FABSCRAP is a New York City 501(c)3 organization that effectively re-purposes textile waste from the fashion industry. Founded by Jessica Schreiber, a self-described “trash nerd” who previously managed the New York City Department of Sanitation’s e-waste and clothing recycling contracts, FABSCRAP charges a modest service charge to cover operational costs associated with picking up the textile waste and redistributing for reuse. Jessica sought advice on how to monetize the environmental, financial and public relations benefits her small business offers, as well as what business and non-profit structures were available to her. Pace SBDC Senior Business Advisor Rawle Brown helped Jessica to develop growth strategies and build out financial projections for her business. Rawle also connected Jessica with NYSBDC’s Research Network, which provided targeted market research regarding textile recycling and New York City’s apparel manufacturing industry.
Further, Rawle enrolled Jessica in the 2016 New York Small Business Development Center Pitch Workshop series, which provided guidance on how to develop the introduction, body and “close” of one's pitch, and concrete strategies to help turn future opportunity into new business. The workshop series also included a pitch competition component, for which Jessica won first place and a $2,500 cash award among more than twenty competitors who presented to a panel of judges from Capital One. With these experiences under her belt, Jessica impressed the judges of Lifetime Network's Project Runway Fashion Startup with her business model and high-profile clients, including Nautica, Eileen Fisher, and the BF+DA. Three of the program judges went on to award her a total of $65,000.
Combined with the guidance she has received and the awards she has earned, Jessica has expanded service to over many clients and her team of volunteers is growing steadily. In April 2018, FABSCRAP relocated to a warehouse space in the Brooklyn Army Terminal that was twice as large as the previous one and significantly closer to the city. With this new space her business was able to serve both shoppers and volunteers on weekends, and explore working with more cutting rooms.
In the midst of 2020, FABSCRAP's operations and in-person shopping were temporarily suspended, however the organization added a second warehouse in Brooklyn, doubling the amount of material sorted over previous years. Further, they significantly increased online shopping volume and launched digital workshops and a successful Virtual Shopping Appointment program to engage new clients.
As business conditions return to “normal” for this Pace University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) client, they are again engaging a community of volunteers to help sort through bags of textiles so that the public can access all reusable materials - to date they have had over 7,000 volunteers help in these efforts, including designers, college students, sewers, school groups, and corporate volunteers.
Since their launch in 2016, FABSCRAP has diverted over 900,000 lbs of fabric from landfills, including 237,000 pounds of materials so far this year. They redistribute 66% of all textile waste they receive, and 43% of this material is given away for free. The balance of items collected are recycled industrially into insulation, carpet padding, or mattress stuffinging, keeping them out of a landfill.
In December 2021, Jessica was named to the City & State's Responsible 100 list, honoring New Yorkers practicing & promoting social responsibility.