He was always an eco-conscious business guy, but he never thought he’d be a fashion guy. Gordon Seabury, CEO of sustainable outdoor apparel brand Toad&Co, was inspired as a college student by socially responsible businesses such as Stonyfield Farms, Ben & Jerry’s, and Patagonia. As an aspiring entrepreneur, Seabury always wanted to start a business with a triple bottom line — a commitment to measuring social and environmental impact in addition to profit.
“I did not imagine I would be an apparel entrepreneur as I was not known for my fashion sense,” says Seabury. But he was interested in working in the outdoor industry because “the community had an environmental ethos.” Seabury came across a recycled fleece hat brand based in Telluride called Horny Toad. The founder of Horny Toad, Jessica Nordhaus, was dating a friend of Seabury’s. When he heard that Nordhaus was looking to sell her business, Seabury saw potential and stepped in. The brand changed its name to Toad&Co in 2015.
Toad&Co apparel is made from sustainable materials such as hemp, organic cotton, recycled fibers, and plant-based fibers. The company has a range of initiatives to support a circular economy. Toad&Co’s partnership with thredUp, an online consignment store, allows customers to send in Toad&Co garments they no longer want in exchange for store credit. They’ve also curated a line of vintage outdoor apparel. And Toad&Co is a member of the Renewal Workshop, a business that repairs and renews used clothing.
The company reduces waste by creating clothes that serve multiple purposes, so you buy fewer items. “The idea was as fabric innovation had evolved, you didn’t need a wardrobe for each activity but rather one wardrobe that could transcend every activity except climbing Everest and maybe attending a funeral,” says Seabury.
The mission of Toad&Co is to enable people to live their fullest life. Seabury has seen this in action, he says, recalling a time when he received a postcard written as if it was from a pair of Toad&Co Caprice Capris. The pants thanked Seabury for the life they were living because they were their owner’s favorite pants and got to go on all sorts of adventures. “We used to say our product should be all you need in your “Spontaneous Bag” to say to whatever opportunity crossed your path,” says Seabury.
In 2022, Seabury is looking to expand Toad&Co’s existing programs and launch a reuse/renew/resale segment of the business. What gives Seabury hope for the future? “The broad awareness and understanding of our younger generation consumers and the tangible evolution of their buying power to more sustainable brands, products and behaviors.”
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