Wrapping cloth

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Wrapping cloth

Sydney, AustraliaSydney, Australia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Why not start a trend with your family and friends by wrapping their gifts with fabric? The reclaimed fabric is conveniently printed with four wrapping techniques, so you'll always wrap like a professional. Wrapping cloth is a fun and attractive way to wrap your gifts over and over again.

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

What if waste fabric could reduce demand for paper products and provide an income to those who need it?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Fabric waste and indeed all waste is a symptom of undesirable overconsumption. Convenient products encourage a throw away lifestyle and exist to maximise profits. This means some products become obsolete after only a single use and people constantly seek replacements. Paper gift wrap may only be used once as it is not durable enough to be used over and over again. Durable items designed for reuse are not readily available.

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

The solution is found in the ancient Japanese art of wrapping with fabric. Reclaimed fabric is printed with four wrapping techniques that can be used to wrap gifts and a plethora of other objects. Fabric is durable and not easily tarnished. It can be reused often and the wrapping techniques remain on the fabric which ensures it is always convenient and easy to use. By using reclaimed fabric, there is no increased demand on the textile industry and by creating an aesthetically pleasing product from waste, it encourages people to value precious resources in a new way. The folding techniques printed on the fabric encourage people to learn, share and apply new skills.
Impact: How does it Work

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

Imagine if everyone everywhere wrapped their gifts with reclaimed fabric? So instead of buying new paper or reaching for a plastic bag you could simply use a neatly stored piece of fabric, tie a bow and be on your way. Creating the wraps is not onerous and anyone could learn the necessary sewing skills. What if people who needed the income the most had access to waste fabric and the tools and skills to create the wraps. They could then derive an income from the product. How would that income change their families and their communities? It all comes back to starting the trend and that is part of what this project aims to do. Diverting waste from landfill and creating a social enterprise are at the very core of the project.

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

To date we have excited our family and friends with the idea. We have prevented approximately 25 kilograms of fabric from going to landfill. We have created the wrapping cloth trend amongst 30 of our family and friends and have had exposure to approximately 400 people at a local market. We aim to sell 75 wraps by the end of 2013 which is an additional 7.5 kilos of waste diverted from landfill. Before Christmas we will attend 2 community organised events to teach approximately 20 people how to wrap with cloth. With online exposure and a sustained social media campaign we anticipate that within the year we will sell enough wraps to divert 390 kilograms of fabric waste from landfill. Wrapping cloth will have wrapped 3900 gifts or objects. In two years we will have at least one full time employee.

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

Wrapping cloth will be sold online and at local markets to generate income. The project is currently self funded however it is anticipated that as demand for the product grows so too will the capital investment in the project. As the capital increases, additional people will be employed and taught the skills necessary to create the wraps and meet the demand. The fabric is sourced from a variety of locations and through generous donations.

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

There are a plethora of people around the globe practising the art of Furoshiki. Generally the techniques for folding the fabric are passed down through the generations and in more recent times they have been plastered across the internet. Wrapping cloth is unique because is uses reclaimed rather than new fabric and the folding techniques are applied onto the fabric. This means that the technique is shared as the wraps are passed between people. It relies on an ancient technique for wrapping fabric and yet makes it convenient enough for people for use in the modern world.

Founding Story

I was reading an online news article in April 2013 where the Government of Japan was pleading with its citizens to adopt the ancient technique of wrapping with cloth. The Governments intent was to see the ancient skill passed on to the younger generations, promote reuse and reduce the demand for natural resources in that country. I thought it was a great idea. I started to question why fabric wrapping was not the norm. I soon realised that plenty of people were wrapping with cloth however it was not convenient nor readily enough available to compete with paper. My co founder and I trialled wrapping cloth with family and friends and soon realised the environmental and social benefits. We have since held a market stall and will sell online.