Friday, December 9, 2022

‘Shark Tank’ Investor Daymond John Takes a Big Bite Into Compostable Clothing

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The world’s first verified compostable clothing brand, Kent, scored a $200,000 investment on the live Shark Tank season premiere.

A sign that investors are keen to support sustainable fashion was illustrated on the recent live season premiere of Shark Tank, when investor Daymond John, CEO and founder of FUBU, offered a $200,000 investment for a 15 percent stake in compostable clothing company, Kent.

The company, run by husband and wife team Jeff and Stacy Grace, is LA Compost verified. This means its line of underwear, tees, and tote bags will break down within 90 days of being put into a functioning compost system.

Kent received four offers before deciding on John’s. The company was originally seeking $200,000 for a five percent stake. Barbara Corcoran offered a $200,000 investment for 20 percent. Robert Herjavec offered $200,000 for 15 percent equity, and Lori Greiner and Daymond John followed with the same offer. The Kent founders say they chose John for his experience in the fashion industry.

Shark Tank Investors
Shark Tank Investors (left to right: Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec)

“When Daymond jumped back in with a deal, we were ecstatic. He’s an industry icon and has had so much success growing mission-driven companies like ours,” Jeff said in a statement.

The line builds on a growing trend in fashion: biodegradable and compostable materials. Stacy brought her experience working with fashion brands including TOMS, Wrangler, and Timberland. She’s also a Tory Burch fellow and won the Canadian Arts and Fashion Sustainability Award.

After feeling like she had outgrown the lacy, frilly underwear of her you, Stacy found herself in a bind. There was also the recommendation from most gynecologists: cotton underwear helps prevent infections. But the options are generally hard to find.

“I saw an opportunity to rethink how undergarments are made when I realized all of my underwear were made of synthetic materials,” said Stacy.

“That’s when the idea of KENT was born—a line of thoughtfully designed 100 percent organic, vegan, and compostable underwear,” she said.

Stacy, who grew up in Canada, also started to think about her backyard gardening experience and composting. Months of research, including talking with more than 1,000 women about their underwear, helped bring the prototypes to life.

Kent makes sustainable, compostable underwear
Kent makes sustainable, compostable underwear | Courtesy

“I see composting as a natural recycling process. With cities like New York and LA rolling out curbside composting this year, we see composting becoming mainstream in America as a natural solution to landfill waste, for fashion and beyond.”

Kent is using a proprietary blend of materials including GOTS-certified organic pima cotton, in its line. There is no nylon, polyester, or petrochemical materials in the products. The company says its compostable line is a “Plant Your Plants” methodology.

By producing fully compostable garments, Kent says it’s tackling two major fashion industry problems: waste and plastic. Eighty-five percent of textiles are made with plastic fibers every year. And many of them wind up in landfills as part of the fast-fashion churn. Under apparel alone produces 11 million pounds of landfill and incinerator waste daily in the U.S.

Compostable garments are on the rise as the fashion industry aims for circularity. New York fashion label Gomorrah recently launched a fully compostable range. Earlier this year Blueview launched biodegradable sneakers made from algae, cotton, hemp, jute, and Tencel. Danish luxury label Ganni, which just earned its B Corp status for its sustainability commitments, is also exploring biodegradable materials. It recently added a tracksuit made in part from banana agricultural waste.

Kent offers a line of men’s and women’s briefs, tees, and reusable totes.

Learn more on the Kent website.  

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