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Santa Fe Region Client ProfileRecycle Runway

Nancy Judd

Nancy Judd, Principal of Recycle Runway™ of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the quintessential entrepreneur.

In 2007, Nancy Judd started Recycle Runway, an environmental education entity that uses fabulous couture garments that Nancy creates from recycled “stuff” to capture the attention of people worldwide. As she has advanced her mission, she has encountered numerous challenges that would daunt the energies and focus of the most seasoned professionals.

Yet, Nancy remains steadfast in her commitment to succeed – as an educator, as an artist and as an entrepreneur.

One thing we at WESST have learned from many of the artists we have worked with over time – artists love people to love their work. At times, they are so motivated by expressions of artistic appreciation from individuals – that they will literally give away a piece of art they have worked on for hours, days, weeks or sometimes even years – because someone will “give it a good home.” This is an observation that sets the mindset for a scenario that is about to unfold.

As I write, Nancy is preparing her couture collection for her year-long exhibition at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport. The busiest airport in the world is showcasing 18 of Nancy’s garments to educate the traveling public about recycling and environmental education. It’s a tremendous honor and an even more tremendous undertaking. If you have the occasion to pass through Atlanta’s airport – head over to the International Concourse E – you’ll be glad you did. Exhibition sponsors like Coca Cola, Delta Airlines, Janome, Novelis and more understand the importance and value of the creative way Nancy is conveying important environmental information.

But, that’s a bit of back story.

When Nancy was approached two weeks ago by a high profile individual who is chairing an international environmental fund-raising event – she was asked if she would create a custom garment using recycled materials that conveyed a beautiful environment message – she was thrilled. This event is primo. It features celebrities too numerous to count, prestigious couture and fashion media and moguls and is totally in sync with the values of Recycle Runway and Nancy herself.

She spent hours meeting and communicating with the event chairperson and various other individuals involved with the worldwide environmental cause. She designed the garment that she envisioned. She was ready and willing to spend countless sleepless nights, engage the energies of colleagues and friends to assist in hands-on the production of a knock-out garment that met the short deadline.

After making time amidst her preparations for the long-anticipated Atlanta Airport show, she prepared a thoughtful package of how she could be compensated for her time, travel, skills, materials and garment creation – and, she worked hard to make it a win/win scenario for the environmental cause, which could be prominently featured in the Recycle Runway exhibition for a year at the Atlanta Airport.

Make no mistake – Nancy the artist and educator was thrilled to be asked to create the garment for such a worthy, high-profile fund-raising event that is totally compatible with her goals. But Nancy has learned a lot over time – and, in addition to being an artist and an educator – she is also an entrepreneur. And entrepreneurs need to generate a profit to achieve their goals – whatever those goals may be.

So, she submitted her proposal. And they said, “We were thinking FREE.” And she said, “Thanks for thinking of me – but ‘No thanks’.”

Lessons learned.

Youth Eco Dress by Nancy Judd

More than 2,000 children from across the country created the 2,600 eco-pledges that cover Nancy’s recently completed Youth Eco-Dress. Inspired by Scarlett O’Hara’s dress fashioned from recycled draperies in the movie, “Gone with the Wind,” the dress will be prominently featured at Recycled Runway’s exhibit at the Atlanta International Airport.

Written by Bette Bradbury, WESST’s Northern New Mexico Regional Manager