I am finding more products every day that are made using recycled materials, which is great. The problem is many of those items, when they come to the end of their useful life, are not easily recycled. Gary Gagnon, the inventor of ReKixx (formerly known as Remyxx), came up with the idea to make 100% recyclable shoes. According to the charitable organization, Soles4Souls, last year alone more than 700,000 tons of footwear and apparel were thrown away in the U.S. As these products break down in our landfills, the toxic chemicals in some of the materials in their makeup can leach into our soil and water supply. So, making shoes that can be recycled can be a great help to our planet. The inspiration for ReKixx came to Gagnon back in 2009 when, while taking out the garbage, he noticed several pairs of his family’s old shoes in the trashcan. He thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could recycle our sneakers instead of throwing them in the trash.” And so it began. Gagnon knew that he not only had to make a shoe that could be completely recycled, but he would also need to create the infrastructure that would get the shoes recycled. During Gagnon’s journey to make his recyclable shoes a reality, he went on the entrepreneurial ABC show Shark Tank on May 18, 2012. For those of you who have not heard of Shark Tank, it is a reality competition that features a panel of possible investors called “sharks” who consider offers from hopeful entrepreneurs seeking funds for their product or business. Obviously, being on a reality TV show can really help an entrepreneur gain exposure and get investors. The problem was Gagnon’s shoes were still on the drawing board and he didn’t have any sales to show the “sharks.” But, he did manage to win over Daymond John, who made a deal on the show for Gagnon to give up 80% of his company in exchange for a $50,000 stake. During further negotiations after the show aired, John and Gagnon decided not to complete the deal, but John helped the process by giving invaluable advice and mentorship to Gagnon. Gagnon took advantage of the buzz created from being on Shark Tank and began a Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform, or way to solicit online funding from a “crowd” of people. The company’s stated mission is to help bring creative projects to life. (As a side note, I’m reasonably certain my sister, Heidi, has successfully funded half of the Kickstarter campaigns in existence.) On June 25, 2012 the Remyxx campaign ended successfully with pledges totaling more than $44,000 to kick-start the Remyxx Shoe Company. Soon after the profitable crowdfunding campaign, the company name was changed from Remyxx to ReKixx. By September 2013, there were 1,000+ pairs of ReKixx on people’s feet.
Summertime Recycled Fashion: ReKixx
A 100% recyclable shoe could be the answer to the footwear landfill problem.