Where did you get the idea to make a circuit board tie?
TechWears was founded in 2014 by Zero Waste enthusiast and ecopreneur, Junkman Drew. Drew has long been fascinated by circuit boards and technology, yet also deeply concerned about the environmental impacts of the ever-growing electronic waste stream. While working as Director of Business Development for Blue Star Recyclers, a pioneering Social Enterprise electronics recycler in Colorado, he searched everywhere online for a neck tie made from real circuit boards. When he couldn’t find one, he took matters into his own hands and decided to make one himself!
The tie quickly became a signature item for Drew. He was encouraged by a friend to submit it to an art show and show it off. He reluctantly agreed because it would be good publicity for Blue Star Recyclers even though the tie was not for sale. When he went to pick it up, an admirer had left a generous offer for the tie, so Drew decided to sell it. He quickly had to make another upcycled circuit board tie, so he could continue enjoying the benefits of wearing an engaging conversation starter when making sales calls.
Drew then began to make circuit board earrings as gifts for friends. They were such a hit that his friends began to request he make his earrings available for purchase. Again, Drew’s friends knew better than he did, and the earrings also became a hit. Eventually, Drew decided to quit his job and go all in producing upcycled circuit board ties and jewelry.
Why change TechWears from being a fun hobby to a full-blown manufacturing startup?
Throughout the summer of 2014, Drew was surprised at the response of the public to his amateur crafting with recycled circuit boards. Drew began to realize that he had stumbled into a vocation that ignited his passion and revealed potential unlike any business venture he had tried before. Creating a fun and engaging product line that is so deeply rooted in sustainability was just the kind of happy accident Drew had been waiting for.
It hasn’t all been fun and games. Drew didn’t know the first thing about manufacturing, e-commerce, wholesale markets, or merchandising when he started out. He’s leaned on a lot of friends and had a lot of help from colleagues along the way. TechWears might now be approaching the half-way to half way mark, but Drew knows that if he keeps learning, growing, and positioning the business to scale, with a little luck TechWears will find the right opportunities to work with partners to increase access to STEAM education and reduce pollution.
What kind of impact does TechWears hope to make for the benefit of society and the environment?
Our mission statement: Advancing conscious consumption through beautiful wearable tech!
Planned Obsolesce is a crime against the economy, the consumer, and the environment. We want things that are built to last. We want products that are repairable and upgradeable. We want goods that help the environment and don’t exploit vulnerable eco systems and populations.
TechWears believes that businesses have a responsibility to deliver more value than just profit. The emergence of the so-called “4th Sector of the Economy,” demonstrates that change is accelerating and collective efforts to protect the environment are catching on in the mainstream.
While recycling electronics is generally better than burying them in a landfill or sending them overseas, it is important that people understand all recycling processes create pollution and should be avoided if there is a way to use the waste material as is.
Ok, TechWears seems cool. But where did this Drew guy come from?
Drew was born in a recycling bin in Colorado Springs. Long known for his recyclopathic tendencies, Drew is always talking trash about one-time-use products. Returning to college at the age of 25, Drew noticed many opportunities to get involved and advocate for the things he cares about. He graduated from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2013 with a BS in Business.
A few honors bestowed to Drew and TechWears:
- Mayor’s Young Leader Award 2017 – Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers
- Rising Star 2017 – Colorado Springs Business Journal
- Best Sustainable Business 2016 – Colorado Springs Business Journal
- Business Greenie Award 2016 - Veda Salon Greenie Awards and Fashion Show
- Alumni Sustainability Award 2015 - University of Colorado Colorado Springs
- Student Leader of the Year Award 2010 - Pikes Peak Community College
- Distinguished Member Award 2009 - Phi Theta Kappa Colorado
Ways you can join our efforts to fight planned obsolesce, protect the environment, and #UpcycleAlltheTech!
- Raise your voice for net neutrality
- Buy our products through our website and leave a review
- Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and share your favorite posts with your friends
- Join our email list and forward them to your friends and family when relevant
- Send us your ideas for new products and collaborations!
Thank you for reading!, Drew