Dana Cohen, Founder of Hyer Goods, Transforms Waste into Quality Designs
By: Valeria Ramos
Founded in 2020 by Dana Cohen, Hyer Goods is a sustainable fashion brand that offers accessories made from leather and fabric sourced from factory scraps.
By upcycling trash, Hyer Goods helps eliminate the massive energy footprint needed to cultivate land, livestock, crops, and fertilizers while also reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills.
Dana joined our podcast, Office Chats, to share how her disdain for corporate fashion inspired her to create a sustainable brand. She also provides practical insights for aspiring entrepreneurs and conscious consumers.
Q&A with Dana Cohen, the Founder of Hyer Goods
What inspired you to create Hyer Goods?
My career in corporate fashion coincided with the rise in fast fashion and it wasn’t resulting in the best product for consumers. I also developed health issues because the corporate environment became so stressful.
I wanted to stay in fashion but wanted to do so in a way that was more healthy for me and the planet. It was nerve-wracking to start a business but it felt like my last hope in the industry to create a sustainable brand.
What is your ultimate goal with Hyer Goods?
My goal with Hyer Goods is to minimize waste. We upcycle manufacturing scraps and deadstock into new products.
We’re diverting what would be trash in landfills, keeping it in circulation, and making it into beautiful designs.
We started with a small collection of leather wallets and handbags. We recently added beanies to the collection made of yarn waste from luxury fashion brands.
Where do you source factory scraps for your collection?
I work with a factory in India that manufactured the outerwear I was making at Cole Haan. We weed through their leather discards and see what’s salvageable.
It’s still a high-quality product it just often has small imperfections that need to be cut around. We take those materials, repurpose them, and create beautiful leather goods. In our first seven months of business, we upcycled over 500 pounds of waste.
Do you think the fashion industry will continue to see sustainable innovations?
The industry has caught on to the consumer’s desire for brands that prioritize the environment, but I think it’s going to be a long and bumpy road to creating meaningful change, especially within large corporations. I think a lot of the change will come from smaller brands that can spearhead innovation.
What advice would you give someone looking to start their own brand?
My first response is always ‘Do it!’ I was someone who was dreaming of starting a business for over a decade and I wish I had done it earlier.
However, if you’re going to start a business, ask yourself, “Do we need this brand?”
There is so much product out there, so think about what you’re bringing to the table that’s different and evaluate why people need it.
For me, the answer to that was simple. Hyer Goods is keeping quality materials out of landfills to reduce waste. If you’re wanting to start a brand, just make sure there’s a reason to add more products into the world.
Learn more about Hyer Goods
Hyer Goods is a testament to the power of innovation and the potential for positive change in the world of sustainable fashion. By harnessing her entrepreneurial spirit, Dana Cohen has pioneered new pathways toward sustainability, challenging conventional notions of waste and consumerism.