Women of Distinction: Relan
Mother and daughter Della Simpson and Kari Brizius had always wanted to work together. In 2011, their wish came true when they purchased Relan and finally became business partners. Relan, which means “reinventing fashion” began as a way to change the world by trying to eliminate the number of vinyl banners thrown into landfills each year.
There’s a growing category of businesses looking to make money while saving the world. Rather, they look to have some sort of social or environmental impact while running a business and providing jobs. They’re called for-benefit or part of the “fourth sector.” If you’re looking to get into the sector, good news: There’s an effort underway in California to make it easier to do good while doing business.
Giving Vinyl a New Life, with Kari Brizius of Relan
Relan has a unique business model because they don’t sell anything direct to consumers. They’re a B2B business that takes vinyl materials from companies that do billboard and banner advertising, makes products out of that vinyl, and then sells the products back to the original company.
Kari Brizius has an amazing story. Entrepreneur. In business with her mom. West Point grad. Athlete. Environmentalist. And, most relevant to GreenSportsBlog, President of Relan, a Minneapolis-based company that pioneered the “up-cycling” of stadium and arena signs and banners. GSB was pleased to speak with Kari about Relan, and more.
With MINI USA running its largest-ever marketing campaign in support of the 2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop, they are doing something unique and sustainable with the billboard marketing as it comes off display. With the help of Relan, a U.S. manufacturer of repurposed billboard and banner products, MINI is repurposing the ad campaign into fashionable, re-usable totes for each new MINI owner.
Working with Relan, manufacturer of repurposed billboard and banner products, Lexus discovered how repurposing their billboards provides a creative marketing opportunity for sponsored events and spurs the discussion about sustainability, environmentally conscious practices and social responsibility. Adding another better business practice to their long list, Lexus, the Official Automotive Sponsor of Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York, has partnered with Relan to create a unique give away for this year’s bike race in New York.
Thanks to PRé, who we met at the Sustainable Brands Conference in 2013 we now have proof that our Relan products stand out against the competition! PRé completed an environmental impact assessment to help Relan find ways to further reduce impacts and improve customer communication.
The Target sponsored event, Unite America in Service, focused on green initiatives including partnering with Relan to repurpose the event banners into gifts for the volunteers and non-profit organization partners.
The Reef Redemption, Project has partnered with Relan, manufacturer of repurposed billboards and banners, to create a line of sustainable bags and accessories using banners from the 2012 Reef Hawaiian Pro, an Association of Surfing Professionals Prime surfing competition.
Relan takes vinyl billboards and banners that usually end up in landfills and turns them into products that companies and nonprofits can give away at conferences and events or sell in their gift shops. Relan’s owner Della Simpson describes the process of reusing the material as “upcycling” because it repurposes rather than recycles content.
Relan is proud to be a finalist for the 2014 Community Impact Awardsby Minnesota Business Magazine. This notable honor celebrates companies and individuals making the world a better place. Relan is nominated in the Sustainability Award category (recognizing Minnesota companies for offering their products or services in a way that’s better for the environment).
Relan’s Della Simpson discusses the many ways companies can use Relan products to promote their CSR efforts, and new technologies that she’s excited about. This interview took place on June 6, 2013, at the Sustainable Brands 2013 Conference.