MAGIC 2019: Entrepreneurs give old materials new appeal

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Reap the rewards.

You don’t need to look very far at MAGIC to find entrepreneurs who are taking what could have been trash and turning it into, if not necessarily treasure, at least an ambitious business model.

“We were thinking about the sustainability as well as eco-friendly products,” says Nathan You of Sand Stuff.

The company that began with T-shirts featuring designs composed of sand has a new line of shirts with screen printing made from 100 percent recycled coffee grounds.

Java junkies can tickle three of their five senses by looking at the designs, feeling the textures and even smelling the coffee aroma from the grounds.

“People love it,” You says, “because every time when you go to the laundry room and wash your coffee shirts, it’s full of that coffee smell.”

Albert Gonzales has been giving merchandise new life as part of the vintage scene in Los Angeles for more than 20 years. The retro eyewear he’d sell on the side, sourced from dead stock that had been collecting dust in warehouses for years or even decades, has grown into its own spinoff business, Replay Vintage Sunglasses.

“It’s like fashion that’s already there until the time is ready, and it’s like a time capsule,” he says. “We just release it.”

Some of the designs had fallen so far out of fashion — trends such as steampunk and rave culture — that they’re already cycling back into style.

“Pushing the late ’90s to 2000s is good, and that’s kind of like what’s trending right now,” Gonzales says. “It’s a new generation of vintage for kids that are 16, 17, 18.”

Jason Entner, owner of the 1980s-inspired accessories company Fydelity, is going even farther back into the pop-culture catalog with his zippered wallets made from audio cassettes.

He’s always been fascinated with the old-school medium. His business cards are shaped like the tapes, holes and all. And his creations are drawing attention from mothers who vividly remember cassettes — as well as their daughters, who often stare with puzzlement.

Like those old commercials NBC made to hype up its reruns of “Friends,” if you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you.

“It’s just nostalgia,” Entner says of the appeal of cassettes. “There’s a physicality that you don’t have today.”

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

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