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Inno 5 under 25: NC State grad reimagines uses for surplus clothing


At age 23, Emily Neville has unprecedented connections with leading companies like Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL), Red Bull, Peter Millar and dozens of universities — and the list is growing. The businesses turn to her to help transform their surplus branded clothing and textile waste into new products.

Neville founded Reborn Clothing Co. in the fall of 2017 when she was a sophomore Park scholar at N.C. State University. Originally, Reborn launched as a way for consumers to turn clothing from the back of their closets into something new such as tote bags, pillows and laptop sleeves.

But she soon saw the larger potential for her company to also help reduce the billions of industry-wide pounds of textile waste by partnering with organizations of all sizes on upcycling, downcycling and corporate gifting solutions.

In 2020, the company generated $200,000 in top-line revenue. This year, the company is targeting making $500,000 in top-line revenue – growth she said will be aided by the July opening of Reborn’s North Hills store in Raleigh. By the end of the year, Neville expects Reborn to be profitable and has her sights set on crossing the $1 million in annual recurring revenue threshold.

“As the founder, you’ll either be the reason it’s successful or you’ll be the reason it fails, and I carry that weight every day. And so with that, at such a young age, I think it’s a lot of stress to carry, but it’s made me tenacious and kind of bullish,” Neville said.

Since launching, Neville has raised about $800,000 total from angel investors who got behind her vision and saw the market opportunity for a business of this kind.


Age: 23

Birthplace: Dunn

Education: B.A., political science and french minor, N.C. State University


What was your first job? Lifeguard in high school.

How do you destress? I spend a lot of time with my dog, Oliver. I also enjoy running and playing pool, especially at Person Street Bar.

What’s your biggest success for Reborn so far? I think it’s really cool that a few years ago I always said I wanted Reborn to be in North Hills and said it very jokingly and meant for our products to be in North Hills, but now we have a store there.

What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur? It’s very valuable to spend time learning the industry and knowing your place in it –where the gaps are and how you are solving a need or adding value that is not already there in the marketplace. Test yourself on the idea.