We had the good fortune of connecting with Amelia Trumble and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amelia, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Retold Recycling is the convenient and sustainable mail-in service for recycling any and all unwanted clothing and household textiles, responsibly diverting waste from landfill. We aim to build a community of like-minded customers with a collective mantra and vision: #NoLandfill. To date, we have successfully recycled and diverted 20 tons of textile waste from landfill, and counting!
Together with our partners, we make sure that all items sent in each Retold bag are thoroughly sorted before going to charities, thrift stores, reuse partners, up-cyclers, rag companies, and soon, next generation fabric houses. All our bags come with a prepaid label and are made plastic-free from biodegradable and compostable cornstarch in our fight to end landfill and eliminate single-use plastics.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We’re most proud that we enable customers to tell a new story with their old clothes – all from the comfort of their home, without having to schlep things to a donation center or thrift store, and without adding to the global landfill issue. Further, so many customers think they are “doing the right thing” by dropping off at donation centers, but the unfortunate reality from the data we see is that the majority of what gets donated ends up in landfill, because it’s not saleable.
I worked with my Retold co-founders and business partners – Noelle Delory and Alan Yeoh – in marketing at MAC Cosmetics in New York and frequently talked about a long term pivot to invest our efforts into a business that would make a positive impact on the planet. Years later, I was renovating my closets in a small NYC apartment and was frustrated to find no solution to easily declutter unwanted clothes, particularly without adding to the landfill problem. Noelle and I crystallized the idea over dinner one evening and then Alan invited himself to join us girls in the business! (Lucky for us, because he is the math guy / a customer data guru.)
We are experiencing exponential growth, have customers recycling with us in all 50 states and are profitable, but it has not been easy getting here! Firstly, finding the right recycling partner took 1.5 years! After endless Googling and cold calling and rejection, a chance introduction led us to our partner, who is awesome. In addition, we had no idea that we would have to end up building a custom logistics interface to meet our needs – which was complicated and costly, and took about a year to decipher the requirements alone. But now that it’s complete, it is both bespoke and scalable. Not easy to replicate.
And finally, navigating the shipping / logistics space is endlessly complicated, challenging and costly…and we are still chipping away at this one!
Our elevator pitch – what do you do with your old underpants or those solo socks? – usually leads to a positive “a-ha” moment! If there is one thing people can take away from reading this, it is to not throw your old household textiles and clothes in the trash! Retold is here to help!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
As someone who grew up in the Australian countryside, the more glamorous elements of LA are what I lean into when showing visitors the town…
Tower Bar at The Sunset Tower: Stay here if you can for the chic vibes and celebrity adjacency, but at least have dinner in the main dining room if you can!
The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel: So iconic!
Gjelina or Gjusta: Dinner / lunch respectively for cool Venice vibes
Brentwood Country Mart: Coffee + strolling + shopping + people watching + shopping some more!
Will Rogers State Beach or any of the beaches in Malibu: For sand in the toes
If you have an extra day, I love driving down the coast to Encinitas for beautiful beaches, cute boutiques, and delicious eateries!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Much of our mission at Retold is about educating consumers about the huge textile-based landfill issue at hand and how they can easily make changes in their life (and wardrobe) for more sustainable practices! So it feels appropriate to shout out some books/media that the 3 of us who co-founded Retold have read and taken great inspiration from:
– The Story of Stuff: This 21 min documentary is EYE OPENING https://www.storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-stuff/
– BE 2.0 by Jim Collins (but really any books by Jim Collins): this book motivated me and helped me feel energized about building a great company to hit our goals https://www.jimcollins.com/books/BE2.html