As a mom I find it really funny that 5 years ago I was trying to figure out the best products to get, where now, I just want to keep it simple and get the junk out. Since my girls are growing quickly, we usually pass down my older daughter's items to the younger one, and then donate my older girls stuff. As much as I don't want to be attached to things, there are some pieces that are sentimental of these past five years and to preserve these mementos (and clean out the clutter) I used Project Repat, a company that allows you to preserve your favorite shirts by turning them into useful and functional blankets.
How it works is simple- order a blanket size on Project Repat (some sizes include 3x3, 5x5, 8x8 and more) where they will send you a pre-paid envelope. You then fill it up with your old t-shirts and drop them off in the post office and within two weeks your old shirts become a useful and functional blanket filled with memories.
We tested this out and I loved that there was a way to stay connected to my girls old shirts (and essentially the past 5 years) and that was created in this new blanket. My daughters loved looking at the patches and seeing their old shirts. For my husband and I it was a trip down memory lane as we saw shirts that we remembered when my older daughter was a toddler and shirts for when my youngest was a baby. It was remarkable to be connected to these moments without having the shirt that they once wore. Lined with fleece, we keep it in our girls' room and I can't help but smile when I see this unique and special I loved looking at our t-shirt quilt blanket that has no much meaning.
I also loved how Project Repat and their partnership with NuPath, Inc., a non-profit organization in Woburn, Massachusetts that employs individuals with disabilities, has created such a useful and incredible product for families. This is also great for horders, students or anyone who has too much and wants to still hold on.
Great for holiday gift ideas or as a way to clear up the clutter, Project Repat is an incredible way to upcycle while preserving those precious memories.
We also had the chance to chat with Ross Lohr, one of the founders of Project Repat, about this incredible business model:
Momtrends: How did the idea of Project Repat come about:
Ross Lohr: I was running a non-profit organization in East Africa, and I was stuck in a terrible traffic jam. After 2 hours, we finally got to the front and found out what caused the accident: an overturned fruit and vegetable rickshaw pushed by a Kenyan man wearing a t-shirt that said "I danced my ass off at Josh's bar mitzvah."
Americans love their t-shirts - we get a new one for every race we run, every time we volunteer, and every event we participate in. Not to mention all the t-shirts from high school and college. T-shirts are as American as apple pie. We heard from customers that they wanted something they could do with all their old t-shirts - their memories were so strong and they didn't want to get rid of them even if they don't wear them anymore. We heard customers asking for an affordable t-shirt quilt - quilts can cost up to $500! So we made a more affordable t-shirt blanket using high quality polartec fleece, and the rest is history!
Momtrends: How did you decide to team up with NuPath to work on this project?
Ross: NuPath was recommended to us by a family friend who told us about the great work they were doing. We were just starting out and we were looking for a place in Massachusetts that could make our t-shirt blankets for us. They have such an inspiring mission - providing employment opportunities and services to individuals with disabilities. They produced such wonderful blankets and really helped us get started! Since then we've branched out to other production partners in Massachusetts paying their workers a fair and living wage, including a women-led lean manufacturing startup in Lawrence, MA called 99Degrees Custom.
Momtrends: How do they decide on what patterns to create for the blankets?
Ross: Our designers do a really amazing job of spreading out colors and making the blanket look great. We just try to make the overall aesthetic of the blanket amazing - sometimes they like to play around with patterns and colors. But most importantly, we capture the best parts of the shirts and make sure the logos look really great!
Momtrends: What has been the reaction of Project Repat with consumers?
Ross:We have such an amazing connection with our customers. We know we are creating something really meaningful for them - these are their prized t-shirt memories! From the mom of a kid going off to college with a closet full of high school memories, to someone who has recently lost a loved one, we have such a powerful storytelling product. We get tons of notes from our customers who love to tell us their stories. Check out this recent facebook post:
Check out this video to learn even more about the company!
Momtrends was not paid for this post. We were given a complimentary blanket for review purposes.