Rob Drake-Knight | Co-founder | Teemill

Platforms like Teemill have democratised the style business

Based in 2014, Teemill is the world’s greatest devoted round financial system platform. It really works with greater than 10,000 manufacturers, together with world NGOs and companies, media, on-line content material creators, influencers and facet hustlers, offering an open-access round design and provide chain platform. In an interview with Fibre2Fashion, Teemill Co-founder Rob Drake-Knight talks about designing and promoting sustainable and round clothes.

When did you begin Teemill? Who’re the founders?

Teemill was launched in 2018 and grew out of our vogue model Rapanui, which was based in 2008. Teemill took the tech and provide chain options used to create Rapanui and made them obtainable for anybody, anyplace to make use of totally free.

How did you provide you with the thought for Teemill?

After we learn that 10 per cent of worldwide CO2 comes from clothes, that 60 per cent of garments are constituted of or with plastic and {that a} dump truck of textiles waste goes to landfill or incineration each second, we knew we wished to be a part of the answer, not a part of the issue. That’s why our merchandise are constituted of natural supplies, utilizing renewable vitality, and designed to return again to be remanufactured once they’re worn out.

In business-as-usual, garments are mass produced speculatively leading to large quantities of waste: 40 per cent of clothes is rarely worn. By printing in actual time, we solely make what folks want once they want it. That saves cash that we spend on making organics and renewables inexpensive. Our robotics do the identical factor, making the pack course of 30 per cent extra environment friendly. Meaning we will afford the 10X elevated value of utilizing packaging constituted of crops, not plastic. We share this know-how overtly on the web with different manufacturers through our platform at

How does Teemill work?

Teemill is an open-source round and sustainable provide chain and e-commerce platform. Anybody can use it to create their very own on-line retailer and plug in to our round provide chain to start out designing and promoting sustainable and round clothes. Merchandise are constituted of 100 per cent natural cotton, or our recycled Remill yarn. Our factories are powered by renewable vitality, and every part is designed from the begin to come again to us so we will flip it into new merchandise.

Which equipment is used to print on T-shirts?

We print each merchandise on demand, within the seconds after an order is positioned. This implies there is no such thing as a overproduction, no waste, and no warehouses stuffed with inventory ready to be offered. Our printers combine the inks in actual time, utilizing solely what is required for every print. We use Brother GTX DTG printers, however a very powerful factor just isn’t the {hardware}, however the software program. We write it to work with any digital printer and we additionally construct our personal equipment and 3D print elements that we will think about, however that don’t exist available on the market but.

What number of manufacturers have you ever onboarded? What number of kinds on a median does a model show on its retailer on-line?

We have now round 10,000 shops utilizing the platform – from world organisations like Greenpeace, WWF, BBC Earth, to on-line content material creators akin to Yoga with Adriene, in addition to many particular person designers and creatives. The vary of merchandise varies vastly. A few of our most profitable shops have simply a few well-designed merchandise, whereas others are frequently including new designs. As a result of every part is print on demand, we solely print what is required when it’s wanted—that means shops can have a whole bunch of various designs that exist on the cloud, with out having to fret about over-stocking.

That are your main markets in and out of doors the UK?

Exterior of the UK, our greatest markets are the US and Europe, however we wish to broaden our work in Asia by means of our companions in India.

What’s the turnaround time as soon as an order is positioned?

Most orders are printed the identical working day. The delivery time is dependent upon the place your order is being despatched to and the supply choice chosen. Home orders ought to arrive inside 5 days.

Do you’ve got your individual manufacturing facility?

Sure, we now have two factories within the UK and one other in Tamil Nadu, in addition to third social gathering services within the Czech Republic and Spain.

What sort of materials, dyes and prints are used to make t-shirts?

As an authorized natural firm, we use low-waste digital printing tech and inks that conform to the GOTS/Soil Affiliation natural standards. Our printing know-how permits for an virtually limitless vary of colors and gives a high quality really feel. Our inks comprise no animal derived merchandise and aren’t examined on animals.

Please inform us about newest marketing campaign.

For #TakebackFriday we’re reversing Black Friday. So, as a substitute of asking clients to purchase a lot of new issues, we’re paying them to ship again their outdated Teemill merchandise. As a result of each Teemill product is constituted of 100 per cent natural cotton or our recycled Remill fibre. It implies that we will flip these outdated merchandise into new merchandise and reward clients financially for doing it. We’re attempting to contain as lots of the 10,000 shops that use our platform as doable, and we now have the backing of some large names like WWF, Rapanui, and BBC Earth.

What are the foremost tendencies you see in T-shirt by way of design, colors, prints and material compositions?

T-shirts have an extended historical past of getting used to assist campaigns, causes and activism and we’re seeing this development speed up because the instruments make it simpler for anybody to create their very own manufacturers and merchandise. Platforms like Teemill have democratised the style business and empowered folks to grow to be their very own vogue designers and hyper-personalise their clothes in a manner that displays their values.

When it comes to material composition, there may be rising understanding of the problems round artificial fibres, akin to microfibre air pollution and poor recycling. That’s sparking increasingly curiosity in pure supplies akin to wool and cotton, in addition to a concentrate on how these supplies are produced. From the outset we now have targeted on utilizing 100 per cent licensed natural cotton, grown in India.

What are your future plans at Teemill?

Subsequent yr, we’ll develop our influence and companion manufacturing from the UK and EU to US and EMEA, through a partnership in India, which is able to assist us to serve clients in India, Singapore and the remainder of Asia.

We’re additionally engaged on having the ability to take again garments from different manufacturers. It’s tougher to determine as a result of most garments simply aren’t designed to be round, however it will be an enormous step ahead for the business and we’re undoubtedly on the best way to doing it. We do already use post-consumer supplies from different manufacturers, however we will’t but settle for them immediately from the client.

We’re additionally working arduous to boost consciousness of the options we’ve developed, as a result of lots of people don’t even know these options exist. The extra people who become involved within the Teemill neighborhood, the higher the dimensions of influence we will have. That’s why we’re additionally engaged on new methods for folks to take part. We lately launched a Shopify plugin so anybody with a Shopify retailer can connect with our round provide chain and design and promote merchandise. We have now additionally created an API that enables anybody, anyplace to attach their web site, platform or app, to our provide chain.

What are your sustainability targets for the following two years?

Together with the concentrate on serving to extra folks take part in making a round financial system for vogue, we’re continuously evolving the merchandise we provide, in order that we will sort out totally different challenges within the business.

(Interviewer: Shilpi Panjabi)

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed on this column are solely of the interviewee, and they don’t replicate in any manner the opinion of

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