Reborn Clothing Company of Raleigh, NC was created in November of 2017 as a way to reduce textile waste.
Reborn Clothing Company transforms your garments into recycled clothing or products. The company also sells products created from recycled clothing from companies and individuals.
Reborn’s motto, “Your clothing has a story, and it is far from over” speaks to the wonderful things they are doing to reduce textile waste and create lasting memories for their customers.
1. What can you tell the AWEdience about how it feels to start a new enterprise while still enrolled at school?
Some weeks can be really tough. As a college student, I want to do well in my classes and not jeopardize my future. However, I wish I could be fully focused on growing Reborn. With a startup, nothing is for certain and as the founder, I am the last to be paid. Our team is growing- with employees, sales, our very own physical space ( that comes with rent and electric bills) all while taking classes five days a week. I believe NC State makes it easier than most schools might be by supporting and encouraging entrepreneurship. Yet at the end of the day, I have an overwhelming amount of work to do for a twenty-year-old. Some days the amount of work affects me more than other days.
2. What is the hardest struggle you have dealt with and how did you get through it?
Near the end of last spring semester, I was afraid I was going to have to close Reborn. It was a difficult semester for me with 18 credit hours. Some weekends, I resorted to picking up shifts at Brewery Bhavana just to pay employees. Back in January, Steve Mangano, the founder of Cureat and a serial entrepreneur (and the man who would eventually become the first investor in Reborn and a dear friend of mine) told me to meet with him when I was ready to raise money for Reborn. At that time, I can honestly say, I had no idea what meeting with him entailed. This was way out of my comfort zone. I had started Reborn merely as an extracurricular activity! Within a few months, my employees were working out of their houses on home sewing machines, while I was driving around like a crazy woman fulfilling orders. My apartment had become awash with clothing and product development. I was truly at my wit’s end and considering closing the company. At that time, I was working at the front desk at Loading Dock Raleigh. Steve and I met for hours to evaluate the company and to develop a strategy for raising capital. That summer was spent pitching Reborn to potential investors. By the end of the summer, Reborn had seven investors and a legitimate company.
3. What has been the thing that has kept you going?
In the beginning, I’m honestly not sure what kept me going. It would have been so much easier to say that it was all just too much to handle. Had I known how difficult it was to keep a company running, I may not have even started one. Yet, my naivety allowed me to jump in before I was ready. Then my desire to be successful and to make a greater impact encouraged me to continue. At this time what keeps me going is seeing Reborn’s ability to sustain several people’s livelihood; create incredible experiences for young people looking to make an impact, and to reduce our waste as a sustainable company. Thanks to my experiences with Reborn, I have many memories and have learned so many lessons. It really comes down to our capacity to create value for people in our products and policies, That goes for our clients and our internal team members, who are invaluable to our success. Oh, and we always have candy in our office!
4. What’s next for Reborn?
What isn’t? Seriously, we have so much on the horizon and it only continues to grow. There are so many collaborations in the making that I cannot disclose at this time. Look out for some exciting announcements about our ability to reduce waste for some big named companies in the fashion industry. Since receiving licensing for NC State, we are also talking to more universities, both in-state and out-of-state about how we can transform their surplus branded apparel and promotional banners. That is so exciting! We also will be launching a brand new redesigned website in a couple of weeks with USPS integration to make consumer up-cycling easier than ever before.
5. What advice would you give to another student about starting a company?
Don’t start a company simply to start one. I will provide a word of caution that all the taxes, paperwork, and financial management will come as a real headache unless it is an idea that makes you excited, even hopeful, to be doing paperwork on a Friday night with take-out Chinese. Running a company is different from your typical project that has an end-date. There is no end-date (At least I hope not!) If you do decide to start something, don’t ever let the failures of one day derail your motivation. It truly is a marathon, not a sprint. Because of that, I simply measure success by me and my team’s ability to push forward in the face of adversity.
A lot of people have asked me how I’ve managed to get Reborn to where it is today. The reason for that is because I ignored the many, many people who were telling me it wasn’t scalable or that I should wait until after college. I listened to the people on my team who have risked a lot to stay in positions at Reborn, my inner gut, and every woman in power I’ve seen who never let anyone tell her what was possible. Now, important people believe in Reborn and want to see it be successful – and that’s an awesome turning point for me as a founder.
So, my final advice to all the eager but worried entrepreneurs out there is to see your good ideas through- even if at first, your beliefs are in the minority.