The Renewal Workshop, a provider of circular solutions for apparel and textile brands, announced a $5.5 million series A financing round and expansion into Europe. The round is led by European venture capital and impact investors Social Impact Ventures, SHIFT Invest and Quadia with participation from existing U.S. investors Closed Loop Ventures, Gratitude Railroad, Portland Seed Fund and High Meadows Investment Group.
The Renewal Workshop provides brands solution that not only manage the collection, renewal and quality of a brand’s damaged or used garments, but also the backend of the brand’s own recommerce site. This allows brands to engage directly with customers in their own branded second-sale channel.
The Renewal Workshop operates a zero-waste circular system that recovers the full value out of what has already been produced, said the company. Brand partners receive impact data on the amount of water, carbon, and chemicals that are saved through their partnership. To date, more than 200,000 pounds of apparel have been diverted from waste in this system.
“The Renewal Workshop has proven their circular model for renewal and recommerce 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,” says Eske Scavenius, senior investment manager of Social Impact Ventures.
Co-founders Nicole Bassett and Jeff Denby have been on the forefront of brand-driven recommerce in the U.S., where they built the first renewal facility in 2016. Strong demand for their service in Europe meant that it was time to expand. “Over the past three years, The Renewal Workshop has helped some of the biggest brands in apparel launch renewed collections,” Bassett said. “We exist to serve brands as they transition to fully circular, zero-waste businesses, and our partnership with our existing and new values-aligned impact investors is perfectly timed to scale our operations for that mission.”
With the investment, The Renewal Workshop opened the first European renewal facility in Amsterdam, offering their entire suite of services to European apparel brands, from circular business model strategy to garment and textile renewal services and recommerce management.
“Production is already underway at our Amsterdam facility, and we are thrilled to serve a strong pipeline of European brands eager to transition to circular business models,” said Denby, who will lead European operations and be based in Amsterdam. Additionally, Tamara Zwart, former European director of fashion+ for the Cradle-to-Cradle Institute, will serve as operations lead for Europe.
With Bassett leading US operations, the company continues to expand in Cascade Locks, Oregon, to serve its US-based brand partners such as The North Face, Mara Hoffman, Prana, and Coyuchi.
As investor Florentine Fockema Andreae, Partner at SHIFT Invest, summed it up, “Today, over 70% of all clothes produced are landfilled or incinerated after use. If we want to contribute to a more circular and regenerative textile sector, we need to not only close the loop but also extend the average number of times a garment is worn. The Renewal Workshop brings an inclusive, efficient solution to help large fashion brands achieve this goal.”