Sustainability Spotlight: Taylor Berghane
Taylor is a Sustainable Millennial who is part of the team at Pine Outfitters. This is a lifestyle outerwear brand dedicated to saving the environment for those who want to live outside of the norm. For every product sold, a tree is planted through the National Forest Foundation, AND each shirt is comprised of 5 recycled plastic bottles. Taylor “Embraces the Wild Side” with Pine, and in his daily life as an entrepreneur living in New York City.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut and went to school down in North Carolina at Elon University. I became interested in entrepreneurship by starting a needlepoint company with my friend when I was down there. This was mainly for key fobs for sororities and stuff like that. [How did that turn out?] Great--I put in over ten thousand dollars into the company, and we broke even. We did it for over a year and a half. We were in a store in Connecticut and were able to create custom orders for corporate companies which was pretty cool. I then moved to New York City, and due to the distance between us and our consumers, we decided to move on from the company.
Elon was super preppy which is why a lot of people had interest in the product that we had down there. I always think about bringing that back though. That's where i first doing that e-commerce entrepreneurship and loved it. When I heard what Danny [Neeson] was doing I wanted to help out and brainstorm in whatever way I could.
So you work for Pine Outfitters full-time?
Well my full-time job is in technology recruiting in New York City. However, this job is very flexible with me doing my work and working for Pine.
Where does your interest in Pine stem from?
I was interested because of the social good aspect of Pine. Danny first thought of Pine as a Lululemon meets Burton in terms of the style which I thought was really cool. I thought I could bring my prior entrepreneurship experience to help lay a strong foundation for the company and move us forward from a product standpoint.
My mom has instilled environmental activism in me from such a young age, which is shown in my experiences at this company. The fashion industry is the biggest player in creating waste and impacting the environment negatively. We have taken it a step further to make our shirts out fibers made from recycled water bottles. Each shirt is made of 50% REPREVE® Recycled Polyester/37% Modal/13% Cotton blend. Repreve® polyester is made from recycled plastic bottles (or recycled content). Products made with Repreve® help conserve energy and natural resources. If you actually feel the fabric it's super soft. It’s so much softer than an average t-shirt and is still very breathable. It's an awesome material it feels like butter, almost.
Can you give us your quick elevator pitch for Pine so that our readers can get a better idea of who you are?
Pine is not active-wear, not sportswear, rather Pine Outfitters is for those who want to live outside of the norm. Our motto is to “Embrace the Wild Side” and “Save Trees”. It's like street-wear meets the outdoors. We want to encourage people to wear Pine and chase their dreams. Whether you're into extreme sports, or you're a weekend warrior who likes to travel, we want to be a brand that everyone can get behind. The reason we do Pine is that it's amazing to see the following:
How people connect with our mission (planting a tree for every shirt sold, using sustainable fabrics to make a high-quality, sustainably made product)
Having a passion for helping the environment. It takes one person to take action to make a difference. We want to encourage that and lift people up and give them a space to do that. It's a lifestyle and community brand that we are creating. We are the brand for that person who hustles in New York Monday through Friday, but then heads up to Vermont or Maine on the weekend, who lives outside the norm and on their own terms
Is that you?
Haha yes. I am not your typical 27-year-old; I am an employee at a very small startup and run with Pine with three other guys. I’m constantly thinking of ways to give value to others and I think that's something that Pine really encourages as well. It’s that whole concept of leading with value. Whether we're doing a fundraiser or an event we want to give more value than we are receiving and that's how I want to live my life
How many trees have been planted as a result of Pine so far?
[Editor’s Note: By planting 50 million trees in our National Forests, the country will be investing in healthy forests for not only today, but also for future generations to reap the benefits. This will help to restore tens of thousands of acres of wildlife habitats. This movement will protect the watersheds that provide life’s most sustaining resources for cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle, and thousands of other communities. As these trees grow, they will fight global climate change and ensure that wildlife has a healthy place to live.]
We at Pine want to be as big of a part of this movement as we can. We want to get that tree count up and are planning a fundraiser for the National Forest Foundation in April or June. Our goal is to raise 50,000 dollars and to plant 50,000 trees to help with their goal of 50 million. Pine is more than just clothing--it's this whole idea of sustainability and giving back. We are all about raising awareness and therefore we want to contribute to these initiatives as much as possible.We are building a community here in New York City through ambassadors and interview series which is great. Together, let's create a community of people who care about being sustainable, sustainable fashion, being conscious of what you are wearing. We want this to be a platform where we are supporting each other and give value back to others. Our thought process is if we can do these videos and it encourages one person to take initiative with a sustainable cause, we consider it a success. Pine is more than a product-- it's a community and a lifestyle.
Totally agree with your approach. We at Sustainable Millennial are trying to make average people give a shit about the environment-- not just people who already care. There are lots of groups of people who care and have cared for a while like zero-waste people, low-waste communities, vegans, etc.
There is extensive research showing that consumers are willing to pay more for things that have ethical value. Do you find that more people getting into ethical brands? What are you guys seeing on your end?.
We study a lot about pricing and those trends in the markets. It's super interesting. There are brands out there that claim to be sustainable but they use plastic tags and paper hang tags on their clothing. We made that mistake too. We made a few small blunders with our first line at Bloomingdales. That was a huge learning experience for us and the whole process was insane. Looking at Fashion Week this year, there was a huge focus on sustainability and I don't think that used to be the case in prior years. It's definitely coming to the forefront as sustainability is moving into the forefront of industries. We are working to make our brand fully sustainable from the sourcing and materials. There are specific details we focus on like whether it's a hemp fabric and recycled paper for the hang tags and no plastic.
What has been the most fun part of your experience?
The most fun part has been working with Danny Neeson (Founder/CEO), Danny Bugniazet (COO), Adam Millman (CFO). It's been awesome figuring it all out together. It's such a learning curve in the best way possible. We figure it out together and we all make it together. It's been so fun to learn with each other and go through this learning process together and overcome it together. It's been the best and quickest learning experience of my life.
What has been the most challenging part of Pine?
Figuring out the fashion industry is tough. Fortunately we know a few people we can ask for advice, but the most challenging aspect is figuring out how it all works. How to get products to them in the specific ways, the product life cycle is huge. From sourcing, to production, to getting designs made, samples made, to actually fulfilling the orders, this process is complex. We have fortunately been successful in our efforts and hopefully the moving parts will smooth out as we grow. We now know that X Company does X part (such as tagging for the brand) while Y Company does Y part, (such as tagging for pricing). There are lots of moving parts in this industry.
Where can people find your product if they are interested?
Do you have any upcoming events we should look out for?
Hopefully in June we will have the big fundraiser: Pine Outfitters x National Forest Foundation: Road to 50 Million Trees. We want to bring together athletes and influencers for more of an exclusive event. It won’t be open to the public, but we will sell tickets in advance.
Pine Outfitters has super soft and sustainable clothing pieces that are so cool for any weekend warrior! Pine strives to create and promote a product that is durable, fashion-forward, and a symbol of our beautiful environment around the world. Give them a follow on Instagram to keep up-to-date with their whereabouts.