We come to work every day because we enjoy making the world a better place.
We believe in the transformative power of nature. The power of nature is more than an emotional or spiritual impact, it is also physiological. It brings healing, happiness, and creativity in ways that are quantifiable.
We believe the story of our outdoor clothing and gear should not begin with over extraction of raw materials, over consumption of finished goods or end in a landfill or the back of a closet because of a broken zipper, worn out Velcro, busted buckle, a rip or a burn. Our gear enables and protects us on our outdoor adventures, it holds memories of places we’ve been and things we’ve done. Being outside creates relationships with nature, ourselves, other people, animals and our stuff.
It’s unimaginable that a whopping 16 million tons of textiles are discarded every year in the United States—polluting our water supply and overflowing landfills. Ironically, even though we love nature, everything in the outdoor industry from jackets and tents to sleeping bags and backpacks are made from petrochemicals that take hundreds of years to decompose. Everyone make the world a better place by fixing their stuff, extending the life of our favorite outdoor items by nine months reduces its environmental impact by more than 30%.
We believe in positive cultural shifts. Our culture is rethinking the lifecycle of clothing and gear and challenging the norm of throwing stuff “away” (because, really, where is “away”?). In our local community alone, Rugged Thread has kept 30,000 pounds of textiles out of the waste stream mostly by fixing zippers and patching holes on tents, backpacks, jackets, pants, and luggage. Nationally, we estimate 8 million unusable manufacturer warranty items and 30 million consumer mishaps that could be repaired end up in the garbage every year because people don’t know technical outdoor items can be repaired. These broken items add up to 30 thousand tons or about 20% of the national textile waste in the U.S.!
Positive cultural shifts don’t just happen at the grassroots level, innovative manufacturers like, Patagonia, began fixing their customer’s broken items for FREE! Since implementing this shift, you’d think sales would go down but the opposite is true even in a competitive marketplace. Annual growth revenues increased 14%, profits surged 300% AND they give 1% to environmental and conservation organizations.
We believe in developing vocational skills and paying livable wages to build social equity in our community. Certain skills like plumbing, electrical, welding, repair work and sewing cannot be replaced by technology—it needs to be done by hand by a skilled technician. At Rugged Thread, our team is revitalizing the artisan craft of sewing by applying it to repair extraordinary technical gear that is continually being advanced by the outdoor industry. Our dedicated repair technicians are users of the gear they repair so they know how it needs to function in the field. Repairing outdoor clothing and gear is fun but hard, it is not repetitive production work but one of a kind problem-solving that takes years of skill development to deconstruct, repair and reconstruct consistent quality on high risk expensive technical outerwear, bags and packs, tents, and other softgoods. We are committed to building a company culture that our technicians value, where there’s room to grow within the company, be valued for contributions, teach their skill mastery to new hires, have time off, and give back to the community in unique ways. We believe in personal growth, healthy childhood development, access to opportunity and contributing to the well-being of our community. This is why we believe in paying livable wages.
We believe in converting broken gear into a new economy. New economies are created by new, high-growth industries that are on the cutting edge of technology and are the driving force of economic growth.
The Outdoor Industry in the U.S. is $373B, it’s larger than the oil, gas and coal industry combined. Over the years, the Outdoor Industry has shifted its focus away from production and sales to quantifying and addressing overconsumption, sustainability of supply chains and the waste epidemic. Donating defective gear and clothing to charity is simply a “feel good” path to the landfill. Broken gear in the back of the closet or a manufacturer’s facility presents an opportunity for conscientious economic growth and reduced extraction of raw materials. Training and teaching useful repair skills creates a pathway for our business and its families to contribute to their local economy.
We believe in innovation and its application of better solutions to meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing but unfulfilled market needs. In order to support the growing demand, the repair industry will need engineering to develop and standardize repair tools and processes; software to manage inventory, product flow, customer communication, quality control, and shipping; and collaboration with the outdoor industry to define and implement Design For Reparability (DFR).