Standing out as the leading provider of plant-based textiles for the circular economy

The goal of this project is to help NFW identify an ownable message strategy and specific creative storytelling ideas for standing out among a very crowded field of competitors in the plant-based textile movement. NFW has a unique approach to using abundant, natural materials in a truly circular way (cradle to cradle). We also have a key competitive advantage in our ability to scale at levels of magnitude more than others. However, a lack of consumer knowledge about existing issues with the use of plastics in fashion and footwear, the dominance of incumbent messaging, and a lack of transparency and accountability in a crowded field of new entrants create a significant hurdle in breaking through the noise in the plant-based materials movement.


  • Interest in the environment and sustainability
  • Digital media and communications
  • Some interest in fashion
  • Creativity

Client(s) name(s):

NFW and Mirum

The Mirum platform extends NFW’s ability to mold and shape natural polymers and creates high-performance composite materials that are plant-based and contain no plastics. Utilizing natural inputs they remain highly tunable for use by creative product designers. Mirum can replace leather or less sustainable leather alternatives which typically use polyurethane or other plastic binders. and

General Manager, Mirum Business Unit
Oihana leads all aspects of NFW’s breakthrough, plant-based 100% natural plant-based alternative leather line, Mirum. She joined NFW in 2019, bringing 16 years of experience working in multiple countries and across a range of roles at global giant BASF. She has deep expertise in innovation, technology, sustainability, and proven experience helping customers turn ideas into commercial success. Hailing from Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain, she earned her Ph.D. in polymer chemistry from POLYMAT, the University of the Basque Country.

Director of Marketing, NFW
Annie leads the marketing and communications function at NFW. She supports the Mirum and Clarus business lines as well as the organization’s overall PR, internal communications, and community relations efforts. She brings two decades of experience in a range of roles across multiple industries including ESG investing, natural and organic foods, and alternative proteins. She excels at translating complicated concepts into ideas that can connect with and motivate action. She is originally from Wisconsin and lives in Minneapolis, MN. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Journalism and Political Science and a Masters in Strategic Public Relations from The George Washington University.

Project Mentor

Elisabeth Reed, Director of Sustainability at ISU.

Mike Wiese. Mr. Wiese is a 1984 graduate of ISU with double majors in Computer Science and Mathematics along with a Business Administration minor. Since graduating from ISU he has spent the bulk of his professional career in project leadership and business management consulting roles focused on clarifying business challenges and delivering meaningful solutions. When he is not working he enjoys running, watching sporting events, and attending theater performances.

Final deliverable format:

Project will have several mini-deliverables designed to garner feedback along the way and build a complete message strategy for our Mirum product line. The student team is encouraged to be creative in their approach to working through:

  • Competitive/landscape analysis
  • Strategic message framework
  • Creative ideation process for storytelling impact