From an Idea to Recycling Millions of Plastic Bottles
Did you know that 8,000,000 pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans and shorelines every year? This scary wake-up call inspired siblings Jake and Caroline Danehy to take action to protect our environment.
Jake and Caroline won $20,000 in Colgate University’s campus-wide mock Shark Tank competition and used the funding to manufacture Fair Harbor’s first collection of beachwear. For the next several years, the siblings grew their company by hosting trunk shows, selling door-to-door, taking feedback from customers, and launching a Kickstarter campaign.
After six years of trial and error and feedback from customers, Fair Harbor Clothing perfected their product and created a sustainable and profitable business model. They have expanded into kids shorts, and they also have a golf collection. In March 2021, Fair Harbor Clothing partnered with Volleyball coach Jeremy Casebeer— nicknamed “The Lorax” because of dedication to protect trees and forests— in March 2021 for a promotional video demonstrating the versatility of Fair Harbor shorts.
The company named in honor of Fair Harbor on Fire Island, New York where Jake and Caroline spent their childhood learning to surf, and go fishing with their families. While they were growing up, they noticed the destructive effects of single-use plastic waste on their seaside home. Fair Harbor Clothing is dedicated to protecting our environment while creating stylish swimwear for beach enthusiasts.
How Does Fair Harbor Clothing Recyle Plastic Bottles?
Fair Harbor shorts are created using 11 post-consumer plastic bottles, which are sourced from all around the world. Without recycling, these plastic bottles that would have ended up polluting our waterways and oceans. The manufacturing process is both fascinating and innovative. First, plastic bottles are washed and shredded into flakes. They are then melted into pellets, spun into yarn and woven into a custom, ultra-soft and resilient fabric.
Created with the customer’s needs in mind, all shorts have a comfortable elastic waistband, an anti-chafe liner, four-way stretch and quick-drying fabric technology, along with deep, zippered pockets. They have also recently partnered with the clothing company, Untuckit. Thanks to their dedication to both the environment and their customers, Fair Harbor Clothing has now recycled over 27 million plastic bottles, and the numbers are growing.
Connex: Crunching the Numbers Behind the Scenes
Fair Harbor Clothing is growing at an exponential pace with hundreds of thousands of orders each year. Not the type of order volume that can be entered manually into QuickBooks! Their Chief Operating Officer, Allie Wightman, recommended Connex, as she had already set it up previously for other businesses.
The main challenge that Fair Harbor Clothing faced was reconciling a very high volume of sales with QuickBooks. They needed a tool to help them import their sales in smaller chunks so the numbers can me mapped properly.
Fair Harbor Clothing uses Connex’s detailed summary tool to import their orders into QuickBooks. The detailed summary tool places all orders under a single customers so they can keep their QuickBooks clean. In addition, the detailed summery tool categorizes their sales and helps them to track their inventory. This helps Fair Harbor Clothing evaluate which products are selling best.
Fair Harbor Clothing also uses Connex’s signature technology, the Rules Engine. This helps them categorize their sales by payment method and processor, and match their payouts with QuickBooks based on the payment method. This ensure that all sales have reached QuickBooks and their inventory is properly tracked. With such large volume of sales, this method helps Fair Harbor Clothing to prevent oversells and overstock. Connex also helps to calculate an accurate cost of goods sold (COGS), so they can have accurate financial information in their books.
“The Connex rules engine makes it easy to map our order types! It’s also user-friendly with the set-up, and support is always helpful. The Connex team has also been great when there are some advanced sync issues” -Allie Wightman, COO, Fair Harbor Clothing
Changing the World One Swimtrunk at a Time
It’s not an understatement to say that Fair Harbor Clothing is changing the world by cleaning up our oceans and shorelines. They beautifully designed swimwear help people feel good about buying and wearing their products.
Behind the scenes, hundreds (or thousands) of people and systems are working to ensure that the manufacturing process goes smoothly, that the marketing reaches the right people, and that sales numbers remain high. Equally important are bookeeping, order fulfillment, and shipping, which are made possible by Connex.
By automating the repetitive data entry tasks that most businesses still do manually, Connex makes it possible for Fair Harbor Clothing to grow without limits. They can have peace of mind that their products are shipped to the right customers, and that they have accurate numbers in QuickBooks so they can make financially informed decisions to grow even further. We are excited to see how Fair Harbor Clothing will grow in the future!