Upcycling: promotional products from used sails

Caroline Zöller

Published on 29.03.2021

To reach new shores, you have to leave the familiar coast. This sailor’s wisdom is the motto of the founder of SAILMATE, a young company that gives discarded sails a new life. Anna-Lena Bruchmann had the idea. She is a sailor herself and has a great love for the seas and nature. Confronted with the pollution of the oceans and knowing that the textile industry is one of the dirtiest industries in the world, she founded SAILMATE with the aim of becoming the brand with the smallest ecological footprint. Together with her co-founder Marko Broschinski, whom she met on a sailing trip, she wants to change the textile industry from the inside out.

The idea of upcycling is the central idea in the company: New products are created from used items that would end up in the rubbish. Discarded sails are the raw material for all ideas from which new merchandise and promotional items are created. SAILMATE manufactures on-demand for business customers. Production to order avoids waste. Transport routes are also short and cause low emissions, as production takes place in Germany.

No two sails are alike

The canvas raw material has special functions and each sail has an individual look. The different materials are taken into account in product development and a number of trials and tests are necessary to realise product ideas and at the same time ensure continuous good quality.

“Our material is used sails. The products we create from them are based on our customers’ requirements, joint ideas for implementation and the properties of our material. We make every kind of product from sailcloth in a range from bags, accessories to hospitality items, like aprons, to a large lounging bag for outdoor use. Whatever can be made from the sails, we also realise for our customers,” Anna-Lena Bruchmann describes the path to the product. In addition to the creative ideas, SAILMATE customers particularly appreciate the individual character of the products, their durability and the sustainable way of thinking behind them.

B2B model variably applicable

The requests to the company are very different. For some customers, the focus is on sustainable articles, others sell small series themselves with individual style and branding.

SAILMATE specialises in the development of precisely such products. The minimum run for a small series is 50 pieces. Before the final production begins, a prototype is created on the basis of samples. After approval, the production of the run begins. The customer’s label, lettering or logo can be printed, embroidered or sewn onto the edition alongside the SAILMATE branding.

“We believe that our customers’ needs are unique and want to create the perfect product for them. With a focus on branding our clients and co-branding SAILMATE, we create a custom look under the umbrella of our brand,” explains Anna-Lena Bruchmann.

SAILMATE sees itself as a buddy for its stakeholders and also carries this in the company name with the English word “mate”. Transparency towards customers, suppliers and all people who follow the company are, besides a sustainable production with a positive social impact, top company goals.

Pictures SAILMATE