Get to know FINDS by The Retouch - Paris Techstars Accelerator

Sep 15, 2022

Jules-Adrien Neret (Co-Founder) and Andrea Herget (Co-Founder)

01.  Describe the problem/the industry that you are trying to mediate (and precise the UN Sustainable Development Goals you are solving).

The fashion and textile industry generates a 500bn € loss every year on unsold garments. This equates to around 36bn unsold articles of clothing which end up being burned or disposed of. 

No solutions available enabled brands to create value for their unsold inventory. Burning, disposing in landfills, donating, or selling to discount dealers was a way for clothing companies to rid themselves of excess materials. However, as anti-waste legislation passed in the EU in January 2022, the burning or disposing of unsold textile inventories was prohibited. This new policy pushed for a new way to the reuse of “textile waste” in the fashion sector.

Upcycling is one solution that permits brands to reuse unsold inventory and create new products. It is a recycling method that uses the textile capital available in discarded garments to transform them through clever design and skilled craftsmanship into new high-value products. Upcycling has gained tremendous popularity in the fashion environment with brands such as Marine Serre and Christopher Raeburn implementing it in their business.

Upcycling, however, has been realized on a small-scale and has not been easily applicable on the industrial level.

In aiming to promote Sustainable Development Goal 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and Goal 12, Responsible Consumption, The Retouch unlocked the potential of upcycling on an industrial scale by developing FINDS.

FINDS is the first solution that enables fashion brands to integrate fabrics from unsold garments into new products easily. Using the platform enables us to create the possibility to reintegrate in the loop a minimum of 30% of unsold goods, i.e., 13,5bn clothes per year.

No defibration, no chemical or mechanical transformation, just cutting.  

With FINDS, upcycling becomes the most efficient and less expensive recycling method. 

“Make upcycling, adaptable and scalable”; we believe circular change should come from inside. Our technology enables any fashion brand to implement upcycling practices in its creation process.

02. How did the idea to create the company come to mind? How did your team come to be?

First, we worked on another business model which digitalized the repair and alteration sector for B2C. However, the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on business to consumer relations was severely damaged, causing us to shift our business model to B2B for good! We started collaborating with various fashion brands on the problem of unsold inventory by the means of repairing and altering. Very quickly, the demand shifted to upcycling garments that had been unsold. We understood that 30% of all garments produced are never sold and that almost every fashion brand struggles to manage those “lost products.” Besides we started to create upcycled products and realized that sourcing was the most challenging part of the upcycling process. At first we struggled to receive access to the information in the garment stocks. 

Once we received data points from a Fast Fashion company, we worked with spreadsheets of 120k lines. 

Imagining a new product by using a spreadsheet that does not always contain the correct information is not an easy task. Often the best solution was to go directly to the warehouse to see the products.

It was challenging and time-consuming. That was when we understood that we would need a tool to make upcycling possible on a large scale within any fashion company. FINDS, the tool was born. Soon after, we created our dream team which consists of our CTO, Kevin Monfray, and our   UI/UX designer, Théodrore Sutra-Fourcade. 

03. Why did you choose to participate in the Paris Techstars accelerator program? What are you looking forward to the most? 

Our goal is to scale with FINDS on an international level and to achieve this we need to be properly coached on executing our strategies. This brought us to apply for the Paris Techstars Accelerator program. With their wide network and access to the successful and experienced entrepreneurs, we are certain our company will thrive in this environment.

We are in a very urgent situation; the fashion sector is one of the world's most polluting and wasteful industries. Due to the high obsolescence of fashion products,  ⅓ of this industry's resources are considered ‘out of the loop’. We are on a mission to reintegrate these resources into the value chain.

The use of FINDS can have a massive impact by its ability to be implemented into any fashion company and thus reduce the use of new raw and scarce materials.

04. What are you the most proud of in your initial journey with your company?

Our team is proud that we are still in business after two pivots. 

One of the more difficult moments in our journey occurred when we had to pivot the second time. Moments before lockdown  we were beginning to have excellent traction with our clients. However,  like many rising businesses, we were not immune to the negative impacts of  the pandemic. But, in the end, it turned out to be the best thing that happened to our company. Presented with an abundance of time on our hands, we were able to understand what the market needs in relation to unsold garments and imagine an appropriate solution. 

We are proud that with FINDS, we can combine profitability with having a positive impact on the environment.

05. How do you plan to measure the positive impact of your company in the next 5 years? Environmentally focused question. 

FINDS supplies the means for fashion brands to forecast and track emissions savings.

The platform is an environmental impact provider for fashion brands. We are giving our customers the possibility to forecast and track their emission savings thanks to the integration of upcycling strategies.

Through our impact dashboard, companies will be able to measure:

Pre-customer: the impact savings made by using raw materials from unsold products compared to using new materials.

Post-customer: the impact savings from reducing the destruction or disposal of unsold garments in landfills.

This feature will be available for the second quarter of 2023!

For the latest news on our applications, please visit our page.