JULIE KEARNS

Julie owns Junket: Tossed And Found, a social enterprise that develops regenerative commerce solutions focused on reuse in Minneapolis, MN.


“Levi’s published a lifecycle report for their 501s, and they wanted to say ‘hey, look at how good we are. We’re going to be very transparent about how much water gets used, the full lifecycle, very transparent about eutrophication, very transparent about carbon dioxide’, etc.

They were transparent about the data but then the story they spun was ‘we’re going to tell people how to do their laundry.’  But because they had put their data out there I was able to use that to create some different arguments. What happens if...?"


My chat with Julie began the way many others do (in a loud cafe) but it was quickly clear this would not be a conversation like many others:

“I had just had my daughter, my husband left me and I lost 50 lbs”, Julie began, at the question of what she was doing and how she got there.  For reference, most people start with their undergraduate degree, or if they’re feeling extra saucy, a middle school science project.

Once the culturally ingrained taboo shield came down (“This stranger is talking about divorce!!! And weight!!!”  Faint) - I could simply appreciate the joy of speaking with somebody who navigates pain and potential social stigma with grace, and addresses it head on.

Julie’s weight loss and the financial burden of being a newly single mother led her on a personal journey to find a new wardrobe that was affordable and would fit.  This personal journey led to an entrepreneurial journey based on the discovery that there was value in curating second-hand goods (a tee bought for $0.50 that sold for $10, in particular).  This entrepreneurial journey exposed Julie to the astonishing amount of waste created via the systems of clothing ourselves and using things.  This entrepreneurial journey led Julie on an analytic quest to understand the impact of those systems, and what she might be able to do to reduce these impacts in order to align her business with her personal values.  [You can read more about Julie’s story, in her own words, here].

Julie uses a mix of data, including the EPA's manufacturing emissions, shipping and transit emissions from Carbonfund, and textile manufacturing emissions from the Stockholm Environment Institute to perform detailed inventory tracking for ubiquitous commodity items.  These data inform Junket’s mission through exercises like highlighting the environmental impact of the humble paper clip, and the decision to ship their goods exclusively via ground, a tactic she calls “strategically slow shipping”.  Julie is an open data advocates dream - a citizen using data to further a business and a social cause, hold companies accountable and tell passionate stories with gusto.  She’s an example that you don’t need to be a data scientist to use data powerfully and constructively, and likely, tragically, the only person I’ll ever speak with who has written the phrase "these adhesive fingernail rhinestones are LIT”.


RECOMMENDATIONS



Andrew Szasz; Shopping Our Way to Safety: How We Changed from Protecting the Environment to Protecting Ourselves

Kim Stanley Robinson; Green Earth

Eric Holthaus; Meteorologist, Climate Correspondent

WORK



Junket: Tossed & Found; Blog

Junket: Tossed & Found; Data Summary

Twitter; MainstreamReuse Hashtag

BACKGROUND

  • BA, Communications, Spanish
  • Founded Junket in 2010
  • ~15 years in project and account management [including time as “Mistress of Propoganda” at Geek Squad]




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