Jennifer Feller and Sam Palmer met in 1995 working at Patagonia on Newbury Street, and now their lives have come full circle- running a business together that repurposes old Patagonia fleeces into hip, protective Kindle and iPad cases. Their company, ReFleece, came out of their shared environmental ethos and Sam’s tinkering in their Arlington basement.
A product designer who had worked at Patagonia helping to develop their first surfboard, Sam was working at a startup solar company that laid him off. Looking to start his own company and product line, he used some old fleeces he had lying around from his Patagonia days to create a bowl. “Bowls are cool, but we wanted something with a little more utility,” Jennifer told me. They started brainstorming more useful products and came up with their first line of electronics cases. “When you look at fleece, you think of the outdoors- indestructible, put it in a backpack, protective, lightweight, and water-protective. They weigh nothing; these are the same qualities you’d want to protect an electronic,” explained Jennifer.
Jennifer and Sam considered sustainability at every level of the manufacturing process. The lining for the cases is made out of discarded Patagonia jackets that are cleaned, cut, and pressed. The outer shell is made from a 100% post-consumer and post-industrial scrap fleece, which is made out of recycled plastic bottles. The cases are made to be recycled- thus they have no glue to interfere with the recycling process. They do not add any dyes, which means that no excess dyes end up in our water systems or as waste. The cases are designed and prototyped in Somerville and Arlington, and the cases are manufactured in the U.S. Finally, the packaging is recyclable or compostable, and they ship the packages without plastic bags when possible (fleece is waterproof- so why waste the bags?).
They have a new line of products coming out- so stay tuned to find out what’s next for ReFleece.
You can check out ReFleece here: http://www.refleece.com/
Learn more about Patagonia’s Common Threads recycling program.
About the green blog
Helping Boston live a greener, more environmentally friendly life.
Beth Daley covers environmental issues for the Globe. Gideon Gil is the Globe's Health/Science editor. Erin Ailworth covers energy and the business of the environment for the Globe. Christopher Reidy covers business for the Globe. Glenn Yoder produces Boston.com's Lifestyle pages. Eric Bauer is site architect of Boston.com. Bennie DiNardo is the Boston Globe's deputy managing editor/multimedia. Dara Olmsted is a local sustainability professional focusing on green living.