SuperCircle is a pioneering fashion technology company leading the shift towards a more circular economy. Founded in 2020, SuperCircle has created the first ever experiential recycling program that incentivizes consumers to recycle their unwanted clothing and textiles.
Through its reverse logistics technology and platform, SuperCircle provides solutions for fashion brands seeking to reduce textile waste and operate more sustainably.
Led by Stuart Ahlum, Chief Operating Officer, and Chloe Songer (CEO), the company partners with major fashion retailers to install collection points in stores where customers can deposit used clothing and textiles.
In exchange, customers earn rewards to shop with partner brands. SuperCircle then recycles the collected items, keeping textiles in circulation and out of landfills.
In just over two years, the company has scaled rapidly and is setting the standard for responsible textile recycling.
By creating this circular experience, they aim to recycle millions of pounds of fashion waste over the next decade.
Below is an interview with Stuart Ahlum, Chief Operating Officer of SuperCircle.
Q: What was the lightbulb moment – origin story of SuperCircle?
Stuart: After spending the early years of our careers in retail and manufacturing, me and my co-founder, Chloe Songer (CEO), noticed a rapidly growing need for supply chain transparency, new material innovation, and circularity in the fashion industry.
With big hopes of reducing consumer waste and enabling circular systems for fashion, we combined our experience and knowledge to introduce circular production through their two companies: Thousand Fell and SuperCircle.
After years of R&D, we launched Thousand Fell in 2019, the world’s first fully circular/recyclable sneaker.
After using Thousand Fell as a test bench for scalable circularity, and recognizing that there was a lack of technology and critical infrastructure in the textile recycling space, we created SuperCircle.
SuperCircle connects the fragmented waste management system through digitization and scalable reverse logistics, bridging the gap between waste management, supply chain partners, and recycling innovators.
Q: What is SuperCircle’s mission and vision?
Stuart: SuperCircle powers circularity for the world’s leading fashion brands. The first ever experiential recycling program where customers get paid to participate in the circular economy, SuperCircle redefines how millions of textiles will be disposed of over the next 10 years.
Our technology and reverse logistics system creates the bridge between retail and waste management, and tackles the problem of post-consumer textile waste.
This platform is setting the course for the future of the industry.
We believe that together we can end textile waste and redefine the sustainability narrative for the next generation – one that is inclusive, affordable, and full circle.
Q: How does SuperCircle impact lives and/or the environment in a positive way?
Stuart: We are powering successful take-back and recycling programs for brands such as Reformation, Parachute, tentree, Uniqlo US, A.L.C., Subset, and more, with dozens in the pipeline for 2024.
Since launching in 2022, the platform has powered post-consumer recycling programs for brands and recycled over 1 million garments.
Partners on the platform have seen strong ROI through customer trade in, providing a scalable circular solution that aligns their business revenue and environmental goals.
Q: How has the company been funded thus far?
Stuart: We raised $7M in Pre-Series A financing to scale and meet the surging demand for its textile recycling solutions for brands and retailers.
This round was co-led by Radicle Impact and Ulu Ventures, with additional investors including Earthshot Ventures, BBG Ventures, Lyra Ventures, and Blueprint Ventures.
Q: What tools do you and the team use to run Supercircle?
Stuart: The team uses many tools for day-to-day work. The team uses Salesforce, Slack, AWS, and Notion.
The team also uses many others tools.
We also have our own tech team that develops proprietary SuperCircle tech that we use to power the circular economy for textiles.