Hamilton Perkins in Norfolk, VA

February 20, 2018 | Impact Stories

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Borrower : Hamilton Perkins
Where : Norfolk, VA
Loan Amount : $99,905
Project Type : Gap Financing



Hamilton Perkins is a leading entrepreneur in the Norfolk community and founded the Hamilton Perkins Collection, creating bags and shirts made from recycled plastic bottles and the vinyl from old billboard signage. Shirts are 50-50 cotton and plastic (billed as “The Internet’s most comfortable shirt”) and each designer duffel is constructed with 17.5 recycled plastic bottles and lined with 1 yard of repurposed vinyl; every bag interior is unique depending on the billboard used.

The company, which has been featured in Fast Company, the Washington Post and other media, is also committed to helping less developed nations by sourcing raw materials that divert plastic bottles, save water, and positively impact livelihoods in parts of the world that need it most.


The Norfolk Economic Development Authority awarded Perkins a $99,905 reimbursable HUD Community Development Block Grant to be used for marketing, inventory, and training of labor. The company will also use some of the grant funds to attend trade shows and promote the growing product line throughout the U.S.

VCC extended a bridge loan to allow Perkins to meet the requirements of the grant without affecting cash flow. VCC will pay the company’s expenses up-front, which will ultimately be repaid by the grant. As part of the grant requirements, Hamilton will create three jobs over the next year in Norfolk. The gap loan closed on December 28, 2017.

The Hamilton Perkins Collection, like Virginia Community Capital, is a certified “B Corp” – a for-profit company certified by the nonprofit organization B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. This project aligns with VCC’s mission and goals of collaboration, innovation and serving traditionally underserved markets.


  1. Mission-Focused Lending

As a mission-focused lender, VCC is committed to supporting not only small businesses but companies that are positively impacting their communities and the world at large. The Hamilton Perkins Collection story is simple, yet their goals are profound. It all started with their founder’s desire for a unique and affordable travel bag but quickly evolved into a mission of doing good for the planet while helping people look great moving around it. Hamilton Perkins Collection is committed to growing an internationally acclaimed business by producing award winning bags that help build up the Norfolk economy, recycle in the local community, and support dignified income opportunities in less developed countries. Hamilton Perkins Collection is ideally suited for a VCC loan.

Learn more about our Small Business Lending.