This Canadian Startup Is Streamlining the Textile Industry

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Juliet Bennett Rylah

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You know where you got your shirt, but do you know where your shirt’s designer got the fabric? Probably not — most consumers don’t think too much about the ~$1T+ textile industry. 

textiles
Tengiva, a Canadian startup that bills itself as the industry’s Shopify, wants to simplify textile sourcing for fashion brands and promote sustainability through data. 

Here’s how it works:

Tengiva CEO and co-founder Annie Cyr told The Hustle that, while textile manufacturers are inclined to invest in the latest machines, software to manage distribution isn’t in their wheelhouse. 

Meanwhile, large fashion brands typically have their own textile sourcing teams, but emerging apparel makers don’t. 

These factors can make sourcing materials tricky for up-and-coming designers, from finding the right fabric and reliable suppliers to dealing with customs declarations when sourcing abroad. 

Tengiva’s platform streamlines the process 

It vets suppliers for quality and transparency, then connects them to buyers who shop the platform’s 300+ available materials online. 

Currently, Tengiva has ~375 designers and eight textile suppliers globally, focusing on quality over quantity, with plans to grow to ~2k designers and ~40 suppliers by year’s end. 

It also recently completed a ~$3.8m seed round, which it will use in part to add sustainability info to its marketplace… 

… which can be hard for brands to navigate:

  • Polyester doesn’t break down in the ocean, but cotton needs so much water, it takes ~2k gallons to make a pair of jeans. 
  • You’ve probably heard about how sustainable bamboo is, but the process to turn bamboo into clothes actually isn’t

Tengiva will list info including CO2 emissions and recyclability, plus suggestions to reduce a fabric’s impact. 

For example, a designer ordering water-repellent fabric could request the supplier use a less harmful chemical. 

“I believe it has to be a common effort,” Cyr said. “Producers should disclose what they can provide in terms of chemicals, and brands can then make better decisions.”

BTW: If you were ever curious about the best scrunchie fabric, Tengiva’s got you covered.

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