Patch Your Puffy, Save the Planet
Noso’s Kelli Jones is building an outdoor business while reducing waste, one scrap of nylon at a time
“In 2015, I hopped a barbed-wire fence while I was hunting and ripped my brand-new $400 Patagonia Fitz Roy down parka. I cut a piece of duct tape in the shape of a heart and put it on my coat, but I didn’t like the way it looked. Nylon gear rips all the time, and I had lots of tears in my clothes, so I started buying materials online that I would cut into heart and star patches. In the tram line at Jackson Hole, people kept asking me about them. I was working in accounting but eventually realized that this was a business opportunity.
I launched Noso Patches on Indiegogo in August 2016, asking for $15,000. I raised just over that, which bought me 600 yards of fabric and got the website up and running. I did $20,000 in sales the first year and $52,000 last year. Now I have two sales reps, and I think we can do $150,000 this year.
Right now most of my day-to-day is product development and trying to make people aware of what we do. Through a blog on the site and social media, I show people what I’m making. I’m always reaching out to companies to ask them to donate material that will otherwise just get thrown out. The average American tosses away 70 pounds of textiles annually. If a critical mass of people start patching their gear instead of trashing it, that has an impact.
I still own an accounting business. I use both sides of my brain on a daily basis. Accounting is very left brain—analytical, logical, objective. Noso is where my right brain kicks in: it’s creative, imaginative, and expressive. As much as I love accounting, it’s important for me to do something for myself that I’m really passionate about. Noso lets me tap into my creative side.”