This New Source of Wholesale Materials Can Spare The Environment and Your Wallet is all about eco-friendly design, and we love that Brittany has given us a chance to show off a brand new way of sourcing material to all her readers! We're launching a new supplies section for crafters worldwide, with an eco-conscious twist: high quality, low-cost materials from factory overstock! To understand what that means, we have to know what happened to designers Bunny and Nico three years ago.

"All of these boxes are full of defectives. They'll be burned when we find time for it." When the warehouse owner spoke these words, designer duo Bunny Yan and Nicolas Bouthors both appeared to blink in unison. The two had come to this factory looking for design material to incorporate into their next collection. In the factory's warehouse they instead found stacks and stacks of boxes filled with high-quality wholesale materials doomed for the landfill. Doctor's scrubs, to be exact. Bunny took out one of the shirts and with a curious squint asked, "Which part exactly is defective?" The owner didn't bat an eye. "Well, they're the wrong shade of color. It's not what the contractor ordered." Nicolas and Bunny looked at each other. The factory was going to destroy tons of finished product because of a wrong color? The owner didn't even seem phased by the prospect. Turns out, this is how every single factory deals with their 'defectives'. But that term can mean a lot of things in the factory business. It certainly doesn't mean, 'useless'!

Cool material goes to waste every day, but it doesn’t have to

The words above might be paraphrased (and we doubt Bunny and Nico perfectly synchronized their blinks) but the story is real, and the boxes of high-quality material sitting in warehouses waiting to be destroyed are a wasteful problem. 'One man's trash is another man's treasure' is the motto of many a thrifty crafter. When an individual designer or small studio has left-overs, such as trimmings and unused fabric, they can be used by another crafter to create something new. It's the fundamental principle that fabric and material swaps are built on! But where designers and studios might end up with a bag of overstock, factories end up with literal tons.

Abandoned orders, color mistakes and size mistakes can all result in an entire batch of production being discarded. Why? Well, storing it costs money and finding a buyer is not something a factory does: they just make on demand. So these materials, along with endless amounts of trimmings and off-cuts (think fabric and leather for instance) is destroyed to save money. That's a staggering amount of waste. But what happens when that 'waste' gets in the hands of designers?

What can you do with eco-friendly materials? A lot!

Gloria Zhu uses excess yarn from bigger design projects to create art. Her favorite creations are her crochet flowers and she loves to adorn them onto bags and even jewelry. The TOMS Shoes brand even displayed her 'Ruyi Crochet' shoe design at their China store launch! Right next to the creation of another designer who's learned to love left-overs: designer Xin Xin uses overstock and vintage upholstery fabric and leather to create clutches. For even more colorful creations she's been using overstock buttons to create pins, showing that it's not just overstock fabric that can be used: buttons are extremely prone to rejected batches but can be used in many ways. Just look at Beryl! She uses colorful rejected buttons and makes them into adorable home decor pieces. Obviously, there is purpose for quality overstock materials.

Get inspired with Inspiration Packs!

So when designers Bunny and Nicolas asked to take some of the doctor's scrubs occupying the factory warehouse home with them, the factory was more than happy to rid themselves of it. The duo saved high-quality material from the landfill by turning them into fun and sturdy shoulderbags, aptly dubbed 'Scrubags'. Not bad for something made from materials that would otherwise be destroyed!

All it took was getting the materials the producers don't want, into the hands of creatives. Wanna give it a try yourself and see what eco-crafting can look like? All materials on the Squirrelz is certified factory overstock. Try one of our 'Inspiration Packs' and start creating without adding to the fashion industry's negative environmental output, and without breaking the bank. Because buying eco shouldn't cost more!

Big thanks to Brittany Fenton for helping us spread the word about eco-conscious designing <3


  1. Great post! I think I'm inspired to start doing some crafting today, thanks.

    1. Oo sounds good! keep me updated with what you decided to do x

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