaries - for this kind of social enterprise and I am actively seeking all kinds of partners/funding/stipends to realize my dream.
Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?
As far as I know, there are many companies working with up cycling/redesigning discarded clothes. They are all creating unique, one-off pieces. No other company is doing what Stormie Poodle is doing:using both discarded high quality textiles and using ethical production, making new products for children containing minimal chemical content. Stormie Poodle's concept implies making the same product over and over again thereby laying a better ground for stable finances. Since there are hotels all over the world, it literally would be possible to implement the concept all over the world.
The idea behind Stormie Poodle is that I saw a source of raw material that was wasted, I knew how many chemicals there are in newly made clothes for children and I did not want that for my kids - but since I am not a seamstress, I could not make one garment at a time - I needed to scale it up so that others could manufacture the same product over and over again. The innovation addresses the problems of a linear economy where waste is seen as something worthless - the environmental gains are huge: saving water, chemicals and energy.
Stormie Poodle consists of me Caroline von Post, a trained biologist that has worked with environmental matters for nearly 20 years. When needed, I have hired the expertise that I have lacked: a designer, a copywriter, a web designer, an auditor etc. I am a firm believer in doing what you are good at: my strengths include seeing the big picture and understanding the details, connecting people, coming up with ideas and executing them. I do have an informal group of advisors that I consult when needed: Claes von Post, retired investment banker who knows all there is to know about doing business, Gunilla von Arbin, former CEO of World Childhood Organisation in Sweden, Sasja Beslik, head of Sustainable Invenstments at Nordea, Beata Wickbom, self-employed social media and marketing expert, Kristina Högstedt, business developer at Telia Sonera.
Presently, I have a day job at Albaeco, an NGO in Stockholm that works with environmental communication. Stormie Poodle is my dream job and is what I do in my spare time as it is now. If I were to win, it would enable me to spend more time working with Stormie Poodle and developing my business further. I would also spend time finding somebody who is knowledgeable in retail and sales.
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]
Raw Materials, Manufacturing, Consumption.
Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]
Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]
Children, Consumers, Designers, Retailers - Mass-merchandise Chain, Other [please specify].
Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.
Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?
Consumers Aren't Motivated to Care: Neither Compelling Reasons Nor Easy Means to Change Consumption Habits, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.
Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?
Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line, Transform the Chain into a Web: Link Unlikely Sectors that Open New Pathways to Sustainability.
Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?
If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?
● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?
● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?
I collaborate with laundry companies, hotels, designers and fashion networks.