The Renewal Workshop was founded by Nicole and Jeff to combat waste in the apparel industry. Based on many years of experience in the industry, Jeff and Nicole saw a need to create a sustainable system to manage apparel waste and get the full value from garments. Their start-up operation repairs, upcycles and recycles damaged clothing and sells them via their online marketplace at www.therenewalworkshop.com.
Building a network of garment manufacturers such as NorthFace, prAna, Toad&Co, Ibex and Mountain Khakis, The Renewal Workshop collects garments that have been soiled, need repair or are otherwise un-sellable in their present condition. They repair the flaw(s) to like-new condition prior to return the items to the manufacturer or to sell them online to consumers. Garments that are not repairable are upcycled or recycled so that almost no garments end up in a landfill.
Nicole and Jeff had spent significant time developing their idea from inside the apparel industry. They understood manufacturing and factories, but knew that remanufacturing apparel is very different than initializing the creation of apparel. While the Renewal workshop was raising funds on IndiGoGo, they knew they would need assistance to build the facility that would house the repair and cleaning equipment needed for their business to be successful.
OMEP contractor David McFeeters-Krone of Intellectual Assets was contacted by Jeff and Nicole seeking assistance. He brought them simultaneously into OMEP and Oregon Best to help subsidize the incredible costs of outfitting a manufacturing facility. After locating a space in the Cascade Locks overlooking the scenic Columbia River and strategically connected to the Port, The Renewal Workshop needed assistance setting up their factory. This included placing equipment, reconfiguring the existing layout, and setting up for lean manufacturing.
OMEP developed a comprehensive facility and material flow study, using various tools such as Value Stream Mapping. Through a detailed CAD layout, OMEP addressed all the aspects of preparing the facility for efficient and lean manufacturing. The proactive stance of The Renewal Workshop and the support of Oregon Best allowed OMEP to gear them up for success.
In addition to the detailed CAD model of the building site, OMEP modeled specific equipment location and placement, identified utility requirements and structural needs, (such as flooring/foundations). This required unique consideration since The Renewal Workshop cleaning process utilizes specialized C02 environmentally friendly equipment that eliminates the use of water and drying time in the cleaning cycle. Finally, OMEP worked closely with the general contractor and The Renewal Workshop staff to provide a coordinated summation of the project.
With the assistance of OMEP and Oregon Best, the Renewal Workshop has been set up for success by thinking through operations and process flow, to get off the ground very quickly. In 9 months The Renewal Workshop went from idea to a producing factory. Recently, The Renewal Workshop has expanded their 7,500 sqft facility to include the rest of their building space. Additionally, they utilize a new building next to their existing facility for a total square footage of 13,500 sqft.
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The Renewal Workshop team is incredibly grateful for the time and attention the team at OMEP gave us throughout the process. We were able to expedite the launch of our company because of their expertise specific to manufacturing.