The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team.
Emily Neville is up.
Who are you and what do you do?
I'm a senior at NC State, the founder and CEO of Reborn Clothing Co., a Linden, NC, native, and above all – an innovator. I see problems and I want to fix them. That's essentially how Reborn started. I realized that sustainable textiles was inaccessible to the average consumer and at the same time, that people had memorable or sentimental clothing they would want made into something usable once more. It was the most basic solution to me to introduce sustainable practices to people everywhere. It's grown a lot since then, but that was the original start.
What did it take and how did you get started?
A few months after starting Reborn as an upcycling solution for consumers, I thought I was going to close shop. It was a difficult semester for me with 18 credit hours and some weekends, I was picking up shifts at Brewery Bhavana to pay employees. Very early into Reborn, the man who would end up being my first investor and a dear friend, Steve Mangano, the founder of Cureat and a serial entrepreneur, had told me to come talk to him when I was ready to raise money.
At the time, I could only say quite honestly that I didn't know what that really entailed and it was way out of my comfort zone. I had started Reborn as an extracurricular! Several months later, everyone was working out of their houses on home sewing machines, I was driving around like crazy to fulfill orders, my apartment had become awash with clothing and product development, and I was really at wit's end. I talked to Steve at Loading Dock Raleigh where I was working the front desk in exchange for membership, and that day, we ended up meeting in a conference room at LDR for hours to determine an evaluation and strategy for raising capital. I spent the whole summer pitching and came out of it with seven investors and a legitimate company.
What does the future look like for you and your hustle?
We have so much on the horizon and it only continues to grow. We're working with nearly every university in North Carolina now and are expanding nationally over the next year. We have relationships and partnerships with brands like Sunbrella Fabrics and Red Bull to upcycle their deadstock and surplus goods, and we've barely scratched the surface with just those two brands. My vision is for Reborn to be the global brand of choice for upcycled goods.
What drives / motivates you?
Had I known how difficult it was to keep a company running, I may not have gone for it. My naivety allowed me to jump in before I was ready, and then my desire for success and making a greater impact encouraged me to continue. Now what keeps me going is seeing Reborn's ability to sustain several people's livelihood, create incredible experiences for young people looking to make an impact, our waste reduction as a sustainable company, and the memories and lessons I can only thank Reborn for making. It really comes down to our capacity to create value for people in our products and policies, and that goes for our clients and our internal team members, who are invaluable to our success.
What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do?
Don't start a company simply to start one. I feel like I see that buzz starting to happen, and I will provide a word of caution that all the taxes, paperwork, and financial management will come as a real headache unless it's an idea that makes you excited, even hopeful, to be doing paperwork on a Friday night with take-out Chinese. A company is different from your typical project that has an end-date. There is no end-date (at least, I really try to make sure of that). If you do decide to start something, don't ever let the failures of one day derail your motivation. It truly is a marathon, not a sprint, and because of that, I simply measure success by my and my team's ability to push forward in the face of adversity.
What has been the hardest part of the hustle?
Being a solo founder has been incredibly difficult. At times I've really struggled with decisions that I felt like I couldn't share with anyone because you want to keep your team motivated and at ease in their jobs. Also, juggling classes and a startup has been challenging. I don't currently believe in much of a work-life balance.
What are a few resources (could be books, podcasts, websites etc) that you'd recommend?
I listen to "How I Built This" nearly daily and my favorite episode was with James Dyson. On the show, He said that, "you start winning when everyone else slows down, but you speed up." That has really stuck with me.
Side or full-time hustle? Full-time with classes on the side until my December graduation! Then, full-time!
List the founders Emily Neville
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle? 70-80
# of Employees (part-time and full-time) 4 full-time and 10 part-time
When did you start? January 2018
How much did it cost to launch? Approximately 60k
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised? We've raised a little over 300k to date. First raise was an equity round and second on convertible notes.
Annual revenue/projected revenue Currently averaging between 20-25k monthly revenue and projected to reach 80k in monthly revenue within 12 months.
Social: emily_neville rebornclothing.co On Instagram, FB, and LinkedIn