Innovation in Sustainable Supply Chain: LooptWorks
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Looptworks cofounders Scott Hamlin (left) and Gary Peck set out to build a company that would make products out of waste.
“It takes the design process and turns it upsidedown. We call it the Mr. Potato Head process,” Hamlin said.
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It creates some flexibility — a 12-week turnaround to bring a new product to market versus an industry average that’s closer to 52 weeks — but also raises challenges. Each product has a limited run, making it tough to work with some retailers that need to be able to stock large amounts of identical items.
It hasn’t been a problem for Jim Williams at the University of Oregon Bookstore manager.
UO started carrying Duck-emblazoned Looptworks T-shirts this year.
“The products sell through very well and the design is great,” Williams said. “We understand the limitation but the upcycling concept is powerful. It resonates well with our students.”
It also wasn’t a problem for Patagonia which this year started selling Looptworks items in its stores.
With just five employees, in addition to Hamlin and his cofounder Gary Peck — both industry veterans, Looptworks has evolved from a small online store to a growing brand — the company declines to share specific revenue figures — with more and more of its products showing up on store shelves.
Looptworks’ innovation around its supply chain doesn’t necessarily fit into the traditional definition of a sustainable supply chain which emphasizes transparency and traceability.
The material Looptworks is diverting from the landfill sometimes can’t back tracked back to its original source — a black mark in traditional supply chain sustainability rating systems.
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