DREXEL SENIORS Ashley Revay, 21, of Center City, and Erin Moffitt, 21, of Fairmount, co-founded Chakra Fitwear, which designs and manufactures women's yoga pants from recycled plastic bottles. The e-commerce business is in the midst of an $80,000 Kickstarter campaign and has raised more than $8,200. I spoke with Revay.
Q: How'd you come up with the idea for Chakra Fitwear?
A: I knew Erin wanted to start a fitnesswear line and I came to her and said, "Why don't we incorporate our ideas with more of a sustainability background?" That was in June.
Q: Startup money?
A: We bootstrapped it and had sponsors from fitness and yoga studios. It was about $3,000 for the initial registration and a website.
Q: What's the biz do?
A: We met with a designer and sent her our ideas and she worked with us on designs. Then we reached out to our manufacturer in Seattle, Rethink Fabrics, and they create the fabric. For the first batch, we're going to be producing the fabric in Seattle, printing in New York and cutting and sewing in Guatemala.
Q: The biz model?
A: The goal is to sell online. Kickstarter will serve as a platform for pre-orders. We're also doing wholesale. Different studios or online stores can buy our pants at a wholesale price for large quantities and then sell them through their retail outlets.
Q: Your customers?
A: Females 18 to 45 who have healthy, active lifestyles.
A: We have an intern helping with social media and communications, and a designer who's an independent contractor.
Q: What differentiates you from your competitors?
A: We are at a lower price point and wanted to be more affordable to the average college student. The pants, in three styles, cost $55 to $65. We want our customers to feel that they're supporting a greater cause - making the planet greener and cleaner. The recycled plastic bottles are crushed, chopped into flakes, melted twice into pellets and extruded to make fiber. The fiber is baled and processed into fabric. The product is made of 85 to 90 percent recycled plastic bottles. We'll add 10 percent Spandex to make it breathable.
Q: What if you don't meet the Kickstarter goal?
A: We'll continue taking pre-orders on our website plus wholesale. Once we cover manufacturing costs, $60,000 for the minimum batch, we'll fulfill orders. The way Kickstarter works is people pledge money so nothing is taken out of their account until we hit the goal. If we don't, we'll send out a message, and if you still want pants you can go to our website and we'll update you about the progress.
On Twitter: @MHinkelman