Giving clothing a second life
The Renewal Workshop, an American startup based in Oregon, successfully raised $5.5 million through a Series A funding round and has opened a new base in Amsterdam. The money will be used to continue the company’s European expansion.
By collecting, cleaning, sorting, repairing and repackaging non-sellable merchandise before offering it directly to consumers at a discounted price, The Renewal Workshop helps brands become more circular. The Amsterdam facility will serve as a centre for preparing clothing for sale, with employees doing everything from replacing zippers to stitching up holes.
Additionally, the company works with brands like H&M and The North Face to analyse their operations and help them adopt environmentally-friendly and circular practices.
A circular model for renewal and re-commerce
The financing round was led by impact and European venture capital investors, including SHIFT Invest and Social Impact Ventures, which are based in the Netherlands. The Renewal Workshop also received backing from current US-based investors, including Closed Loop Ventures, Gratitude Railroad and the Portland Seed Fund.
In a statement to the press, Eske Scavenius, senior investment manager of Social Impact Ventures, said that, "The Renewal Workshop has proven their circular model for renewal and re-commerce can not only drive sales and customer engagement for brands, but also have significant environmental impact. As investors, we were drawn to this strong alignment between commerce and impact and are excited to see The Renewal Workshop scale up."
The benefits of being in Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s location was a major factor in selecting the city for the renewal centre. The Dutch capital offers excellent connectivity by road, air and rail to cities across Europe and has the continent’s highest level of broadband penetration. The local startup ecosystem is also a helpful source of support for new arrivals and includes various organisations and companies focused on sustainable style, including the Plug and Play – Fashion for Good accelerator and The Next Closet, an online platform for selling second-hand clothing.