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Looptworks :: Moving Towards A Circular Economy

by , December 11, 2014

Portland-based Looptworks loves nothing more than liberating the potential in excess materials through upcycling. Co-founded by Scott Hamlin and Gary Peck, the brand produces a range of carry items from iPad sleeves to laptop cases and backpacks. Keen to dig down into the details, we caught up with co-founder Scott Hamlin to find out more about this eco-conscious brand, as well as their recent partnership with Southwest Airlines to ensure over 80,000 leather plane seats avoided a one-way trip to Dumpsville…

Southwest LUV Seat Backpack

What key insights drive your stuff?

We find beauty in excess materials and use design and innovation to transform them into meaningful products that can last a lifetime.

Can you tell us more about your dedication to repurposing and what projects have come from it?

Our society needs to move towards a circular economy in order to preserve the two elements needed to sustain life, clean water and fresh air. Each material that gets made requires a lot of water and creates a huge amount of carbon emissions (dirty air). It has been Looptworks’ mission since our inception to conserve both by repurposing materials instead of using virgin materials.

Does design come first, or the material? What’s your process?

It is a little of both. What we do turns the design process on its head. As we are working on design, we are investigating the materials to make the product. Sometimes we find other materials that spark other ideas for additional products. The important points are that we are not just making products to make them, they have to matter regardless of what they are made from.

Tiki iPad Sleeve

How do you track down these opportunities? Do companies contact you or is your team actively on the lookout for repurposing opportunities?

Both. We have become known for design innovation around the repurposing of excess materials. As a result, many opportunities come to us. In addition, we are also actively working with companies to help them identify their excess streams and what to do with them. 

What makes for the perfect opp? What do you look for?

We look for situations in which companies are committed to finding solutions to their excess materials and understand that by extending the life of these materials in another product, they are not only making an impact on the environment, they are also engaging their employees, customers, and community in a way that starts a real movement around their brand. 

Southwest LUV Seat Convertible Tote

Any advice for a beginner keen to get into the game?

1. Make sure you have the proper knowledge base and skill sets.

2. Do a lot of research while evaluating the excess stream and understand what you are dealing with. It can be tricky to understand the risks of certain banned materials or chemicals that may be in the material.

3. Understand the need you would be filling with the product you would like to make with the excess. Don’t just make stuff to make stuff.

4. Reach out to us (backtalk@looptworks.com) and we can get you started.

iPad Shaxi Folio Case

Who else is doing rad things in the world of repurposing? Who inspires you to do better?

We really look up to Elvis and Kresse. They do fantastic design work with repurposed fire hoses.

Besides the environmental element, what makes Looptworks special?

We are passionate about innovative design and storytelling. We love solving the puzzle and figuring out how materials that already exist can be transformed into something that makes our lives better. We are also a Certified B corp. That means we make business decisions that consider social and environmental impact along side profits. It is baked into our DNA. We are members of a community with a larger purpose – to use business as a force for good in the world.   

11-inch Hoptu Neoprene Laptop Case

What’s next for you guys?

We have some really cool products coming online in the next few weeks at looptworks.com. We also have some great collaborations with major brands coming up soon. You can sign up for our newsletter or find us on social. 

Southwest LUV Seat Convertible Tote and Weekender Duffle Bag

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