- MycoWorks, a mushroom biofiber firm, began commercial-scale production last week at its new manufacturing facility in Union, South Carolina, according to a release sent to Fashion Dive.
- The 136,000-square-foot plant, which the company says is the first of its kind, could grow millions of square feet of the company’s leather alternative Reishi material each year, per the release. The company previously stated that the plant would employ more than 350 people.
- Construction on the factory began in 2022, after MycoWorks raised $125 million in a Series C financing round in 2021 and earmarked those funds for the project.
While some mushroom fiber companies are closing up shop, MycoWorks is doubling down on its efforts with the scale of this new facility, which the company says in its statement is a sign that the biomaterials industry is maturing.
“We are thrilled to open this first-of-its-kind facility in South Carolina,” Doug Hardesty, MycoWorks’ chief operating officer, said in the statement. “This reality is thanks to our team of experienced manufacturing leaders and engineers from the consumer goods, automotive, food, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries who have adapted robotic equipment and systems to handle our unique tray-based biomaterials process. In turn, they have enabled the first high-quality mycelium material product at scale, a feat which has never been accomplished until now.”
MycoWorks’ leather alternative material has been used in luxury handbags and footwear as well as in vehicle interiors and home furnishings. The company’s partners include Hermès and General Motors.
For Union’s population of approximately 27,000 people, per the latest U.S. Census data, the plant will offer what MycoWorks touts as an investment in reshoring production “from an industry that primarily sources from Europe.”
"We are thrilled to welcome MycoWorks to Union and have been eagerly awaiting the start of production," South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said in the release. "We are already seeing the growth that this opening is bringing to the immediate and greater communities in the area, including more jobs, housing, storefronts and overall investments. MycoWorks is a fantastic addition to our portfolio of energy-efficient plants, and we look forward to their long-term impact in South Carolina.”