Long Wharf Supply Co. innovatively spins yarn from oyster shells, crafting sustainable maritime fashion while aiding ocean restoration efforts.
Long Wharf Supply Co., a Massachusetts-based maritime knitwear brand, is making waves in the sustainable fashion industry with its innovative SeaWell collection. Founded by Mike Lamagna, the company crafts garments from yarns spun from oyster shells, a unique approach that aligns with Lamagna's passion for oysters and the sea. This technique is not only safe for those with shellfish allergies but also surprises customers with the softness of the finished product.
The company employs patented nanotechnology to process recycled oyster shells into calcium carbonate powder, which is then combined with pellets made from recycled PET water bottles. This fusion of recycled materials creates rPET thread, allowing each garment to divert approximately five oyster shells and eight plastic water bottles from landfills. The final product is a blend of rPET thread and cotton or lambswool, depending on the desired weight and texture of the garment.
Long Wharf Supply Co. is steeped in history and family tradition. Named after Boston’s historic Long Wharf, Lamagna’s company pays homage to his great grandfather, who worked as a wool sorter on the wharf. The brand’s aesthetic and quality are deeply influenced by the textile manufacturing legacy of New England and the founder's familial connections to the industry.
Despite facing financial challenges and the impact of the global pandemic, Long Wharf Supply Co. has experienced significant growth, with Lamagna expecting to approach $10 million in sales in 2023. The company, which started with Lamagna investing the last few thousand dollars in his bank account in 2016, has remained a bootstrapped, customer-funded, and profitable venture. Lamagna even turned down a $375,000 Shark Tank offer for 45% of his business in 2021, viewing the experience as a learning opportunity to refine the brand’s storytelling and online presence.
The SeaWell collection, introduced in 2020, was initially funded by the accessory wholesale business. After facing order cancellations due to the pandemic, Lamagna turned to Kickstarter, raising $75,000 and selling out the first SeaWell sweaters. The collection generated $1 million in sales in 2021 and about $2 million in 2022.
Beyond fashion, Lamagna has a profound connection to the sea and is committed to ocean restoration. He collaborates with organizations like the Massachusetts Oyster Project and Billion Oyster Project to reseed oyster beds. Oysters play a crucial role in marine ecosystems, filtering large volumes of seawater and removing harmful substances, thus contributing to the health of regional waters. According to Fast Company, each SeaWell sweater contributes to reseeding up to 30 oysters, which can naturally filter up to 1,500 gallons of seawater daily. To date, Long Wharf has aided in reseeding over 900,000 oysters, filtering over 45 million gallons of seawater every day, with the imminent goal of reaching the 1 millionth oyster.
Long Wharf Supply Co. not only offers maritime-inspired garments but also embodies a mission of sustainability and ocean conservation. The brand’s journey, marked by innovation, resilience, and a deep connection to maritime heritage, reflects a broader movement towards environmentally conscious fashion, blending style with ecological responsibility.
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