Reign & Co.

Reign & Co.: A closed-loop lifestyle brand addressing waste and water consumption in fashion

Toronto, Canada
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Reign & Co. is building a new fashion future. Our sustainable design process includes materials that can be recycled or up-cycled into new designs at the end of their life. Through ongoing education of our customers, the ultimate goal is to achieve a circular system that keep products from landfills

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could close the loop on fashion design and production, keeping billions of products out of landfills each year and decrease water consumption in the process?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Consumers aren't aware of the impact their fashion buying habits have on the planet or their own lives because the industry has trained us to buy more. 80 billion pieces of clothing are purchased worldwide yearly- up 400% since the 90’s. And environmentally, fast fashion is drying up our water supply: 1 pair of jeans uses between 9,000-11,000L of water to produce. The UN predicts that by 2030, global demand for water will exceed supply by 40%.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Reign & Co. solution is focused on four areas 1) Closing the loop- beginning with design. All our products & their components are designed, manufactured, used & handled so as to circulate as long as possible. With our lease & buy business model, free return policy and tracking system, we can ensure product return to allow breakdown and new design. 2) Social Cause- Percent of everything sold will support our water charity partners that bring clean water to developing regions, eventually creating a charity. 3) Transparency- select LOCAL North American manufacturers that use less water to produce our products and uphold human rights within their factories. 4) Recycle/Re-use - use materials that can be recycled or up cycled at end of life.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Our initial products are bags – the ‘everyday’ and ‘tote’. Both bags, once enjoyed, can be returned to Reign & Co. to be taken apart without creating waste. The fabric will be returned to our supplier to be recycled, thereby keeping it out of landfill. The hardware on the bags has been carefully selected so as to biodegrade at the end of its life. If it is still in good shape, we will incorporate it into our next bag that is in the R&D stage. Lastly, we also have a ‘pre-loved’ sales option to re-sell bags to new customers seeking a vintage look. Every element of Reign & Co.’s closed-loop system focuses on eliminating contributions to landfill and reducing water consumption in manufacturing.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Reign & Co. has assessed the functionality of our designs and worked tirelessly to find aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly materials. This process is essential to the company's longevity and credibility. The future impact of this company is immense. Reign & Co. plans on creating a lasting relationship with our consumers through educational videos, social media campaigns and in-person events about the fashion industry, consumption and water related impacts. Our goal is to show how our current buying habits have depleted our natural resources AND provide a tangible solution to fast fashion. We don't have to compromise aesthetic and design to save the world. We believe in beautiful design and smart production. By making products that are designed with the end in mind, we prevent unnecessary waste and water usage from happening.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Reign & Co.’s 5-year goal is to be a successful e-commerce retailer with a line of bags for the millennial consumer. As the company expands product lines, we will hire local street kids/ unemployed youth as our product delivery and disassembly team, bringing jobs to the community and give them skills to get back on their feet. Through ongoing consumer education initiatives, our partnerships with water charities, school programs promoted by brand ambassadors, pop-up fashion events and water campaigns, Reign & Co. will advance the closed-loop system as a new fashion future for the 21st century.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our plan is to self-fund our business at the beginning with the help of friends and family. A formal Kickstarter campaign will launch in Spring 2016, testing the viability of our product/business with the market. Moving forward, we intend to find outside investment and support to keep the momentum going and scale across North America and ultimately the European market by 2018.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Reign & Co. is focused on creating a closed-loop production system, transparent supply chain, reducing material waste impact and supporting social initiatives concerning water. Competitors are addressing one or two of the above, but not all. For instance, Mud Jeans produces jeans using a closed-loop system. Patagonia, Everlane & Reformation have transparent supply chains. In particular, Reformation recently launched RefScale to track the lifecycle of clothes and measure their environmental impact. And Levi Strauss & Co., as well as Oliberte, accept old items to recycle into new products.
Team

Founding Story

Reign & Co. came to light after Andrea returned from a 7-month trip to Malawi in 2010, where she worked as a human rights media trainer. Arriving without suitcases, she went to the local market for replacement clothes. It was then that she fully understood the scope of our buying habits and how they impact global clothing waste: only 10-15% of clothing is sold in thrift stores; the rest flood markets in developing countries or landfills. There is a disconnect within the supply chain, all the way down to consumers. Reign & Co. big goal is to create beautiful products designed with the end in mind that are harmless to people and the planet.

Team

Andrea Lynett (Founder/CEO) | Andrea holds a Master’s in Journalism and has extensive experience working for Canadian and International media organizations. She’s worked in communications for the Canadian Olympic Foundation, CTV, CBC, as a producer for multiple award winning TV shows, and a media trainer for Journalists for Human Rights in Malawi, Africa. Andrea is passionate about human rights, in particular achieving the global goal of making sure everyone around the world has access to clean water and sanitation. She is excited by the closed-loop design system Reign & Co. is launching and is driven by the triple-bottom line. Anika Kozlowski (Chief Designer) | Anika is currently completing her PhD in Sustainable Fashion at Ryerson University. Her dissertation focuses on how the application of systems thinking to the fashion apparel design process can induce sustainable consumption behaviours through consumer engagement, sustainability-driven innovation and business models. She takes particular interest in how the urban running crew culture, social media, Big Data, DIY, smart materials, and hacktivism can influence emotionally durable design, brand and value creation. She ultimately believes these cultural developments, when considered during the design process, will lead to sustainable consumption, be economically viable and lead to a systemic transformation of the apparel/footwear industry.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

A friend

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder/CEO

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Clean Water and Sanitation, Responsible Consumption and Production.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I was selected as 1 of 10 young journalists to take part in the Canadian International Development Agency's program with Journalists for Human Rights to mentor and train local journalists in a developing country. It taught me about NGO structure, government relations and how to measure sustainability and impact at a grassroots level. I also spearheaded a blanket drive across my community while in high school, to keep the homeless around Toronto warm during the winter months; was a founder of Carleton University's Red Zone, an campus wide initiative designed to create a unified spirit on campus to support Varsity athletes; and acted as the Varsity representative on Carleton University Athletics Board for two years saving multiple teams from being eliminated from the budget. In 2015, I completed a product and business accelerator with MSH District at Brightlane in Toronto and am currently enrolled in a social business accelerator at the Centre For Social Innovation in Toronto to develop Reign & Co. further.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

I am currently working with advisors provided by MSH District selected to assist with various areas of my business that I have questions about. For instance, I had an advisor who is an experienced marketing professional to help work out a strategy. MSH also set up a pitch night, in which I was able to present Reign & Co. to a panel of successful entrepreneurs to gain constructive feedback and undergo a Q&A period infront of a live audience. This was valuable as it allowed me to see what they responded to and where I need to streamline my points about the business model behind Reign & Co. In conjunction with MSH, I am being mentored by the Dean of Social Innovation at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto, to ensure I properly form as a B Corp and align myself with the right people and contacts to create a successful triple bottom line company. Additionally, I am working with a business consultant from The Richard Ivey Business School at Western University who understands how to bring a new product to market, has strategic expertise in business development and experience in raising capital. Lastly, I am in the beginning stages of talking with our water charities about future partnerships and how we can benefit each other's growth strategies.