We had the good fortune of connecting with Jackson Riegler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jackson, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan in Muskegon, Michigan and always was passionate about protecting what I call home. As I grew in my education throughout high school, I became knowledgable of the serious risks towards the Great Lakes watershed such as invasive species, the Line 5 pipeline, and plastic waste in the Great Lakes: I wanted to do my part to protect this vital natural resource. With some money I had saved from landscaping in the summer, I started Oshki (meaning ‘fresh’ in Native American Ojibwa): an apparel company focused on protecting the Great Lakes through the reuse of plastic waste and donating 5% of proceeds to non-profits working to preserve the Great Lakes.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Oshki is a sustainable apparel company that transforms plastic waste from the Great Lakes into durable clothing. We are the first company to use 100% United States plastic waste in all of our products, with our supply chain being centered completely in the US: from resource extraction to final packaging. Business-wise, I got to where I am today through the amazing connections I was able to make thru being a student at the University of Michigan and the willingness of professionals around the country to see my vision and give me their time of day. I was amazed with how willing the professional world was towards helping out a student with a dream and I feel very fortunate to be born in this generation where I can share my mission and story with the world. I am excited to be launching a few new products such as woman’s leggings, new graphic performance wear, and men’s shorts over the next couple of months.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would tell them to go to hit the local beaches and spend time discovering the beautiful dune areas Muskegon, Michigan has to offer. Some local places to hit for eats include: The Hearthstone, The Deck, Dockers, G&L hotdogs, and Teddy Spaghettis. I would go to both Hoffmaster and Muskegon State Park for some dune hikes and beach days. Then Frosty Cove for local ice cream. On a cloudy day, I’d check out the expanding Muskegon downtown, including Unruly Brewery and 18th Amendment for local drinks Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Growing up, my dad always pushed me to go after what I was passionate about and what I believed in, regardless of what I ended up doing. He never forced me towards a particular field that I wasn’t necessarily interested in and let me have the freedoms to doing what I loved. That parenting mindset is what helped move me towards starting Oshki in the first place, as I have become older I realized how rare that is in parents in my generation. I am lucky to have someone who pushed me in this way towards my passions.