While New Orleans is taking a greener approach to Mardi Gras this year, there is still work to be done. Epiphany Throws, a new Nola-based company, is hoping to help with their handmade throws that are made of recycled material and/or biodegradable.
"My partners and I began researching ways to help make Mardi Gras greener immediately after Mardi Gras last year," co-founder Allison Tiller told Adore. "Two of us ride in Iris and it makes us sick to our stomachs to see the amount of waste we produce. We know there are other great organizations in the space, but we also know it will take a lot of us working together to truly make a difference in turning the tide to create a greener and more sustainable Mardi Gras."
Tiller and her partners Penn Iarocci and Melissa Montgomery began to research making beads of recycled glass. The process was not only intensive, but too costly. "After trying many different prototypes we came across the idea that Mardi Gras 'beads' didn’t necessarily have to be 'beads' and began looking for sources of recycled textile material (the textile industry contributes to 10% of carbon emissions a year, plus all the discarded 'fast fashion' is a huge filler of landfills). This was our 'Epiphany' moment and lead to the name, which also works so well with Carnival and all things Mardi Gras. We only settled on our first few designs a few weeks ago, but knew if we didn’t get our product out this Mardi Gras we would have to wait an entire year before generating buzz, so we decided to dive in."
There are currently three lines of products to choose from: "Athena" is made of recycled purple, green, and gold material in necklace length, while "Circe" is the headband length; the recycled material multi-colored silk is called "Penelope" and the smoother recycled silk is "Arachne." Epiphany Throws is sold out of bulk orders, but are able to fulfill a limited amount of retail orders. Bulk items are priced at $4 or below; the group hopes that people will pay slightly higher retail ($12-18) costs to help maintain a low bulk price.
Tiller, Iarocci, and Montgomery are making all of the product themselves, but are talking with suppliers, including one who can provide over 50,000 Athena and Circe throws for next year (they will still be handmade and will follow fair-trade practices). "We intend to also have a line handmade here in New Orleans and are in talks with various women's organizations whose clients could benefit from extra income," Tiller explained. "One of our partners is also pursuing a separate line to be handmade in South America. In addition to our handmade items, we also intend to offer 100% recycled and/or biodegradable materials that are factory made."
"Part of our mission is educating the public that it's better to throw less, good quality items than thousands of beads that literally go straight to the trash can or storm drain. We don’t want anyone to spend more than they already do on beads, we just want them to make smart choices and throw items that people will cherish for years to come."
Epiphany Throws is hosting a pop-up at the Elysian by Em temporary storefront on Thursday, February 20 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Friday, February 21 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The storefront can be found at 5113 Magazine Street.
Pins in the photos are for display only.