He Made $750k in November, 2015 From Tee Shirt Quilts?

Nathan Rothstein The Top Podcast Episode 189

In Episode #188, Nathan speaks with Nathan Rothstein, the co-founder at Project Repat, a custom quilt blanket design shop. Listen as Nathan and Nathan talk about not only the latter’s business numbers but also how they’re affecting American manufacturing.

Famous 5

  • Favorite Book? – Do the Kind Thing
  • What CEO do you follow?— Howard Schultz and Hamdi Ulukaya
  • What is your favorite online tool?— Klaviyo
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be?— Be more open to different stages of life – everyone’s going through their own thing. Throughout the course of your life you’ll be doing different things.

Nathan Rothstein is a co-founder at Project Repat. A shop that turns used t-shirts into keepsake quilt blankets.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:00 – Nathan’s introduction to today’s show
  • 01:39 – Rothstein joins the show.
  • 03:01 – Rothstein’s business partner was in Nairobi where Project Repat was inspired.
  • 04:09 – Project Repat makes money by repurposing old t-shirts into keepsake quilt blankets. 04:38 – Depending on the size, each quilt costs from 75 to 250$.
  • 05:25 – After expenses, Project Repat clears about 35-45% margin on each quilt.
  • 06:05 – They’ve made about 1,000 quilts per week in 2016.
  • 07:10 – Project Repat’s goal is 7.5 million in topline revenue.
  • 08:22 – Project Repat was part of a social good accelerator called Better Ventures in 2012 – they’ve contributed to the revival of the textile industry in the U.S..
  • 09:33 – It was difficult to get investment money for a quilt business. Rothstein and his partner had to sleep in the office at times.
  • 10:21 – They ran into a big boon when they Groupon featured them without taking a percentage because they were a social good business.
  • 12:02 – In 2012-2013, Project Repat acquired a lot of customers through flash sales.
  • 13:17 – Project Repat spent about 750K on Facebook advertising last year.
  • 14:00 – Repurposing t-shirts into quilts isn’t a new idea, but Project Repat expanded the market by making their products more affordable and visible through advertisements.
  • 15:00 – Rothstein spends from 5-7$ to get a new email. Last year they got about 50K emails and 7.5K customers from their list.
  • 15:32 – Project Repat uses Klaviyo to expand their email marketing list.
  • 17:36 – Find out what Nathan’s doing after selling his business Heyo at nathanlatka.com/whatsnext on February 4th.
  • 18:37 – Famous Five


3 Key Points:

  1. Without the help of a big company like Groupon it’s a mystery whether Project Repat would have nearly as much success as they do today. They were able to be featured for less cost because they were a social good company.
  2. The market for repurposed t-shirts as quilt already existed, but Project Repat excels because they have affordable pricing and has more ad spend.
  3. Nathan uses the online tool Klaviyo to more effectively use his email list to reach new customers.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Edgar – Nathan uses Edgar instead of other scheduling tools for Twitter because Edgar cycles through content over and over (buffer/others you have to re-input content over and over – time consuming). In the last several months, Edgar has driven Nathan over 3728 clicks that he didn’t have to work or pay for.
  • Project Repat – Nathan’s business
  • Howard Schultz and Hamdi Ulukaya – CEO’s Nathan follows
  • Do the Kind Thing – Nathan’s favorite book
  • Klaviyo – Build your email list, Nathan’s favorite online tool.


Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives