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Impact Partner Spotlight: Resketch Talks Environmentally Friendly Gifts

June 12, 2018

Environmentally friendly gifts are both great for our planet and are delightful to recipients. We recently spoke with Shawn Smith, the founder of one of our purveyors, Resketch. Resketch contributes eco-friendly paper products using 100% reclaimed paper to several of our collections. Every page is different in these high-quality journals, so you can enjoy different colors and textures as you jot down notes, ideas or stories.

Shawn shared more with us about how Resketch came to be, why its mission is important today and how purchasing its products benefits the environment.

What is Resketch’s background? How did your organization come to be?

I visited the Creative Reuse Warehouse (now defunct, I believe) on Chicago’s Southside with a friend who had volunteered there many years ago. My friend took me back to the backlots and shipping containers behind the main facility, and what I saw was mind-blowing and incredibly moving. On the one hand, it was amazing to see all of this reclaimed stuff, but on the other, there was A LOT of it, and some in leaky warehouses. It was just a matter of time before this stuff would be un-reusable.

Paper was one of the things I saw a significant amount of, and being an artist and designer by trade, I thought “WOW! This should be used for something before it’s too late!”

It wasn’t until later that I bought a paper sample booklet, and the Resketch idea came to me. The solution for using this disparate collection of paper was actually simple: It wasn’t a matter of having all of the same stock in a sketchbook or journal, but rather the disparity from one page to the next was actually a kind of discovery, AND it was super environmentally conscious.

After some prototyping and a lot of conversations with people smarter than me, I started work on a Kickstarter project. We launched in 2013, and were funded in two days. That gave Resketch the boost needed to get the project off the ground meaningfully, with a bit of capital, and validated the idea on a much broader scale.

Now we have a full product line, and create custom books for companies big and small around the world. Some key corporate clients of note include CLIF Bar, Accenture, Microsoft, HP, Zipcar, FLOR, Studio Gang Architects, ComEd and many others.


What cause does Resketch serve?

Resketch diverts otherwise usable paper from our waste streams, reclaiming and reusing it.

We take that paper as we find it – though heavily curated to ensure nothing is soiled, crumpled, or otherwise unusable – and turn it into super interesting and creative journals, sketchbooks and other useful paper products.

In addition, the long-term goal is to work toward a one-to-one model (or as close as is reasonable) to get our books into school art programs that can’t otherwise afford such basic art materials. I love the idea of a student using a Resketch book to express themselves, and the untapped potential of what that could mean for both that student and for the world at large.

Why is this an important cause today?

Simply put, paper is heavy. It’s essentially compressed wood at scale, which takes up space in landfills, and energy in the transport and processing of it. Further, it’s simply wasteful to throw away or even recycle something that can be reused. The goal is to get to this kind of paper before it’s too late and use it for writing, ideas, drawings, grocery lists or whatever. 

Can you tell us more about what the results of your work have been?

When I first started Resketch in 2013, I had a hunch there was a lot of paper out there that could be diverted and reclaimed, but I didn’t understand the full scope of what was actually out there. I’ve diverted more than 5 tons of paper since I’ve started, and I truly believe this is the tip of the iceberg. All of this paper has been from the Chicagoland area. If we go farther out, or even to other major cities? The sky’s the limit.

What products of Resketch’s are included in Packed with Purpose’s environmentally friendly gifts?

For now,  we include our main 7 x 9-inch size, which can be used as either a journal or sketchbook, as well as our steno-style notebook that’s 4.5 x 7-inch, which typically features a slightly higher percentage of “lined” paper in Packed with Purpose’s environmentally friendly gifts. Packed with Purpose also has used our products to create custom sketchbooks for their client conferences, complete with the client’s logo and branding.

I use quotes due to the unique nature of our product – we don’t have the usual consistent sources that other companies have, so from one run to the next and even one book to the next, the stock can and will be different. That’s one of our customers’ favorite features of our books, above and beyond the stellar environmental impact.


Why do you partner with Packed with Purpose’s environmentally friendly gifts?

We think globally and act locally a lot, and that’s a really important mantra. To partner with Packed with Purpose and its environmentally friendly gifts and vendors by proxy, it puts that mantra into action for a company and its employees easily and effectively. In addition, we live in a time now where being conscious about the environment is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. Any way we can facilitate that is hugely important to Resketch. Beyond this, it’s also important to support small, independently-owned businesses.

Why do you think people should give environmentally friendly gifts?

People should give environmentally friendly gifts for the same reasons outlined above. The more we can keep this front and center, the better for everyone in the short and especially long term. The more people who make environmentally conscious choices, the better. Packed with Purpose’s environmentally friendly gifts help with that.

Where can we find Resketch’s products?

Online is the easiest place at resketchbook.com, but we’re available at Zero Market in Colorado, The Wasteshed in Chicago, and a handful of other retailers. We’re always looking for retail partners, so contact us if you think we’d be a good fit for your store.

Shop Resketch’s journals in our At Your Best and Notable Essentials collections! Each of these gifts include environmentally friendly gifts your recipients will treasure.