Sustainable clothing startup For Days raises $2.8M for its closed-loop manufacturing process

For Days, a clothing startup that wants to reduce the enormous amount of textile waste created annually, announced today that it has raised $2.8 million in  seed funding. The round led by Rosecliff Ventures joined by Collaborative Fund, with participation from Congruent Ventures, Third Prime Capital, Closed Loop Ventures, Bleu Capital, Gramercy Fund, and Ride […]

For Days, a clothing startup that wants to reduce the enormous amount of textile waste created annually, announced today that it has raised $2.8 million in  seed funding. The round led by Rosecliff Ventures joined by Collaborative Fund, with participation from Congruent Ventures, Third Prime Capital, Closed Loop Ventures, Bleu Capital, Gramercy Fund, and Ride Ventures. For Days’ makes its clothing with a closed-loop manufacturing and recycling process enabled by a T-shirt membership programs that lets customers mail back worn shirts for recycling in exchange for new ones.

While there is a growing roster of brands focused on quality sustainable clothing, including Everlane and Alternative Apparel (and a growing community of DIYers who want to reduce their environmental and social impact by making their own clothes), a lot of wardrobe basics, like T-shirts, socks, and underwear, need to be replaced more frequently than jackets, sweaters, or jeans.

CEO Kristy Caylor, who co-founded For Days with Mary Saunders, worked at Gap and Band of Outsiders before helping launch sustainable clothing brand Maiyet. One of the reasons For Days decided to start with T-shirts (it plans to launch more product categories early next year) is “because they are one of the most historically iconic items of clothing and span generation, gender, and culture,” Caylor told TechCrunch in an email. “But ultimately, For Days is a platform for circular consumption. We will expand as far as we can innovate on materials, manufacturing and up-cycling and welcome partnerships and collaboration as we grow.”

Sustainable clothing brands like For Days are trying to solve a serious problem. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 15 million tons of textile waste is generated annually in the United States and each year Americans on average throw away about 80 pounds of used clothing per person.

Even if they are diligent about donating their clothes, most of it ends up in the landfill anyway. In 2015, the EPA reported that of the 16 million tons of textile waste generated that year, only 2.45 million tons were recycled, while 10.53 million tons were thrown away. One reason recycling is not more widespread may be because the process of turning old material into new, usable textiles is still complicated, especially for blended fabrics like cotton/polyester.

To keep more items from ending up in landfills, For Days created a manufacturing and recycling program that gives it control over almost every part of an item’s lifespan. Its T-shirts are made in its Los Angeles factory from USA-grown organic cotton and sold to customers through an annual membership program that costs $38 for one T-shirt, $108 for three, $210 for six, and $340 for 10.

All levels include free shipping and unlimited “refreshes” for $8 per T-shirt, which means customers can send back their used For Days clothing in a prepaid mailer in exchange for any item on its site. The company says the average lifespan of one of its T-shirts depends on the style, but its members have been exchanging items every three to six months.

For Days recycles the used shirts by breaking them down into pulp, which is then blended with fresh organic fiber, and spun into yarn that the company says has a 70/30 blend of new and recycled fibers. That yarn is then used to make new For Days clothing.

The company launched its membership program in May 2018 to a waitlist before opening to the public in September. While For Days isn’t disclosing specific user numbers yet, Caylor says its been growing by double digits monthly. For Days claims it has moved 1,500 pounds of clothing through its closed-loop system, keeping them away from landfills, and saved more than 235,000 gallons of water and 2,400 pounds of CO2 by making their shirts out of 100 percent GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)-certified organic cotton.

In a press statement, Collaborative Fund managing director Taylor Greene said “Collaborative Fund began with a thesis that a sharing economy would emerge to monetize underutilized assets and ensure more efficient and sustainable consumption of resources. So far, most companies have sought to either innovate on the materials or the business model, but few have successfully combined the two. Now, more than ever, we need businesses like For Days to exist and we couldn’t be more excited to join Kristy, Mary and their team on this journey.”

In 2019, For Days has plans to design its own factory in Hawthorne, Ca and launch a zero-waste manufacturing initiative that will be built around renewable energy and water reclamation programs and biomimicry, a process that uses technology to imitate systems and materials found in nature and is being used by researchers to create more sustainable textiles and dyes.

Bonobos and Nike get their own branded shops on Walmart’s Jet.com

Last year, Walmart acquired menswear site Bonobos for $310 million in cash. Now the retailer is adding the brand to a Walmart-owned website. A few days ago, Walmart opened an online shop for Bonobos on its Jet.com website, newly focused on serving urban shoppers, along with a dedicated shop for Nike apparel, footwear and accessories. […]

Last year, Walmart acquired menswear site Bonobos for $310 million in cash. Now the retailer is adding the brand to a Walmart-owned website. A few days ago, Walmart opened an online shop for Bonobos on its Jet.com website, newly focused on serving urban shoppers, along with a dedicated shop for Nike apparel, footwear and accessories.

The Nike shop is a part of the company’s strategic partnership with the brand, announced in September, and provides Nike with its own fully branded experience on the site. In addition to the Nike items for running, training and sportswear, Jet will become an authorized seller of select Nike and Converse products as a result of the deal.

Meanwhile, the Bonobos shop features fall apparel and other classics, including things like stretch-washed chinos, brushed button-downs, bomber jackets and Italian topcoats, the company says. These, too, will live in their own full-branded experience on Jet.com, and be available for two-day delivery across the U.S., with free returns.

This is the first time, post-acquisition, that Bonobos has been offered on a Walmart-owned third-party website, the company told TechCrunch.

Walmart has been busy establishing itself as a home to brands with their own dedicated followings, and often a millennial customer base. In October, it bought women’s plus-size clothing brand ELOQUII, in a $100 million deal.

The brand joined many others now under Walmart’s roof, including ModCloth, Moosejaw, ShoeBuy and Hayneedle, in addition to Bonobos.

Walmart, so far, had simply allowed the brands to continue to operate their own sites — but that changed in August when Moosejaw became the first of the acquisitions to open a digital storefront on Walmart.com. In that case, the new shop featured a curated selection of the brand’s outdoor gear — best sellers that appealed to Walmart’s mainstream customers.

The retailer is now doing the same with Bonobos.

The Jet.com storefront doesn’t include everything the brands sell, but rather a “curated assortment.”

For example, the Bonobos Jet.com store has just five jackets for sale today — but the Bonobos website features dozens in its Outerwear section. In addition to an expanded range of apparel, the brand’s own site offers accessories like ties, socks, belts, shoes, wallets and more.

Walmart brought Bonobos to Jet.com instead of Walmart.com because of the overlap in customer demographics — Jet.com is meant to appeal more to the young, urban shopper.

It relaunched its site in September with localized versions for various U.S. cities, and same-day grocery delivery, starting in New York. It also just added Blue Apron’s meal kits to its site — making Jet.com the company’s first e-tailer partner.

In addition to Jet.com’s focus on urban customers, fashion itself has become a key battleground between Walmart and Amazon, with each courting brands for partnerships and acquisitions.

In recent months, Walmart.com has become home to fashion brands’ own storefronts, having added Lord & Taylor to its site, for example. Amazon, meanwhile, has established partnerships of its own, including the recent addition of J.Crew, along with others like Chico’s FAS, Calvin Klein and Nike. However, its Stitch Fix try-before-you-buy service, Prime Wardrobe, focuses on its own in-house labels, which Amazon is rolling out at scale.

“Customers value trust more than ever and it’s important for retailers to have a clear point of view on what they stand for and who they choose to partner with. As we continue implementing our new strategy focused on the city consumer, we’re delighted to welcome Nike and Bonobos to Jet.com,” said Simon Belsham, president, Jet.com, in a statement. “Like Jet, both brands understand the importance of providing a great experience that customers can trust. Having a direct relationship with them both means we can offer a fully branded experience and a unique assortment of the brands’ leading pieces, which is important as we head into the holiday season,” he added.

Walmart to acquire women’s plus-size clothing brand ELOQUII

Walmart is expanding further into apparel with today’s announcement of its plans to acquire the digitally native, women’s plus-size clothing brand ELOQUII for an undisclosed amount. The all-cash deal includes ELOQUII CEO Mariah Chase, her executive team and its 100 employees, who will continue to be based in Long Island City, NY and Columbus, OH. […]

Walmart is expanding further into apparel with today’s announcement of its plans to acquire the digitally native, women’s plus-size clothing brand ELOQUII for an undisclosed amount. The all-cash deal includes ELOQUII CEO Mariah Chase, her executive team and its 100 employees, who will continue to be based in Long Island City, NY and Columbus, OH. They’ll join Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce organization, reporting to Andy Dunn, SVP of Digital Consumer Brands, Walmart U.S. eCommerce, when the deal closes later this year.

Walmart won’t disclose the deal size, but says it’s larger than its ModCloth acquisition ($75M) but smaller than Bonobos ($310M). That’s in line with Recode’s report claiming the deal is $100 million.

Women’s plus-size fashion is of interest to Walmart because it’s one of the fastest-growing segments of women’s apparel, and an estimated $21 billion market, the retailer explains. More than half of U.S. women ages 18-65 now wear a size 14 or higher, but traditional fashion brands often overlook their needs by limiting clothing options, or failing to address fit.

ELOQUII was founded in 2011 and then relaunched in 2014 as a direct-to-consumer brand catering to this market. Since 2015, the company has seen 3x revenue growth and has achieved a Net Promoter score of near 80.

Beyond simply having the means to address this market with more inventory, ELOQUII is another means for the retailer to reach a segment of online consumers who perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise considered shopping Walmart. This is a similar strategy Walmart made when snatching up other fashion brands, including Bonobos and ModCloth, for example. In fact, Bonobos and ModCloth shoppers were so anti-Walmart in some cases, there was a backlash following their acquisitions.

ELOQUII has grown its online profile thanks to savvy internet marketing and high-profile relationships, like the one with Reese Witherspoon, who partnered on a plus-size collection from her clothing line Draper James. The retailer also tapped other brands like Stone Fox Bridal and Jason Wu – the latter designer who’s a fav of celebs like Karlie Kloss, Diane Kruger, and Lily Aldridge.

It has also listened to and promptly responded to customer feedback as it grew.

“Addressing customers’ vocal requests for fashion-forward styles is something ELOQUII does incredibly well,” notes Dunn, in a blog post about the deal. “For example, they recently uncovered 80% of ELOQUII customers work full-time, and one of the most frequent requests from customers was for fashionable work wear. Embracing the feedback, ELOQUII launched The 9-5 Kit and most recently The Premier Workwear Kit, filling an unmet need in the category and further reinforcing trust with customers in the process,” he says.

Walmart has picked up a number of brands to help it expand its reach and inventory in recent years, including Moosejaw ($51M), ShoeBuy, Jet.com ($3B), Hayneedle, in addition to Bonobos and ModCloth. Most continue to offer their own online stores, though Moosejaw just became the first acquisition to open its own storefront right on Walmart’s site. It also introduced its own Allswell home and bedding digital brand.

The retailer says the ELOQUII deal is expected to close later this quarter. The brand has raised $21 million to date, according to Crunchbase data, from investors including Acton Capital Partners, Greycroft, Grace Beauty Capital, Female Founders Fund, Fabrice Grinda, FJ Labs, Max Ventures, and HDS Capital. However, ELOQUII has actually raised more than that – $42 million, according to Recode.