This story is from the Winter 2021 edition of Florida Tech Magazine. For more, visit fit.edu/magazine.
A belief in the power of hard work for the greater good is what drives Dylan Cross ’19 in his entrepreneurial journey. Committed to improving the health and vitality of our oceans and everything that relies on them, he has launched Sea Threads, a startup focused on producing garments from 100% certified ocean plastic.
“My idea started off simple, but sometimes that’s all it takes,” says Cross. While earning his undergraduate degree in business and environmental studies, he and some friends researched environmentally friendly clothing. “The common trend was using post-consumer plastic from landfills. I realized the need for a greater impact.”
He explains that most plastic taken from the ocean goes to a landfill, a valiant but one-way process that only moves the waste rather than removing it. Directly turning the collected ocean plastic into garments not only saves money but transforms pollution into product.
Cross came to Florida Tech in 2015 with a love for the ocean and everything in it. His Florida Tech experiences in studying the regional environments of the Indian River Lagoon, Key West, Galapagos and Cuba stuck with him as he pursued his business degree and now, post-graduation, has joined the two passions into one venture.
Sea Threads is in its early stages, with its first products—face masks and neck gaiters—just launched and long-sleeved performance shirts coming this spring. As such, the business is an operation of one, with Cross himself managing business services via contract and under the mentorship of business advisors through the Melbourne, Florida, startup incubator Groundswell Startups.
As someone in the throes of early-stage startup life, Cross offers a piece of advice for entrepreneurial hopefuls: practice self-evaluation. “Your mission needs to be something that you are personally passionate enough about to make the needed sacrifices to achieve,” he says.
Early bird or night owl:
Total night owl.
Most important quality in a business leader:
Ability to talk to animals.
Favorite Florida Tech memory:
Camping in Key West during a tropical storm.