VanHulley’s Circular Case Study: Converting Shirts into Boxers

You probably recognize this: a shirt, hanging in your closet. It is too dear to throw it away, but too worn out to wear it, maybe stained, maybe too small or even too large to wear… This is where Van Hulley can help you out. You send your shirt (or blouse) to the company, and get a pair of women or men boxer-shorts in exchange.

By re-using the fabric every Van Hulley boxer directly saves 560 litters of water, 3 tablespoons of pesticides, more than 20g of fertiliser and around 700g of Co2 emission.

Van Hulley is an example of how circularity brings opportunities for businesses. And how a company can make profit while being socially responsible. In the Dutch company, the women making the shorts are underserved women with difficulties to go into the labour market. Van Hulley provides working experience as well as schooling at entry level. After a year working in the company, the women leave the company and take the next step towards financial independency.


Fitting perfectly in this timeframe where purpose is becoming an appreciated value, Van Hulley was awarded the Runner-up status in The Circular Publics Choice Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos 2016.

The business case of the company covers revenues from the sales of boxer-shorts and gift vouchers mostly through online sales. The municipality provides funding for the support of the women through their year at Van Hulley including guidance after they leave. Other foundations have also supported their young social enterprise to cover overhead costs and extra support for marketing campaigns.

The main challenge for the company now is to become more self-sufficient. Keeping the workshop as it stands, the business aims to scale up and launch a line of Van Hulley boxershorts not from your own shirt:

  • Still socially produced, thus structurally creating long term jobs
  • Still as sustainable as can be: reusing fabric already made
  • Locally produced, thereby saving on transportation pollution, and stimulating local economy for low-educated work at the same time.

The business believes time is ripe to start a boxer-short brand that is socially produced and 100% sustainable, and a perfect fit and wonderful to wear. They are in the middle of finalizing their business case, and look forward to present it to committed investors looking for impactful and purposeful opportunities.

We have already started our Van Hulley voucher campaign in order to get the word around that we are planning to grow. Order 4 boxes for €100 and you are helping us getting started. 

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