As twins, our journey started in the womb! We inherited our startup spirit from a long line of entrepreneurs, and were raised believing in endless possibility and encouraged to think outside the box! We grew up endlessly brainstorming ways we could work together and what we could create together. We have a laundry list of business “almosts”, but with Nudnik, for the first time, everything just kept coming together. We wanted to move beyond standard notions of “sustainability” and develop new and inventive ways to not only sustain ourselves on this planet, but to thrive! Our father co-founded a waste management company here in Ontario over 45 years ago. We spent a collective 20+ years working for him, creating recycling programs and waste diversion strategies for clients, and began noticing and influx of textile waste and no systems in place to handle it. Perfectly good fabric scraps and off-cut materials were ending up in landfill or incinerated, and we saw this as a big opportunity! Knowing the fashion industry is now the second largest global polluter, we believed that there was a way to creative “Negative Waste, Positive Impact” products that not only combat the growing global waste problem but that actively seek to help solve it.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Originally we were sourcing and manufacturing right here in Toronto, until access to material dried up. We were forced to reevaluate our supply chain and look beyond our backyard. Textile waste isn’t just a local issue, its a global problem, and we decided to go to the source, overseas. We identified “cutting waste” as an untapped opportunity, and the idea of working with large apparel manufacturers made sense to us. We now have incredible partners that create 9 million garments a month and 150 tonnes of textile waste bi-weekly, giving Nudnik the opportunity to make real impact .
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
These days, with our manic schedules, we prefer podcasts and audio books! In particular, “The Gary Vee Audio Experience”, “The School of Greatness”, “Rise”, and “The Art of the Hustle”.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have nothing but support, encouragement and patience from our inner circle! In fact, we couldn’t have taken the plunge without them! It’s terrifying to leave your comfort zone and a steady paycheque, especially with kids and mortgages. Having those closest to us truly understand the patience, time and commitment needed to foster our dream has been truly a blessing.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Our purpose. The spirit of Nudnik is to approach every situation with curiosity, compassion, and a commitment to always envision a better way.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Knowing you can’t do it all yourself! Truly identifying your strengths and weaknesses give you direction, and knowing and understanding when to ask for help is critical in moving forward!
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Every business now should be viewed through an environmental lens and designed so that they save resources. Developing elevated and creative solutions for the circular economy give businesses a competitive advantage. They are also invaluable for people and regenerative for our world.