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Meet Amy Lane of Graphic Revival in Boulder County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Lane.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Amy. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
The inspiration for Graphic Revival came in 2017 with a basic white t-shirt with a sleeve ruffle that garnered lots of compliments when I wore it. It was a simple tee, but the added flair made it something completely different. That sparked the idea of taking existing graphic t-shirts and turning them into something special. Being a graphic designer meant I had a love for the artwork of graphic tees, but not so much how they fit. Also, after extensive research, I realized that the problem of excessive production of graphic tees was very wasteful. I found out that one t-shirt takes about 700 gallons of water to produce. On top of that, three billion tees are made every year. Given that the average American throws away 81 pounds of apparel into the trash every year, I realized that the problem was quite large.

Since that spark, I have been focused on solving the problem of streamlining designs for upcycling these graphic tees and putting systems in place to create a circular model of production that transforms tees heading to waste into one-of-a-kind favorites while creating no waste or pollution in the process. The company is also committing a portion of every sale to non-profits that are working on healing the environment. This mission-driven company has become such a passion because it’s a creative, light-hearted, and fun way to tackle the very serious environmental issues facing us today.

Has it been a smooth road?
A lot of what we’re doing hasn’t been done in a way that’s scalable. There are crafters out there that make great upcycled clothing, but it’s usually sewn by the owner. Because I wanted something that could be easily patterned and could grow to a larger production, the challenge was to create designs that were not only stylish and fit well but could be standardized. I don’t sew myself, but as a designer, I could visualize and sketch up ideas. I had a pretty big learning curve translating what works on paper to what works in a three-dimensional product. I struggled to find the right sewist who could conceptualize my ideas and help me with the unknowns. It took me three tries before I found Clothier Design Group who helped me develop prototypes.

Once I was able to get the prototypes in production, I spent a lot of time on the other aspects of the business, setting up business partners for sourcing raw shirts and misprints, developing the branding and marketing strategy, building a website, finding photographers and models, etc. Because the business model is so outside of the box, I had to make up a lot of things as I went. Through these big learning curves, I’ve been really mindful of streamlining and simplifying processes so I can easily hand tasks off to others as things grow. Although it’s been a difficult road, I think it will help me move forward quickly as things expand.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Graphic Revival is a mission-based company. Our goal is to help reduce apparel waste, create a business model that inspires other businesses, and to use our success to make an impact on protecting the environment. The way we do this is to curate graphic tees that are heading to the waste stream then transform those shirts into stylish and fun, one-of-a-kind shirts. We launched our online business on April 4th with four styles for women. The vibe is very street-style and hip, as we wanted to create an upcycled product that was edgy and cool rather than something that looks patched together. Our styles include an off-the-shoulder crop top, a figure-flattering V-neck, a cap sleeve boat neck with a side tie, and our Twofer, which is two graphic tees split in half and an open back with a twist.

We currently curate our shirts to upcycle from three sources. Thrift stores are a great source because with our current rate of consumption, they are overflowing with inventory. A large portion of their goods don’t get resold and end up in third world countries which can hurt local economies or are just end up in a landfill there. The second source is working directly with brands. We are currently working with Be Hippy out of Denver and Prinkshop in NYC to source their misprinted or damaged tees. Working directly with other t-shirt brands gives them a responsible way to offload shirts that can’t be sold through their channels. Finally, we work with screen printers sourcing their misprints. One of the printers we work with uses misprints kind of like scratch paper to test multiple graphics on them. The result is a mish-mash of graphics overlaid in a chaotic mess. They are terrible looking as a regular t-shirt but make for some of our coolest upcycles, printers marks and all.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
We are located in Longmont and in Boulder County. I feel like this is a great place to start a business such as Graphic Revival. First of all, the Longmont business community is amazingly supportive. I’ve connected with multiple entrepreneurs and business leaders and the culture is really one of lifting each other up, connecting people, and support. There are so many forward-thinking people in the business community doing some really exciting things, especially in the realm of social and environmental stewardship.

Boulder County is also an ideal location for business. The customer base here is savvy, sophisticated and super casual all at once. People here are also keenly in-tune to our impact on the environment which definitely helps to resonate with potential customers.

Pricing:

  • VNeck Upcycle – $68
  • Off Shoulder Crop Top (Summer Melt) – $75
  • Cap Sleeve (Diamond Tee) – $78
  • Twofer Tee – $83

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Erin Potter Photography

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