Kelsey Halling

Speaker, Kelsey Halling
Director of Sales, Thread
  • Kelsey is a StartingBloc Fellow (StartingBloc dedicates itself to growing leaders from high-potential to high-impact).
  • Thread is a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’ Circular Economy 100 program, which helps organizations realize their circular economy ambitions.
  • Thread recently partnered with manufacturer and retailer Timberland to present a collection of footwear and bags made from Thread fabric.

Kelsey believes brunch is the best kind of meal, thinks volunteering is sexy, and runs a lot. And by a lot, we mean a lot. In fact, she was the first woman to run across Haiti – all 370 km.

The impact weaver

You could say that Kelsey Halling is helping weave the fabric of society out of trash. Kelsey is a co-founder and director of sales at Thread, a company that takes post-consumer plastic bottles collected in Haiti, Honduras and Taiwan and transforms it into clothing materials and products, in the process creating respectable jobs and responsible apparel supply chains. Thread materials – canvas, jersey, denim and performance products – are used by several notable fashion brands, including Timberland, Marmot and Reebok.

Eschewing the traditional corporate work environment, and out of a desire to work with mission-driven organizations, Kelsey began her business career in the nonprofit sector. It was there that she became passionate about social enterprise, solving social and environmental problems with for-profit business models, and decided to pursue opportunities in this space. Kelsey helped start Thread in 2011, and today measures and enhances the impact the company has on people, planet and profit throughout its extensive supply and employment network. She connects apparel and footwear brands to these transparent supply chains, allowing brands to increase their social and environmental impact. Indeed, Thread currently provides jobs and income opportunities for over 3,800 people in the developing world, including roughly 1,300 bottle collectors, entrepreneurs and manufacturing employees in Haiti, where the supply chain is based, and another 1,800 in Honduras. Thread also recently launched a micro-loan program to provide interest-free support to Haitian suppliers, has been active in hurricane disaster relief, and estimates it has removed over 40 million plastic bottles from the streets and canals of Haiti, Honduras and Taiwan.

“We’re creating the most transparent and responsible fabric on the planet in an industry that is infamous for its opaqueness.”
Kelsey to Pittsburgh Magazine  
  • Kelsey is a StartingBloc Fellow (StartingBloc dedicates itself to growing leaders from high-potential to high-impact).
  • Thread is a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’ Circular Economy 100 program, which helps organizations realize their circular economy ambitions.
  • Thread recently partnered with manufacturer and retailer Timberland to present a collection of footwear and bags made from Thread fabric.

Kelsey believes brunch is the best kind of meal, thinks volunteering is sexy, and runs a lot. And by a lot, we mean a lot. In fact, she was the first woman to run across Haiti – all 370 km.