Interview: Atayne (2012)


Atayne, based in Brunswick, Maine, produces outdoor and athletic apparel. All of their products are made using the maximum amount of recycled polyester and are certified to be free of harmful chemicals. Atayne sells their products online on a made-to-order basis direct to athletes and active consumers. The co-founders are Jeremy Litchfield and Rebecca Darr.

Jeremy Litchfield submitted his plan for Atayne to our competition in 2008.

This interview was conducted in 2012.

Erin Jones checked in with President and CEO Jeremy Litchfield to see how Atayne is doing.

Atayne is a certified B Corporation that makes high performing outdoor and athletic apparel that is safe for people and the planet. We aim to inspire positive environmental and social change through the power of active lifestyles.

Where are you located? 

We are located in Brunswick, ME.

What problem are you trying to solve?

Environmental problems are the main things we are trying to solve. This is not only in terms of environmental problems of trash and waste being created, but also the environmental problems as they are linked to cancer and the toxins we expose our body to. These toxins cause upwards of 35% of cancer cases.

How did you become interested in this?

I’ve always been an environmentalist. It started because I went for a run and my shirt bled red dye all over my body. I realized the way apparel is being made is very damaging on the environment and harms people. I wanted to create something different.

What is your solution?

Performance-oriented apparel made from recycled fabrics with third party certification to show that they are free of any kind of toxins known to be hazardous to human health

Who are your customers?

We sell custom apparel to running and cycling events. 

We sell direct to consumers, primarily runners and cyclists. 

And we sell wholesale to specialty retailers, such as running and outdoor stores.

What are some of your major challenges? 

Mostly getting people to understand. There is a very passionate group of people who understand issues around the environment and the stuff we put on our bodies. For the most part, however, they don’t. They like to tune it out and don’t understand the damage. Educating people can be very difficult.

How many people do you employ?

At any given time, we employ 6 to 10 people.

Has WJF competition and mentoring program helped you on your way?

The biggest part is the connections created. It also helped us to get feedback in designing our plan in order to actually launch. I’ve maintained contact with judges that evaluated our plan and that was over four years ago.

What other resources have you found that are particularly useful for social entrepreneurs?

We’re a certified B Corporation, which is a good community to be a part of, to connect to other companies that have a similar view over how they approach business. It is more focused on smaller companies. 

I’ve also been a member of Net Impact for a long time, which is another great community and more focused on larger established companies.