Helpsy: Unpolluting the Fashion Industry
Here is a grim stat. The average American throws away 100 pounds of clothing per year. Every person. Every year. On the whole, we recycle less than 15% of the textiles we purchase. Also, fashion is consistently in the top five most polluting industries. But, we don’t hear much about it.
The founders of Helpsy heard. They started by improving access to collection bins in the northeast. They now maintain nearly 2000 containers and they are a certified B Corporation. Additionally, they opened sorting facilities to process what they collected and bought through other channels. It turns out 95% can have another use. Of that, 20% is made up of your kid’s holy, grass-stained jeans or your ratty t-shirts from college. Those items are recycled. Helpsy shreds them into insulation, shop rags, or the stuffing in car seats. That leaves 75% suitable to be reused, a much better outcome. Last year, they processed 25 million pounds! That is a lot of clothing to reuse.
Their team decided the best way to meet their mission was to start an e-commerce site. That brought up questions about brand architecture. In addition to the B2B company, Helpsy also owns a company called Kosei Threads which sells clothing by the pallet to individuals who resell the clothes online one piece at a time. Should the new B2C site be called Helpsy, Kosei, or something different altogether?
This is where we come in. We started by learning about the Helpsy culture through one-on-one interviews, small group conversations, and exercises to understand the stories, the values, the symbols that made their culture unique. We worked through a complete naming process so that we had something tangible to compare to the other names.
In the end, we decided that Helpsy was the best name for the whole company. The B2B business, the new B2C site, and the micro-wholesale business. We surveyed the market, looking at competitors and other companies solving a similar problem in different markets. We created an identity system that tied the companies together and leveraged brand equity rather than deplete it. Our impact as an agency is maximized through our work. We are excited to see this unfold for decades.