Since the day I knew that the pet barrier wasn’t going to meet the crowdfunding goal, I have been trying to coming up with another product line that didn’t require the heavy upfront capital costs of a steel mould. It’s not that I’ve given up on the “Stray No More” line. It’s just that I desperately feel the need to get some runs on the board with less investment.
As I recalled many conversations both on my podcast and in other places, it seemed like I should look at textiles – specifically recycled polyester from PET water bottles.
The product? I won’t give away too much yet, but let’s just say that I’ll give Sara Blakley, the founder of Spanx credit for this idea if successful.
How to find a recycled polyester manufacturer?
Trying to identify a manufacturer to get the sample material hasn’t been that easy. There are no companies in Australia that make this material, but at least it would still be made from recycled bottles if I can find a certified version elsewhere.
I found a list of potential manufacturers from Bluesign – a global certification company for textiles, but there were hundreds of companies on there. Where to start? I asked a contact in Paris for advice. She has a business where she provides coaching to would be fashion designers that are clueless about running an actual business.
She suggested that I consider some of the Taiwanese companies due to all of the dramas in China and Hong Kong right now. I do remember Stephanie Stubbe from Anipal saying in the podcast interview that the Taiwanese English was also typically better than in China too. Their websites provided proof of this.
So, earlier in this week, I started leaving messages with any company that appeared to carry a line of recycled materials on their website. My screening question was: do you have a washable, breathable, waterproof recycled polyester material.
I went through 73 websites and contacted 13 companies in Taiwan, S. Korea and the US. Three of these companies responded (all from Taiwan) – two said yes, one said no. Those two companies asked me to send them more specific requirements. Crickets sang in my ears. I had no idea what else I needed, and still don’t.
As I did more research, I stumbled upon a company in Taiwan that also showed a Melbourne office number. Fortunately, a guy named Michael answered, and it turns out that he’s an agent for a bunch of material manufacturers in Asia. He was a wealth of knowledge as a former manufacturer itself, and if all goes well I could have some samples shortly to test my newest product line idea.
They say that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. I’m cautiously optimistic, but hopefully I found my teacher for recycled polyester and textile manufacturing in general! Time will soon tell.