Wearwell's co-founder Emily Kenney chats with Brooke Winslow, Co-Inventor + Operations at Cora Ball about being an inventor, living on a sailboat with her family, and what our laundry has to do with sustainability.
Emily Kenney: Hi Brooke! Excited to be chatting. Can you share a little bit about yourself?
Brooke Winslow: Hello! I am one of the co-inventors of Cora Ball. These days I do product photography, web design, and manage the day-to-day Cora Ball operations. I grew up in the state of Washington and have loved living in central Vermont for the past seven years.
Emily: How did your interest in sustainability begin?
Brooke: During my middle school years, my family sold our house and moved onto our 40-foot sailboat for two years. That meant giving up the grand majority of our material possessions that didn’t fit in a 10’x10’ storage unit. We traveled south from Washington through California, Mexico, Central America, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands. My mom homeschooled my sister and me and we had the opportunity to experience vastly different cultures and landscapes than we were used to in the US. Unfortunately, in many small coastal towns there was a lack of waste infrastructure and we could see trash dumping sites spilling into the ocean. Sailing had always been a big part of my life and my family, and from the experience of seeing both the wondrous joys and the somber reality of some coastal communities, I was set on a path to protect our ocean.
Emily: Wow, what an incredible experience for you and your family! Makes total sense that you would begin working to solve pollution in the ocean. What motivated you and your team to invent the Cora Ball?
Brooke: Cora Ball was born out of our work as the nonprofit, Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean. My co-inventors, Rachael and James, founded the Rozalia Project to address marine debris through education, cleanups, research, and technology. They learned about microfiber pollution coming from our washing machines from an article in a popular science magazine in 2014, back when I was still a summer intern. James saw the writing on the wall and knew that microfiber would be identified as the biggest problem of marine debris in our ocean - and he was right! As a marine debris organization, we wanted to not only educate people about challenges our ocean faces, but also bring solutions to the table. Microfiber pollution from at-home laundry textiles had no solution, so we set out to make one and the three of us created the Cora Ball!
Emily: In 3 words, how do you describe your brand's mission?
Brooke: Healthy ocean everyday!
Emily: Sustainability can be described in so many different ways. How do you define it?
Brooke: I think of sustainability as a journey for people and planet, but it can also be a spectrum for particular choices and products we face day-to-day. If your options fall within ranges of bad, good, better, and best for the planet, then striving to be toward the “best” end of the spectrum as much as you can within your means (even if it’s not 100% of the time) will help our communities progress toward the big-picture sustainability goal.
Emily: Love that! What’s one piece of advice you would give someone who is just beginning to build sustainability into their daily life?
Brooke: “Lots of littles make a big!” is our favorite motto from our founder, Rachael Z Miller. The best thing you can do is pick one or two things to change and make it a habit. Once you’ve built your first habit, add another… then another and another! Sustainability is a process and every bit of progress matters. Feel good about every step you take from the first to the fortieth and beyond.
Emily: Such a good motto to live by! Anything else you want to share with wearwell’s community?
Brooke: We are thrilled to be part of the wearwell family! Sustainable fashion is vital for improving the health of our ocean, people, and planet. Everytime you choose to purchase a piece of clothing made with recycled or upcycled materials, natural dyes, and humane worker conditions, you are moving the needle on the status quo of the global fashion industry. Thank you for being part of the sustainable and thoughtful, slow fashion movement with Cora Ball and wearwell!
Emily: I couldn’t have said it better myself! We’re thrilled to be working with your team and are so happy to offer our wearwell community an opportunity to reduce their microfiber pollution. Thank you, Brooke!
Get your Cora Ball today to begin reducing your microplastic footprint!