When we shop, we think of numbers: How much does this cost? What percent discount will I get in today’s sale? But chances are, there are some numbers most of us don’t think of: Producing one T-shirt apparently uses about 2,700 liters of water, the same amount that the average person drinks over the course of 900 days. Every year, more than 80 billion pieces of clothing are made worldwide. After we’re ready to discard a garment, three out of four end up in landfills or incinerated. And the apparel industry as a whole is the second-largest polluter in the world, after oil.
UniformBuy is a start-up that believes that eco-friendly and sustainable clothing is the future of fashion. What does eco-friendly mean? “It includes the way your clothing is dyed and how the wastewater is handled. Is your clothing high-quality or does it fall apart after a few wears? Our uniforms can withstand at least 100-150 washes. Does that company offer you a way to recycle or repair your garment? We at Uniform Buy, recycle and re-use the wasted fabric as yarn. These are just a sampling of the questions that go into what eco-friendly means.” says Prasanth.
2 years of successful B2B tie-ups of UniformBuy and a massive turnover later, the startup today has witnessed a brand recognition of being the first-ever GreenCo certified Garment Manufacturers.
In conversation with the Founders at UniformBuy:
Give a brief info about your startup?
We are UniformBuy, a Tirupur based uniform manufacturing company for schools and corporates. We have been in this field for more than three years, working with many schools. We work towards environment-friendly uniforms which makes us more prominent from others. Our systematic approach and timely deliveries and firm relationship with our customers has brought us this far, striving us to travel and explore more.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
The uniform industry has existed for more than a half-century in our country. The standards of uniforms have remained almost the same since then with only changes in the styles and designs as well more chemically processed fabrics. We are proud of bringing innovations in the field to make it environmentally friendly. To process a single cotton t-shirt we have to use 3000 liters of freshwater. To process 1 ton of fabric we are releasing 13kg of carbon. Our processing methods saves 95% of water and more environment-friendly. Also, we want the kids to know what they wearing (how they are processed and the material). which would be comfortable, safer for skin and sustainable throughout the year.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
We worked as Merchandiser in an export kids wear manufacturing industry, where we learned the processing, patterning, machining, detailing, styling, testing in par with the international kids wear standards. Working experience there brought us the driving force to bring in changes in our country’s processing methods.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
Our startup is based out in Tirupur, garment manufacturing hub of India. Since all the international brands manufacturing is based out in Tirupur, it will be easy to find in professionals with experience in international standards, so we can bring out the best product with the best pricing.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
Since most of us are not aware of this eco-friendly uniforms, it becomes our main challenge. We work towards bringing awareness about it.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
Since uniform industry-based brand is vacant in India, foreign brands like Dickies are trying to occupy it. India being the manufacturing hub for international brands, we would like to target the uniform based branding position of our country rather than allowing foreign countries.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We would appreciate it if any investor is ready to invest, so that we can grow our brand and target the global market. For the startup of the firm, we have invested in our own funds.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
It is difficult to make people understand the differences between our uniform and the custom one as they don’t see the processing happening during the manufacturing of the garment. The reality is the harsh chemicals used in manufacturing a custom uniform are hazardous to the environment as well as the skin of the children.
What gets you excited about this company?
The freedom to explore the innovations in fabrics, technology, processing keeps us excited about the company. Also, the positive response from our customers keeps us engaged to bring new products every day.
As a startup, we take part in sales, development, R&D, production, delivery, team management which keeps us busy all day.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other? What are the plans for the future?
We are a team comprised of myself (Prasanth Nagarajan) and co-founder (Vijay Aadithyan). We worked together in an export manufacturing firm where we discussed the future market of uniform industry leading to this startup. Our future plan is to make our company a prominent uniform brand and make it globally successful.
Few Cents for the readers…
It’s not as difficult or as expensive as you might think to shift to ecological and fair-trade clothing. ‘Slow Fashion’ is becoming a global movement that needs more people to create momentum. UniformBuy is here to help you make more conscious choices!
Know a great story or want to tell us your own?
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