Helen Nwosu: What is your mission with Helpsy?
Dan Green: Helpsy is a B Corp with an environmental mission to radically rethink the way we dispose of our clothing. 85% of the clothes we consume go right in the trash. We operate out of the North East and last year we collected 25 million pounds of clothes and kept it out of the trash.
HN: It’s funny when you say that number, 25 million, because it rings as such a high amount to us. I remember visiting your warehouse in Terrytown and standing underneath this 15 foot tower of clothing and I thought it was clothes collected over the course of a week, but really your partner let me know that it was actually just from that afternoon. I was shocked, it was such a monumental amount of clothing.
DG: Yeah, it’s that much twice a day at all three of our warehouses.
HN: Yeah that’s a huge amount. Can you talk about what overconsumption means for you and the fashion industry? What is overconsumption?
DG: Overconsumption is kind of mindlessly chasing stuff without regard for the environmental consequences. We really push for people to spend more time thinking about what it is that’s really going to bring them joy and what they really need and to look for used and otherwise sustainable alternatives to mass market consumerism.
HN: Right, this is interesting to us at Prose from a beauty standpoint because the basis of our business, the basis of personalization is to fight mass production, which really leads to overconsumption. The idea being that in the past it was always, in clothing and beauty, you’re a size 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, it’s a standardized model that allows companies to mass produce and mass market to consumers. Some examples in the beauty space would be shampoo for blondes or shampoo for curly hair. So what Prose really decided to do was shun that system and say hey, you know what, we’re going to make products for the individual. Then, instead of mass producing we don’t make a product until they’re ordered. With that model you can say, for example, Helen what do you need? What are your hair goals? Is your hair curly? Is it dry? And so on. Then with the answers to those questions, go on to make products tailored just for me.
We fight overconsumption through personalization. We’re made to order for the individual. Another danger with overconsumption that often happens in textiles in clothing is that the products don’t work or the products don’t fit. I think many people have been in the situation where they have straight hair in one section of their hair but curly hair in another spot. So then you buy multiple products and try to make them work and then none of them end up working. So again, overconsumption. I really think that both Prose and Helpsy, fighting it from our different ways as B Corps, is essential to changing that overconsumption, at least in the West.
DG: Yeah, what Helpsy is really about, why we collect all these clothes, is to provide use alternatives for folks so they can spend their time and money on better quality, more unique, more interesting, more sustainable buys. Whether that’s online or offline. That in turn promotes the collection and diversion of more textile waste. People can have better stuff, spending less money and the planet does much better as well. It’s a win-win.
Stay tuned on Prose’s Instagram as we continue to host expert conversations surrounding sustainability, diversity, inclusion, and all of the other pillars we stand on. Plus, all the hair education and tutorials you could ever need.
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