“Our team truly wanted to bring the best socks the market has seen.”
Today we speak to a 27-year old entrepreneur and ultra-marathoner who has created a fully sustainable sportswear brand, Rockay, inspired by his passion for running. In the age of climate changes and a plastics crisis, Rockay’s founder Daniel Chabert Pfefferkorn is striving to provide a different solution and contribute to solving this global problem from his field and tells our editor, Luke Upton, what separates him from other entrepreneurs and how he has made 100% recycled Performance Socks that clean our Oceans.
Luke Upton (LU): With Rockay about to launch, tell us how you went from ultra marathon runner to launching a range of 100% recycled performance socks?
Daniel Chabert Pfefferkorn (DCP): The Rockay brand came out of my passion for running and entrepreneurial endeavours. I ran my first marathon when I was 16, and I still keep an active lifestyle. As a runner, I knew exactly what I was missing in terms of apparel and product quality. Building a brand that’s just another choice on the market wasn’t my aspiration. I wanted to create a product that’s fully sustainable and helps our environment, while addressing issues such as fast fashion, climate change, and most importantly, ocean pollution.
Our team of experts started working consistently across all fields: manufacturing, materials, design, testing, improvement. We wanted to have a clear environmental impact, but without hindering product quality in any aspect. It was a learning process for the entire team.
We didn’t stop until we created a fully sustainable performance socks made from 100% recycled materials and ocean waste.
LU: You use ECONYL regenerated nylon, what brought you to using that material?
DCP: Before we started our partnership with ECONYL, we used Merino wool. However, it turned out that the combining nylon and polyamide wasn’t providing a durable fabric. It would rip too often. With ECONYL and recycled nylon, we have made the product more durable.
The biggest advantage of ECONYL regenerated nylon is that it’s exactly the same as brand new nylon. Essentially, you can create new products without having to use new resources. Even with the infinite recycling, it will not lose its quality.
LU: What’s been the biggest challenge in launching the company?
DCP: The biggest challenge was to connect all the elements we wanted associated with Rockay’s name: product quality, performance and environmental impact. A lot of companies focus on just one or two, as it’s economically easier and the return of investment is a lot quicker. Our team truly wanted to bring the best socks the market has seen. We started as a small company, so working on all the different fields simultaneously was challenging at the beginning.
LU: What’s the focus in 2020 for the business?
DCP: We’ll be launching a full range of 100% recycled apparel, tights, jackets, etc. Beyond that, in the near future, we’ll launch casual clothing and running shoes.
LU: What advice would you give to someone else looking to launch their own company/product in this space?
DCP: I would advise young entrepreneurs and environmental enthusiasts to be persistent when they’re taking on sustainability challenges and trying to make an impact. It takes a lot of research, experts and improvements along the way. It’s a beautiful journey and worth every effort.
LU: And finally, as we ask all our interviewees, what’s your favourite sustainable/bio-based product?
DCP: I like Patagonia’s 100% recycled products and generally their product line. Ecoalf is another interesting brand I like.
LU: Thanks, we looking forward to following the progress of Rockay!