Moorestown viewers of ABC's Shark Tank will get a blast from the past when former vice principal Gary Gagnon makes an appearance this Friday night, pitching his 100 percent recyclable shoes.
Gagnon served in his leadership role with MHS from 1997 to 2001 before moving into the private sector in a variety of product development roles. Now in North Carolina, he's taking a passion project into the spotlight.
Developed under the brand name REMYXX, the shoes are comprised of completely recyclable materials. While that doesn't mean you can toss them into the blue bucket with your curb pickup, it does mean conscious consumers now have an option other than the trash can and landfill.
"The mission is not only to deliver an enjoyable, sustainable sneaker, but also to advocate and initiate improvements in recycling," Gagnon says, fulfilling a mission three years in the making.
The "casual comfortable lifestyle sneakers" have a canvas and rubber feel, but were specially designed to employ fully recyclable materials. Stylishly stamped with the recycling symbol and a number 5 (a reference to the poly-resin blend used in the product), the footwear comes in a wide variety of vibrant designs.
The Shark Tank episode was filmed last September and airs Friday at 8 p.m. The show pits entrepreneurs with inventions and ideas against five mega-successes of industry—the sharks—who include Mark Cuban and the founder of FUBU Daymond John. The two sides try to strike a deal, with the sharks offering start-up capital for a percentage of the business.
Meanwhile, Gagnon's fundraising efforts continue on the popular crowdsourcing site Kickstarter. He's seeking about $40,000, and anyone can pitch in. Fifty backers have already pledged almost $8,000—but the money only changes hands if the sought total is reached. Forty days remain—take a look yourself and see if you think it's an investment worth pursuing.
In a case like Gagnon's, where an actual product is being funded, pitching in $75 serves to pre-order the sneakers themselves. Various other rewards are offered in thanks for the financial commitment.
His fundraising page cites a stat from Soles4Souls (a charitable group that collects gently used shoes and gets them on the feet of those in need) that 300 million pairs of shoes are thrown away every year in America alone. That being the case, the mission to bring footwear from single-use to closed-loop manufacturing is a laudable one.
Several years ago, Gagnon asked himself: "Wouldn’t it be nice if all the worn-out shoes that get thrown away, ending up in our landfills, could instead be recycled? So I went to work."
If his Kickstarter goal is reached, or if he hammers out a deal with the sharks Friday night, Gagnon will be making a long stride toward lowering the carbon footprint of footprints themselves.