Texworld 2018 Recap

New York City is known to be the city that never sleeps and that is reflected in brrrº’s trip to the TexWorld conference. On the first day, brrrº was pleased with how many people were truly interested in our technology. Once the crowds came and felt our fabrics, especially some of our new innovative fabrics they were really hooked.

The response to brrrº was incredible; everyone had a positive response to our technology. They understood brrrº and our technology, as well as asked questions about it to further their knowledge. They were definitely more curious once they felt the coolness of our fabric. The best response was from a CEO of a clothing line company shrieking at a lady, “this really works!”

Our material scientist, Apurba said her favorite part of the show was “interacting with both big and small businesses in a single show. It is a rare case when an EXPO can provide a holistic experience. We attracted everyone from wholesale buyers, product developers, to entrepreneurs and fashion designers.”

With the show’s atmosphere reflecting New York City, it was full of busy and professional individuals. It was definitely worth our time being there. The positive response from our audience was unbelievable. The trust people showed in our proven technology was special. Here’s to our first conference show and many more!

brrrº's booth from TexWorld was cool and inviting.

 


MC Interviewed with Fibre2Fashion


Time for technology to disrupt textiles

Atlanta-based private start-up brrr° was founded in 2014 to develop advanced fabrics with superior cooling performance. It is one of the 16 start-ups chosen to showcase its patented fabrics at the 10th annual Venture Atlanta investor conference and innovation showcase in October this year. The company uses a proprietary blend of natural cooling minerals embedded in yarn, superior moisture wicking and a patented knitting process that maximises airflow to create a 'triple chill effect'. Its Qmax fabrics cool 30-85 per cent better than comparable 'virgin' nylon, polyester or cotton. Founder-CEO, Mary-Cathryn Kolb, who earlier held senior positions at Spanx, Seven7 Jeans, TOMS Shoes and Von Dutch, speaks to Dipesh Satpathy about the company.

Q: Tell us briefly about your company and its evolution. What was the motivation behind starting it?

A: In 2014, brrr° grew from the idea of "clothes that make you feel cooler, not warmer." The motivation behind the idea was asking how to disrupt the fashion industry with something new and cool. People wear clothing to wrap up and warm up, so the concept was doing just that, but with a cooling technology. brrr° incorporates technologically-advanced fabrics with superior cooling performance that can enhance the comfort of bed sheets, apparel, denim, undergarments and other textiles.

Q: What is the significance of the name brrr with a degree symbol suffix?

A:Ours is a cooling fabric that wants to be recognized with a unique brand name. When you think of the word 'brrr', you instantly think of words like cold, cool or chill. The degree symbol represents that our fabrics will reduce your skin temperature by 2-3° Fahrenheit.

Q: How are you different from other players in the field? What is your USP?

A: Our technology has three unique cooling effects that combine to immediately and continually reduce skin temperature: embedded natural minerals that permanently draw heat away and bring an immediate cooling sensation, a special fibre core that enhances moisture wicking, and a proprietary fabric pattern to maximise airflow to boost cooling.

Q: What are some of the cutting-edge research efforts being undertaken and products developed by your company?

A: We recently produced the first known king-size, seamless sheets with our cooling technology. We are now working on denim and fabric for the automotive industry.

Q: Do you collaborate with government universities or private research institutions?

A: We have a partnership with Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), a non-profit institute with its headquarters near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). We also collaborate with the Hohenstein Institute in Boennigheim, Germany, an accredited test laboratory and research institute. We just sent fabric headers to be featured in New York-based Material ConneXion, which maintains the world's largest subscription-based materials library with thousands of innovative materials and processes. We have also sent fabric headers to be a part of the Penn Libraries' Fisher Fine Arts Library at University of Pennsylvania.

Q: Are there any patents that your company has been granted on technologies or processes related to fabrics and textiles?

A:We have four patents pending.

Q: Please tell us about your prominent research brains who help propel growth.

A: We have a brilliant material scientist, Apurba Banerjee. She is doctoral candidate at the University of Georgia in polymer, fibre and textile sciences. She received her Masters in textile science from Colorado State University and completed her Bachelor's degree from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai. Apurba focuses on driving new innovations and research and development of cooling technology for brrr°. We also have garment industry expert Newbery Su running our Taiwan office. He coordinates design and manufacturing of brrr° fabric for all licensing partners and development of new applications for the patented technology.

Q: What is the significance of your Taiwan office? And why Taiwan?

A: We wanted our presence in the hub of textile technology and engineering, which Taiwan is. Having a staff there allows for boots on the ground for daily quality control of current production and the execution of our research and development pipeline.

Q: What are your expansion plans?

A: We want to continue to innovate smart textiles and let Brrr° turn a leader in the textile revolution.

Q: How do you see the applications of advanced textiles growing in the next decade?

A: In the last decade, technology has exponentially improved our lives while our textiles remained virtually unchanged from the beginning of time. Cottons are still your cottons, linens are still your linens. It's now time for technology to disrupt our textiles by making fashion smart and functional.


brrr° CEO Mary-Cathryn Kolb Speaks About Women in Executive Leadership at Emory University

brrr° CEO Mary-Cathryn Kolb (in the middle) discussed professional leadership advances women have made in recent years and how to remove barriers at the "Executive Women of Goizueta" 2017 Leadership Conference hosted by the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta on Oct. 20.


Fabric Innovator brrr° Added to Material ConneXion’s Material Library

ATLANTA, Sept. 20, 2017 – Cooling textile innovator brrr° was chosen for inclusion in the Material Library maintained by Material ConneXion, a unit of Sandow that consults with Fortune 500 companies on performance materials and design thinking.

 

Material ConneXion maintains the world’s largest subscription-based materials library with thousands of innovative materials and processes, and its research division works with companies to strategically incorporate trends and innovation into their business models and products.

 

brrr°’s fabrics were recognized as having the “innate qualities that our team of material scientists and specialists look for when adding a material to our library of advanced, innovative and sustainable materials,” Material ConneXion said about the inclusion of brrr° fabrics in its full-service libraries in Bangkok, Bilbao, Daegu, Milan, Skövde, Tokyo and New York plus certain satellite and educational libraries around the world.

 

“This is a wonderful platform to display and archive brrr°’s technology alongside thousands of the most innovative materials in the world,” said Apurba Banerjee, Material Scientist and head of research and development at brrr°.

 

brrr° uses a proprietary blend of natural cooling minerals embedded in yarn, superior moisture wicking and a patented knitting or weaving process that maximizes airflow to create a “triple chill effect.” This gives brrr° fabrics Qmax cooling scores that are 30-85% better than the scores of comparable “virgin” nylon, polyester or cotton, and the cooling effect of brrr° has also been independently lab tested and validated by the prestigious Hohenstein Institute.

 

Material ConneXion’s Material Library

 

About brrr°

brrr° was founded in 2014 to develop innovative and technologically advanced fabrics with superior cooling performance that can enhance the comfort of bed sheets, business clothing, athletic apparel, fashion apparel, denim, undergarments, employee uniforms and other textiles. The Atlanta-based company is privately held and is led by CEO Mary-Cathryn Kolb, who previously held senior positions at Spanx, Seven7 Jeans, TOMS Shoes and Von Dutch.

 


cooling fabrics

Cooling Fabric Innovator brrr° Chosen for Venture Atlanta’s Startup Showcase

ATLANTA, Sept. 15, 2017 – Cooling textile innovator brrr° was chosen to present and showcase its patented fabrics at the 10th annual Venture Atlanta elite investor conference and innovation showcase.

 

brrr° is one of only 16 startups deemed to have “the most exciting emerging technologies in the Southeast” selected to present at Venture Atlanta’s Startup Showcase, which gives investors a sneak peek into the products and services being developed by up-and-coming firms.

 

brrr° uses a proprietary blend of natural cooling minerals embedded in yarn, superior moisture wicking and a patented knitting or weaving process that maximizes airflow to create a “triple chill effect.” This gives brrr° fabrics Qmax cooling scores that are 30-85% better than the scores of comparable “virgin” nylon, polyester or cotton, and brrr°’s cooling effect has also been independently lab tested and validated by the prestigious Hohenstein Institute.

 

“We are honored and humbled to be among this elite group of innovators invited to Venture Atlanta’s Startup Showcase,” said Mary-Cathryn Kolb

 

Venture Atlanta is one of the largest and most respected investor conferences in the Southeast, attracting nearly 150 investment funds and drawing a sold-out crowd of 900 attendees. This year’s event, to be held Oct. 11-12 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, will feature Mark Cuban, an investor and philanthropist and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, and Carvana CEO Ernie Garcia.

 

Over the years, Venture Atlanta has helped launch more than 380 companies that secured in excess of $2 billion in funding, including Acculynk (acquired by First Data), CloudSherpas (acquired by Accenture), Joulex (acquired by Cisco), SilverPOP (acquired by IBM), Kabbage, SalesLoft and Roadie.

 

About brrr°

brrr° was founded in 2014 to develop innovative and technologically advanced fabrics with superior cooling performance that can enhance the comfort of bed sheets, business clothing, athletic apparel, fashion apparel, denim, undergarments, employee uniforms and other textiles. The Atlanta-based company is privately held and is led by CEO Mary-Cathryn Kolb, who previously held senior positions at Spanx, Seven7 Jeans, TOMS Shoes and Von Dutch.

 

 

 


brrr°'s Talented Material Scientist is an Amazing Ph.D Student!

AMAZING STUDENTS: Apurba Banerjee

As a Ph.D. student in FACS, Apurba Banerjee has been active in several organizations since the day she arrived. And her academic work in the department of textiles, merchandising and interiors will allow her to pursue her passion about implementing sustainability in every aspect of life.

Hometown:

Kolkata, West Bengal, India

High School:

Vasant Vihar High School, Thane, Maharashtra, India

Degree objective:

Ph.D. in polymer, fiber and textile science

Other degrees:

M.S. in apparel and merchandising (textile science concentration), Colorado State University (2013)
B.Tech. in textile processing, Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India (2011)

Expected graduation:

December 2017

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

When I first arrived at UGA, I was not expecting it to be such a large campus. Getting lost on campus trying to find a building had become a daily routine, but through that experience I learned how to motivate myself to find a path to my destination. Learning early the perks of getting involved on campus. I was encouraged by my mentor, Dr. Suraj Sharma, to be the chapter president of the UGA chapter of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC). When active, this chapter helped textile science and fashion merchandising students to interact with working professionals in the textile industry and learn from their experiences and gain access to the AATCC competitions, scholarships and awards. As a student member of AATCC, I have participated in its International Conference since 2013 and won several awards for presenting my research in the Herman and Myrtle Goldstein Student Paper Competition.
Being a graduate student at a research-intensive university is both a challenging and rewarding task. To provide graduate students adequate support, a platform to voice their concerns and develop camaraderie among themselves, we founded the Graduate Student Association at the TMI department, where I served in leadership positions (vice president and treasurer) for two years.

The College of Family and Consumer Sciences is a home away from home for me. It has not only helped me nurture my leadership and organizational skills (I participated in the FACS Leadership Retreat) but also provided immense encouragement in the form of awards, scholarships and recognition such as the Endsley Piefer Student Research Award, Jones Anderson Family Scholarship, Dr. Theresa Perenich-TMI Graduate Support Fund and Eleonora Costa Graduate Support Fund. The college provides every student an environment that is conducive to progressive and critical thinking, an environment where challenges are embraced and overcome with grace and fortitude and instills in us to be compassionate and thankful to our mentors when we achieve fame and glory. I highly recommend everyone to meet our awesome dean, Linda Fox, because she embodies everything there is to be a true FACS-ite!

The Graduate School at UGA provided me with several professional development opportunities through programs such as Emerging Leaders and I was able to further hone those skills by leading the outreach team of the annual Graduate Student Conference called Interdisciplinary Research Conference in 2014 and 2015. I have also been the recipient of Graduate School awards — Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, University of Georgia Excellence in Graduate Recruitment Fund Award and was nominated for the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges in 2015 and 2017.

The Indian Student Association is a student organization under the umbrella of International Student Life that helps incoming and current Indian students to maintain their cultural identity and assimilate the Athens culture by providing initial and continued support to the students in the form of housing, cultural festivities and a close knit community of Athens families and friends. The association welcomed me to the university by providing a lot of vital resources, and in order to extend the same helping environment to new incoming students, I joined the leadership team of ISA (2014-2015) as public relations officer and as the vice president in 2015-2016. The strong relationships that I developed with the international student community has to date been one of my best experiences at UGA and it was further fortified when I was part of the team that represented UGA at the Georgia International Leadership Conference in 2015.

Recently I led a discussion at the Office of International Education called Discussion Without Borders, where I was able to share fun and interesting facts about my home country, India, and give a millennial’s perspective of studying abroad in the United States.

Current Employment:

Graduate Teaching Assistant – Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors, UGA
Material Scientist – brrrº Inc., Atlanta, GA

Family Ties to UGA:

I am the first of my family to come to this country to pursue my higher studies and found a home at UGA. I’m definitely not going to be the last one.

I chose to attend UGA because…

… UGA is the only leading university in the Southeast to house a department that does interdisciplinary research in polymers, textiles and fibers. My master’s advisor at Colorado State University, Dr. Ajoy Sarkar, highly recommended his alma mater, the department of textiles, merchandising and interiors, because of its dedicated faculty and up-to-date research facilities.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

I love walking around North Campus and discovering a new corner or a hidden garden (the Latin American Ethnobotanical Garden was a pleasant surprise). The turtle pond near the ecology building is my favorite lunch spot and the Creamery is a real treat for the days that I need a pick-me-up. I like the Tate Student Center Plaza because of the flurry of activities that keeps life as a graduate student very interesting.

When I have free time, I like…

I have a newfound love for photography, so I gravitate toward going on walks, hikes and exploration trips to several state and local parks in Georgia and its neighboring states. My favorite place to explore thus far has been Cloudland Canyon State Park in North Georgia. On a more day-to-day basis, I love going on a run or walk on the trails around Lake Herrick with my year-old pup, Cooper.

The craziest thing I've done is…

On a road trip to Yellowstone National Park from Colorado, we chanced upon a baby bear on one of the roads in the park and had to almost hold our breath till the mama bear came and retrieved her offspring from our path.

My favorite place to study is…

The science library is my favorite place to study. I love the atmosphere and am motivated to concentrate better. Plus, the staff there is super helpful and friendly.

My favorite professor is…

I have two: Dr. Suraj Sharma for being the most understanding and motivating major professor a graduate student can ever ask for and Dr. Vincent Joseph Starai in the microbiology department, who dedicated so much time and effort into helping me understand the concepts of prokaryotes, which is one of the cornerstones of my research project.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

Being a textile science nerd, I would love to spend an afternoon with Stephanie Kwolek, who is inventor of Kevlar polymer. She has been my inspiration as a woman scientist for a long time.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

… try and achieve life’s bigger goals such as abolish human trafficking and make college education more affordable.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

… travel around the world documenting different cultures and traditions. Also, if money was not a limitation, I would like to help educate women in countries where women’s education is undervalued.

What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?

I am passionate about sustainability in every aspect of life. Be it sustainable practices, materials, processes or life choices, in order for our future generations to experience the unique gifts that this planet has to offer, sustainability is a key ingredient.

My current research in biodegradable plastics is my commitment to relentlessly pursue sustainable materials and try to make them cost effective. I also plan on incorporating sustainable practices in my workplace and in all future product design plans as much as possible.

After graduation, I plan to…

… work in the textile/polymer industry and then eventually bring all my industry experience to academia as a professor.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

Meeting the world’s leading scientist in biodegradable polymers, Dr. Isao Noda, at a chemistry seminar was one of my most special experiences at UGA.