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What it does: Sells apparel made from trash
Founders: Phil Tepfer, 24, and Charles Bogoian, 24
During their senior year at Babson College in 2007, suitemates and longtime sailors Phil Tepfer and Charles Bogoian borrowed $25,000 from friends and family to launch their SailProud clothing line of moisture-wicking T-shirts and rash guards to protect sailors from chafing. LiveProud, which contracts out its design and manufacturing to factories in Georgia, Illinois, and British Columbia, turned profitable in less than a year because it operates on low inventory, filling orders as they come in. In November 2009, LiveProud started using fabric derived from recycled plastic bottles and other waste such as corn husks and coconut shells for the 25 styles of T-shirts, jackets, and polos. Tepfer says all the clothes are now made from materials reclaimed from landfills, with each shirt saving about 5.5 pounds of carbon emissions. In addition to SailProud, the pair sell outdoor gear for hikers under the brand TrekProud and a line of yoga clothes called BeProud. Tepfer says the company had $110,000 in revenue in 2009, and expects $375,000 in 2010. —LH