Minneapolis-based Yardbird raised $4.4 million for furniture made from recycled ocean-bound plastic

Jonathan Shieber

The Minneapolis-based outdoor furniture brand Yardbird, which makes its wares in part from recycled plastic harvested from beaches and ocean-bound waterways, has raised $4.4 million in financing.

Even heading into the teeth of a pandemic, American consumers won't be denied their sustainably manufactured patio furniture.

Yardbird, which closed the round in March, makes its furniture from recycled plastic that the company says is repurposed ocean plastic sourced from beaches, waterways and ocean-bound susceptible locations. The company said it incorporated over 75,000 pounds of this material into its furniture in 2020 alone -- meaning roughly half of every piece of resin-based wicker furniture that the company makes contains that recycled material.

It's not only the feedstock that makes the company green. The company said it offsets its entire carbon footprint -- from commuting, product transportation, and warehouse, showroom and office electricity and heating -- with a service called CarbonFund.

Since the coroanvirus outbreak hit in late March, the company has worked to change several aspects of its business, according to company co-founder Jay Dillon.

The digital nature of the business means that the company didn't have much in the way of a physical footprint to shut down, but its emphasis on building a direct to consumer brand has meant increased investment in the company's website.

"Our supply chain runs through China and in mid-February when the outbreak hit them the hardest, I was very concerned about supply concerns and was up all night talking with factories. At the time, we wanted to get as much product in-hand as possible to manage inventory, but now we are scaling that back because there are so many unknowns in the U.S. even though China is back on the grid," wrote Dillon in an email.

The company moved to contactless delivery of its furniture in late March and has seen steady online sales for its outdoor furniture as consumers invest in sprucing up the only outdoor spaces they can access in some fases.

"We still believe in our model, and so do our investors—we have secured bank lines of credit to help us weather this storm but as of right now, we don’t know how long the storm will last,” Dillon wrote.