Chris Yura, Founder and CEO of SustainU
Photo courtesy of SustainU
Here is a fashion story with heart: Notre Dame football star and graduate becomes the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of a company that produces American-made, 100% recycled t-shirts. Chris Yura says that he “always felt called to think of ideas” and that the Notre Dame community encouraged him. He was speaking to Joan and Liz Hamburg on WOR Radio/NYC. Every Monday, Joan’s daughter, Liz, an entrepreneur herself, hosts a segment called Launchpad, where entrepreneurs discuss their ‘big ideas’ and business ventures.
Mr. Yura’s story fascinates me. After graduating from college, he was scouted to become a fashion model, and moved to New York City where he worked for Ford Models for five years. It was during that time that he started to understand how clothing is made and says that it was this information from “my years in fashion” that sparked his desire to create sustainable, American-made clothing. He researched the process and materials extensively, and eventually, his company, SustainU, was born.
Mr. Yura says that his clothing is not only good for the planet, but good for workers and for consumers. His tees are affordable and sell for approximately $20 retail. He also contends that if he stays true to his business model; that everything must be made in America, that all clothing must be made from 100% recycled materials (not simply partially-recycled materials), and that he manufacture in places where people need the work, SustainU will stay successful, even when up against its competitors. Anyone can order on-line at SustainUClothing.com, and in 2013 SustainU plans to be in NYC area retailers and throughout the United States. They are also planning to produce other types of clothing, including fleece and performance and children’s wear.
As a football player, Mr. Yura understood the importance of depending on his teammates. Similarly, he relies on his teammates at SustainU; they are a young and agile company and always open to new ways of manufacturing. “I’m at the tip of the iceberg now … I am starting to see what’s possible.” ~ Chris Yura
Good for you – good for us! And thank you to NYC treasures Joan and Liz Hamburg for bringing Chris Yura’s story to our attention.
What do you think?