Startup Stories: Redeeming Waste. Transforming Lives.

Startup Stories: Redeeming Waste.  Transforming Lives.

Tell us about your product or service.
Transformation Textiles (TT) revolutionizes access to education for girls and women, opening doors to a future where their lives, public policies and culture are shaped with their contribution. It propels countries where education for women is not basic right into the twenty-first century and challenges the textile industry to take an active part in redirecting their waste and changing the face of a nation. Educating girls adolescents can contribute to reducing risks and expanding opportunities for girls, putting them on a solid path for the future.

What inspired you to launch your business?
When te founder and visionary of Transformation Textiles Rachel Starkey’s dream was born when she discovered bags and bags of polar fleece waste (“off-cuts”) sitting outside a factory, wet from the rain, turning mildewy and ready for disposal. Next it would be processed into plastic palettes.

She decided that this waste would not happen again during their watch and chose to use the off-cuts from their next project, house coats, to make blankets for 4000 refugees.

Operation Warmth – through Cotton Tales Transformation Textiles was able to make 3500+ refugee blankets. They were made from one-half yard scraps of donated salvage and sewn together to make patchwork fleece blankets.

The Cotton Tales staff donated their day off to sew the blankets, helping to minimize the costs. Cotton Tales partnered with the IOM (International Organization for Migration) to distribute these blankets where most needed by Refugees in Egypt as well as along the Libyan Border.

It wasn’t long before Rachel came up with the idea of using the factory’s fabric off-cuts to make create menstrual supplies for women and girls in developing nations to support their education. The beginning of Transformation Textiles (TT). TT is an ingenious way to do two things at the same time: make thousands of pads and panties while reducing waste.

What problem does your business or organization solve?
TT’s low cost underwear are produced with the same efficiency and cost effectiveness as the primary garments — through reducing the ‘carbon footprint’ of textile waste and then transforming it into a “high social impact resource” for education, empowerment and employment of women.

The unique ‘tie-on’ design of the underwear make them one size fits all, eliminating the need for complicated sizing issues. Without elastic, the underwear have increased durability over their existing counterparts.

Depending upon need and context of the end-user, reusable pads are made alongside the underwear.

TT’s project has demonstrated its potential to transforms lives, with over seven projects in various stages of progress in four countries. With each project hope and opportunities for girls are introduced into the community while working within the current infrastructure for education. Each of which have the infrastructure to distribute, offer health and sexual education and menstrual hygiene teaching. In some cases an opportunity to employ women as sellers of this low cost menstrual solution.

Sustainability is achieved due to the unending supply of textile waste and a constant need for menstrual supplies. Garment manufactures handle less waste as a result and enhance their corporate responsibility status as a “greener” plant.

Scalability and social impact grow exponential as these low-cost, long-term menstrual solutions are priced so that for local reseller margins can be added and the product remains affordable. Selling locally creates further employment opportunities through a sales network. A girl’s economic prosperity benefits her, her family, her country and the global economy.

TT uses a market driven solution that can be replicated in other countries rather than a social program dependent upon donations.

The vision, including continuing to make kits, is to replicating the entire TT process in developing countries that have a strong textile industry and where the need for menstrual products is great

What has been your biggest challenge and how are you working to overcome it?
TT is a project of Golden Threads (GT). GT is a small, yet dedicated and enthusiastic humanitarian volunteer organization. The projects encompass activities to bring dignity, restore hope and break the cycle of poverty.

The founder and visionary of the TT project, Rachel Starkey, brings her health education and garment industry backgrounds to the table. Rachel is our speaker extraordinary who capture audiences with her stories and passion.

Susan Tam’s strengths in project management, administration and research form the backbone to our daily operations as the Director.

Our part-time volunteers bring a wealth of history in the venues of communication, fund raising, media relations and business development. As projects continue to grow TT requires help with oversight, project management and administration as well as creative individuals to work in marketing, branding and sales. We are always looking for volunteers to help.

Give us one word that people might use to describe you.

How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
We really appreciate working with and being challenged by others that think outside the box and want to make an impact in the world around them.

Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry.
To combat a predestined outcome women must have the opportunity to have an education and make their own choices.

Company: Golden Threads


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