Jeremy Litchfield takes pride in the fact that his products were once trash. The founder of Atayne, an athletic apparel company, literally uses recycled garbage and environmentally friendly materials to create his line of clothing.
The idea for this company originated from a bad experience he had with another company — which is now one of his competitors. While out on an eight-mile jog during a humid day, he wore a new red performance shirt. As he reached the end of his track, Litchfield realized that his shirt had been running as well; he had red dye running down his torso. Furious at first, Litchfield channeled his frustration to create a new idea for business.
He did research to support his abstract business concept, only to find out that a lot of performance apparels deviate from his values. As an avowed environmentalist, Litchfield decided to create an alternative sportswear that is both better for consumers and the environment.
The following day, Litchfield quit his job in consumer insights and brand strategy for a company called RedPeg Marketing. He used six months of savings to start the company, without any background in apparel. The budding entrepreneur went through a difficult time at first, living in the basements of friends as he established his start-up. Atayne, clothing made out of trash, was launched in May 2007 but it didn’t earn sales until August 2008.
Although the financial aspect of Litchfield’s company is not yet stable, it has gained the attention of various media organizations. The founder himself also earned the respect of many peers in the industry for integrating his core values into his business. For Litchfield, it has never been a matter of going green to make green. What matters most is his advocacy and customer satisfaction. Profits will follow soon after.
Litchfield is not the most successful entrepreneur as of yet, but he is certainly one of the most principled.