Massimo Brogi makes a living by the seat of your pants. Levi's jeans to be exact.
Offering as much as $12 a pair, EuroWorld Trade Inc. President Brogi buys thousands of pairs of bluejeans and denim jackets from Utahns each month. In turn, he exports the clothing to Japan, Thailand, Australia, Italy, France, Germany and Spain, where retailers may charge $20 to $30 for a pair of used Levi's jeans.Used jeans are all the rage in Europe, the Pacific Rim and Australia. Most are purchased by people 16 to 30 years old, Brogi said.
"It's fashion and it's recession. They save money if they buy used jeans," Brogi said. New jeans sell for as much as $70 a pair in Europe, he said.
Brogi (pronounced bro-gee) said 10,000 to 15,000 pairs of jeans are shipped from the Salt Lake operation to foreign markets every 15 days. The jeans are repaired, cleaned, pressed and tagged with the company's own label "Recycled to New."
Obviously the business is profitable. Brogi runs one of a handful of businesses in Utah that export used jeans and denim jackets.
But Brogi says it's also good for the environment.
"To build a pair of jeans, it takes a lot of oil and energy for the machines to sew them and to make the fabric," he said. "By recycling and fixing them, we enable other people to use them again."
To further demonstrate the company's commitment to the environment, a small portion of its profits are donated to Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Foundation.
Brogi said the business also helps Utahns who need a little spending money.
Stroll into EuroWorld Trade's office at 1628 S. State any afternoon and you're likely to find a line of people hoping to turn their rags into riches.
"We get all kinds of people who don't need their jeans any more or they want to get rid of them. Some need the money instead of bringing them to the Salvation Army," he said.
EuroWorld Trade pays $12 for perfect condition, first-quality button-fly Levi's 501 bluejeans. But Lee, Wrangler and Levi's zipper front fetch $3 a pair, and women's Levi's jeans bring only $1 a pair.
Got a closet full of women's Wrangler or Lee jeans? Forget it. EuroWorld Trade doesn't buy them.
"They want the 501s," Brogi said of his foreign customers.