Project image
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$8,249
pledged of $12,000pledged of $12,000 goal
137
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, March 6 2019 6:02 AM UTC +00:00
Tys SweeneyBy Tys Sweeney
First created
Tys SweeneyBy Tys Sweeney
First created
$8,249
pledged of $12,000pledged of $12,000 goal
137
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, March 6 2019 6:02 AM UTC +00:00

About

Niki sporting her Boardwalk
Niki sporting her Boardwalk

Black Brook is a new clothing company, founded on the principle of sustainable, ethical business. The stream our company is named for flows through a town of the same name in the Adirondack Park, burbling through managed forests and protected woodlands. We believe clothing should be comfortable, sustainable, and affordable—ours is. 

Our dream is larger than a clothing brand. We aim to build a sustainable, vertically integrated supply chain that benefits everyone from our workers to our consumers, and of course, the planet. Our ethical pillars guide us to bring something consumers want to the market in a way the planet needs.

Our Promise

From this beginning, we are dedicated to...

  • Sustainability: A green supply chain and giving back to the Earth as much as we use. We aim to have as much of our production recycled and organic as possible, and commit to due diligence in our operations.
  • Fair Labor: Equitable pay for employees and laborers of every level. We intend to register with the Fair Labor Association as soon as is feasible. 
  • Compassion: We don't produce with wool yet, but when we do, it will be organic, and the sheep and goats will live happily.
  • Transparency: We are honest about our supply and manufacturing, and we are transparent about how our money is used. Yes, we want to make a profit, but giving back is essential, too, and we'll always be up front about where our grants and donations are going.
  • A bright future: We believe in a world where consumers can purchase what they need without doing harm to our environment. We believe in conscientious economics.

This is our living philosophy, one we hope to bring to market with your help. 

Will rocking his Boardwalk
Will rocking his Boardwalk

Overview

We designed the Boardwalk to be cozy, comfortable, and clean. It’s made of soft, high-quality recycled polyester that's warm when dry or wet. Our breathable fleece is named for the boardwalk at the Silver Lake Bog Preserve in the Adirondack town of Black Brook. The trail’s boardwalk allows hikers to experience the bog without damaging the sensitive ecosystem. Our boardwalk has a similar goal: keep our customers warm and comfortable without damaging our world.

In other fleeces you’ll find plastic zippers that get stuck or break; we designed ours with a metal zipper and pulled it 500 times to test for quality. It passed. The Boardwalk is breathable and exceptionally soft, intended to be functional yet simple. 

What truly sets the Boardwalk apart, however, isn’t the quick-dry fleece, its cozy comfort, or its durability. It’s the mission. All Black Brook clothing, starting here with our first, is tasked with delivering a high-quality experience to the customer while doing right by our planet. The Boardwalk is special; it begins our journey. 

We don’t want to start and end with this one fleece; we want to deliver a dream that our customers can take part in. We want to build a community of ethical consumers and sustainable suppliers, from here, from the Boardwalk.

The Boardwalk pullover is available in Thunderhead (Pictured), Lake, Red Autumn, and Cream, and will retail for an affordable $35 (you can get yours for $25 by backing our project here).

Help us meet our stretch goals of $14,000 and $18,000 to unlock Red Autumn and Cream.

**Note** Backers will pick their size and color by survey after the campaign.


The Boardwalk is designed to optimize comfort, affordability, and sustainability
The Boardwalk is designed to optimize comfort, affordability, and sustainability
the colors displayed are estimates--the final fleece will match these colors as closely as possible, but may not be exactly as displayed
the colors displayed are estimates--the final fleece will match these colors as closely as possible, but may not be exactly as displayed

Why we’re Kickstarting

Black Brook is an ambitious project. Our goal isn’t only to make sustainable clothing, but to build a vertically integrated supply chain that is ethical and dedicated to providing the highest quality to our customers. Below is an estimate of our use of funds.

We set our project goal at $12000 to cover the basic launch. The more people pledge, the more our production costs will grow proportionally (because more fleeces). This chart is an estimate of the use of funds in the spirit of transparency, but we hope to reach a much larger scale.
We set our project goal at $12000 to cover the basic launch. The more people pledge, the more our production costs will grow proportionally (because more fleeces). This chart is an estimate of the use of funds in the spirit of transparency, but we hope to reach a much larger scale.

While we can’t donate any of the money from our campaign, our business model is designed to optimize benefit for both Black Brook and the wider community. With the money we raise here we will be able to launch the Boardwalk fleece and dedicate money to developing further great products. 

In the short-run, all of our proceeds will be used to grow Black Brook, develop new products, and establish market presence. This will include web development, acquisition of more wholesale partners, and market research. 

While we do have an aggressive reinvestment strategy, in the long-term we aim to set aside at least 45% of our profits for charity and community development. Our goal is to use our profits to fund Black Brook operations in two distinct ways.

1. Growth & Expansion (55%): We will reserve 55% of profits from future products for the growth of Black Brook as a company. This includes, but is not limited to, hiring designers and a promotion team, and acquiring land where to build our own factory, produce our own organic wool, and generate renewable energy. Building a vertical supply chain will allow us to distribute profit channels rather than solely relying on end-product retail & wholesale.

When we talk about a sustainable supply chain, that means eliminating waste at every level, paying all our workers fair wages, salaries, and benefits, and delivering affordable, high-quality products to our customers.

Ultimately, spending in this category could total well below 55%, but this is the maximum.

2. Grants, Giving, and Community Development (45%): We want to build strong relationships with our communities. Our founder, Tys, grew up in the Adirondacks, where human society and the environment are actively managed to coexist peacefully. Green energy and sustainability are part of his background, and helping families and communities transition to green energy sources is part of his mission with Black Brook.

This mission will be accomplished through a grant program, micro-loans, and direct giving. Green Families and Communities Grant money will be provided by Black Brook to aid families, schools, and community centers transition to energy sources like geothermal and solar, and to aid small non-profits with environmental and community missions.

Further, Black Brook will actively seek to commit micro-loans to the development of green energy in the business community. As cornerstones of our towns and cities, small businesses set a precedent for the broader community, and aiding in the transition to green energy through micro-finance will help communities grow and provide Black Brook with a secondary income stream.

Lastly, Black Brook will gift excess funds to organizations large and small that address human rights, the environment, and environmental education. Certain limited-edition clothing could be tied directly to a particular organization, and it is possible customer surveys could direct a portion of our funds at the end of each year.

The Silverlake boardwalk is pictured here
The Silverlake boardwalk is pictured here

We have stretch goals! At $14,000 we'll release the option to order your Boardwalk in cream, and at $18,000 the option to order it in red autumn. Once we hit $25,000, we'll be offering a knit hat free to ALL of our backers. That hat will be either 100% cashmere or organic bamboo, by vote, and multiple colors will be available.

More awesome stretch goals will be announced as we go-- always ethically produced!

Share our project to help us meet our goals: building a community is a community effort!

Meet the founder

I'm Tys. I'm a student at Tufts University, and I love economics and the natural world. I've been an entrepreneur since I was small. I started my first ever "trading box" in the fourth grade--I would trade elementary school knick knacks for more valuable goodies, like candy and paperclips. Since then I've run my own jewelry business with many wholesale accounts, built a newspaper, managed a web design company, and consulted for the expansion team of a global food delivery company. I know business, and I love it. With Black Brook I aim to build more than a business: I want to build a community of like-minded consumers and suppliers, taking no more from the Earth than we can give back. Environmental ethics, fair labor, and transparency, all influenced by my childhood in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of New York, drive my passion to for ethical economics. I hope you'll come with me on this journey-- we can build this dream together. 

I'd love to get to know everyone who supports this campaign and the birth of Black Brook Apparel. I'll write you each a letter of thanks when we've concluded here, and together it will be a bright and beautiful future.

A Note on Shipping

Shipping is not included in the price of the pledge. Domestic shipping is ~5 per fleece. For wholesale partners, shipping is billed at $0 and negotiated after the fact depending on volume. International shipping costs us significantly more than domestic. We will keep all of our backers informed about logistics as the project moves forward. If your fleece is deliverable in person, or you pick up your fleece, then the delivery fee will be refunded to you by check.

Risks and challenges

Black Brook is a new company. There are risks inherent in that, including delays in shipping and manufacture. We have an agreement with a factory that is ready to produce the Boardwalk once we have our final order. Risks going forward are those any new company faces: competition, unexpected expenses, unforeseen economic events. Our intention is to establish ourselves as a manufacturer of affordable, high-quality sustainable gear and defend our position through community engagement, rigorous marketing, and continued development of new products. The greatest challenge we face is establishing a market presence without harming the environment. We’ve vetted our supplier and our material, and we will work to improve our supply chain, becoming more sustainable and more integrated, as we go forward.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Trailhead

    We'll mail you a limited-edition Black Brook launch-day pin, and we'll keep you in the loop with a memo detailing our progress as a new company. Thank you for your support and your commitment to sustainable business!

    Includes:
    • Black Brook Enamel Pin
    • Progress Memo
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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
    $
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    1: The Boardwalk

    Get your Boardwalk fleece for $25. Fun fact: wearing our fleece is like wearing a very clean sheep.

    Includes:
    • Boardwalk fleece
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    70 backers
    $
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    2: Mountainclimber

    Get two Boardwalk pullovers! I'll write you a personalized letter of thanks for your support, and for your commitment to green business practices. As a bonus, you'll get one of our Black Brook launch day pins! Fun fact: fleeces are a great way to keep warm on a breezy mountaintop.

    Includes:
    • Boardwalk fleece
    • Black Brook Enamel Pin
    • Black Brook "Mountaintop" Vinyl Sticker
    • Handwritten letter of thanks
    • Progress Memo
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    32 backers
    $
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 70 or more About US$ 70

    3: Overnighter

    Want three boardwalk fleeces? Mix and match colors, get our launch day enamel pin, and become an Early Access member. Early Access members are notified of new products before the hit the shelves, and have the opportunity to buy before the rest of the market. It's a good little club. Fun fact: fleeces are a great way to stay cozy in a sleeping bag when you're overnighting.

    Includes:
    • Boardwalk fleece
    • Black Brook Enamel Pin
    • One Year Early Access Membership
    • Black Brook "Camping" Vinyl Sticker
    • Black Brook "Mountaintop" Vinyl Sticker
    • Progress Memo
    • Handwritten letter of thanks
    Less
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    20 backers
    $
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 270 or more About US$ 270

    Wholesale Partnership

    We will retail the Boardwalk for $35, but the wholesale price is only $18. If you buy at least 15, you'll get that price. For anyone wishing to be a wholesale partner, purchase this reward, and we'd love to discuss specifics with you as soon as possible (colors, sizing distribution). Custom embroidery available but not included in price. Shipping will be billed here as $0 and negotiated later depending on volume. To order more than 15, add $18 per additional fleece to your pledge. Thank you for your support!

    Includes:
    • 15× Boardwalk fleece
    • Display card for retail
    Less
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    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 2 backers
    $
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    Founders Club

    Want to be listed on our website as a member of the Founders Club? Forever? You'll also get fleeces for your entire immediate family (up to six), as well as an equal number of our enamel pins, one lifetime (non-transferable) Early-Access membership, and a handwritten thank-you note. Fun fact: family fleece photos are better than family PJs photos.

    Includes:
    • Boardwalk fleece
    • Black Brook Enamel Pin
    • Lifetime Early Access Membership
    • Recognition on website
    • Stickers
    • Progress Memo
    • Handwritten letter of thanks
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 750 or more About US$ 750

    The Black Brook Club

    Everything you would get if you joined the Founders Club, PLUS sit-ins on board meetings (we will establish a board by the end of 2019) and early notification, and option to give feedback, on major decision making. Plus: we'll embroider your fleeces for you. You'll have an informal advisory position you voluntarily take on because you LOVE what Black Brook is about.

    Includes:
    • Boardwalk fleece
    • Black Brook Enamel Pin
    • Custom Emrboidery
    • Seat in the Black Brook Boardroom
    • Recognition on website
    • Handwritten letter of thanks
    • Lifetime Early Access Membership
    • Progress Memo
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
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Funding period

- (30 days)