Startup Spotlight: Squirrelz reduces fashion waste & makes manufacturing more efficient

Talking about energy efficiency: We all know that it is not only about power and renewables. We need to rethink the way we live – this includes products and the way they are produced plus how things are used/reused/recycled/upcycled.
Squirrelz, who started in China and expanded to the US now, has developed a solution for exactly this! Building a platform where brands are able as well to find AND also to get rid of reusable materials. Bunny Yan, CEO and Founder told us more about it:

Describe your product and its history! What is your unique value proposition and your business model?

The manufacturing industry is wasteful, and it costs manufacturers money to store, ship out or destroy excess or defective. A large percentage of these materials are reusable for other designers, brands or industries to utilize. Squirrelz creates a pipeline for these materials, giving brands a less costly alternative for their ‘waste’ material and creators access to low-cost materials to use in production. This enhanced material loop will disrupt industries and fashion in general for the better.

What is your vision in regards to the future of the energy economy? And how does your product contribute to this future?

Our impact on the energy economy is focused on creating a new circular model for materials. We’ve designed a pipeline to channel these reusable resources into the hands of those who can share and benefit from them. In many different industries such efficiency models exist, but there’s nothing of the sort for designers and makers. We’re preventing leftover material from manufacturers from ending up on a landfill, which will save tremendous energy on down-cycling, material logistics, waste disposal and encourages a more eco-friendly industry.

What are, in your opinion, the key challenges of the energy transition in general, and what are they specifically for your startup?

The key challenge is to disrupt and question the status quo, proving that there’s always a better way that doesn’t have to cost more money in the long run. You have to be the first innovator with enough trust in their idea to see things through and change industries. With our pipeline we’re doing just that, inventing a new way of looking at the manufacturing process and helping both individuals and brands save money while doing an environmental good.   

Where are you based, and who are the key innovation drivers in the energy ecosystem in your region?

We’re currently developing our initial community base in New York, a city with many sustainable business, grass roots companies and creatives who already see the value in a more efficient (and sustainable) material loop. Smaller businesses are already taking advantage of reusable fabrics, recycled off-cuts and trimmings from previous productions. These businesses understand that promoting sustainability isn’t a charitable act, but a lucrative one that can be a great business model with a potentially huge market. We are the pipeline for all these sustainable businesses to gain access to the materials they need from manufacturers, and a pipeline for manufacturers to these creatives.

Apparel and fashion manufacturers have no efficient way to get rid of their excess ‘waste’ material, they instead choose to store them indefinitely or have the material destroyed. 80% of those materials are new or perfectly reusable. Meanwhile, designers have trouble purchasing low material quantities for affordable prices. The ‘Squirrelz’ app for iOS allows designers to get their hands on unwanted excess materials and gives manufacturers/brands a way to cut costs.

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