The leftover yarn (which we lovingly refer to as waste) is considered deadstock because it is inventory that has no movement. This means that no one actively wants it. For the factories that have deadstock, finding someone to use it is actually really difficult since the available amount is limited and matching it to the right person is a lot of work. Inventory also fluctuates and often people interested only have a code on a list and aren’t able to actually see the yarn color.
We call this the warehouse abyss.
We also run Green Design Link, a company that produces high end knitwear for very reputable brands. We are experts in high end materials and have strong relationships with the best yarn suppliers and factories in Peru. Materials are thoroughly checked by our quality control team and any observations also called out by our master knitters.
Yarn can remain in good quality for a lifetime - just think about your favorite sweaters! The yarn we source is made from the very best mills and stored in prime conditions. When not stored properly, yarn can potentially get damaged by moths, or mold if affected by water or excess humidity. But this is not the case for the yarns we use.
This yarn is usually not stored anymore and simply gets donated or trashed. Some of our knitters use this for pillow stuffing.
Once we rescue high quality yarn from the warehouse abyss, we produce our designs with our partner organization Green Design Link, who works with expert artisans in Peru to knit the sweaters on manual knitting machines. These are not electric and do not use energy, they are looms that help place the yarns, still requiring hands to do the knitting. We work with passionate artisan entrepreneurs that have started their own workshops. Green Design Link is certified Fair Trade.
We then utilize our marketing strategy and market access to sell the sweaters to eco-chic fashionistas like yourself! Our hope is that the sweater is then loved, worn, mended, darned, donated or handed down without ever being tossed. (if you need, we can help you)
According to EDGE, 15% of all fabric intended for clothing ends up on the cutting room floor. In our case with yarn, it stays on the cone and is simply considered “merma” (our Spanish word for the standard waste percentage). This represents a high cost for suppliers because storing tons of yarn takes space, inventory, yearly accounting reports, sales efforts, and other overhead until is able to be reinjected back into the economy.
So what The Endery aims to do is provide a more successful platform for this yarn’s reincorporation into the economy, turning perfectly good yarn into fashion.
To learn more about how the endery utilizes a full circular economy, check out this graphic.
What is more sustainable than using what already exists? It’s certainly more difficult. It’s much easier and even cost-effective to design without limits and order what you need. Designing into what already exists has a lot of limits and challenges and means that the design process costs more. Editions are also limited so it means you have to design more (extra cost).
Another risk is whether consumers will be OK with the design or color rotation involved in smaller lots. We think stores and big retailers are not ready to take this risk. So we also created The Endery to test our theory that some consumers will actually be fine and happy with this. And to show big stores and retailers this so that we can all shift together toward more sustainable fashion and manufacturing models.