SuperCircle is a pioneering fashion technology company driving the shift towards a more circular economy. Founded in 2020, SuperCircle launched the first-ever experiential recycling program, encouraging consumers to recycle their unwanted clothing and textiles.
Through its reverse logistics technology and platform, SuperCircle offers solutions for fashion brands that want to reduce textile waste and operate more sustainably.
Led by Stuart Ahlum, Chief Operating Officer, and Chloe Songer (CEO), the company works with major fashion retailers to set up in-store collection points where customers can deposit used clothing and textiles.
In return, customers receive rewards for shopping with partner brands. SuperCircle then recycles the collected items, ensuring textiles stay in circulation and out of landfills.
In just over two years, the company has grown rapidly and is setting standards 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.
Stuart Ahlum, Chief Operating Officer, and Chloe Songer (CEO) – SuperCircle
Q: What was the aha moment – the origin story of SuperCircle?
Stuart: After spending the early years of our careers in retail and manufacturing, I and my co-founder Chloe Songer (CEO) noticed a rapidly growing need for supply chain transparency, new material innovations and circular economy in the fashion industry.
With great hopes of reducing consumer waste and enabling circular systems for fashion, we have pooled our experience and knowledge to introduce circular production through their two companies, Thousand Fell and SuperCircle.
After years of research and development, in 2019 we launched Thousand Fell, the world’s first fully circular/recyclable sneaker.
After using Thousand Fell as a testbed for scalable circularity and recognizing that the textile recycling space lacked technology and critical infrastructure, we founded SuperCircle.
SuperCircle connects the fragmented waste management system through digitalization and scalable reverse logistics, bridging the gap between waste management, supply chain partners and recycling innovators.
Q: What is the mission and vision of SuperCircle?
Stuart: SuperCircle promotes the circular economy for the world’s leading fashion brands. SuperCircle is the first experiential recycling program that pays customers to participate in the circular economy. SuperCircle is redefining how millions of textiles will be disposed of over the next 10 years.
Our technology and reverse logistics system bridges the gap between retail and waste management and addresses the problem of post-consumer textile waste.
This platform sets 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 positively impact life and/or the environment?
Stuart: We support successful take-back and recycling programs for brands like Reformation, Parachute, tentree, Uniqlo US, ALC, Subset and more, with dozens in the pipeline for 2024.
Since its launch in 2022, the platform has powered post-consumer recycling programs for brands and recycled over 1 million garments.
Partners on the platform have achieved strong ROI through customer trade-ins, providing a scalable circular solution that balances their business revenue and environmental goals.
Q: How has the company been financed so far?
Stuart: We raised $7 million in pre-Series A funding to scale and meet increasing demand for 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 their daily work. The team uses Salesforce. The team uses AWS. The team uses Slack. The team uses Notion. The team also uses many other tools.
We also have our own technology team developing proprietary SuperCircle technology, which we use to advance the circular economy for textiles.
Grant is the founder of Causeartist, one of the most influential impact business platforms in the world. Since 2013, Causeartist has been read in over 150 countries. Grant has personally interviewed more than 700 impact entrepreneurs from around the world, highlighting innovations in ethical fashion, climate change, ethical technology, impact investing and sustainable travel.