She has spent almost half of her life in Asia. This trendy mom of two was once at the forefront of fashion developments for big brands like LVMH, Richemont, Lane Crawford and the Selfridges Group for more than a decade.
Sarah Garner worked in the luxury fashion industry in various management roles and led a glamorous life. But as she strutted through business meetings in her assertive stiletto heels owning the stage with her career, a nagging thought always arose in her mind – how unsustainable the fashion industry is due to the constant need. new looks and materials.
“While my fashion career was often glamorous on the front lines, I became increasingly concerned with the unsustainable pace of the industry coupled with an insatiable consumer appetite for novelty,” Sarah told Vulcan Post in a one-on-one interview.
These thoughts grew stronger day by day and by the time she became a mother and had her first child, the maternal instinct to protect the environment, just like Mother Earth, became her new calling.
“When I had my first child, it allowed me to highlight my desire to serve him and his future. This prompted me to reorient my career, drawing on my past experiences to deepen my passion for a more sustainable fashion industry.
“Plus, seeing my own son’s experience going through his largely intact baby wardrobe, I knew it was something that needed to be fixed. In my drive to build a platform that facilitates efficient sharing and circularity, Retykle was born in 2016. “
Retykle was created to take all the hassle out of reselling buyers and sellers, the founder said. The goal then was to make buying and selling second-hand baby clothes an easy and rewarding experience, which improves the lives of parents and the environment.
The birth of Retyklé
It seems Sarah knew what the market needed, as in just five years since its inception, the company has grown to sell thousands of products each month, with over 150,000 items listed on its Hong Kong website. Kong. Following its success in Hong Kong, Retykle launched its first overseas subsidiary in Singapore last November.
“We have a few thousand subscribers in Singapore thanks to our visibility and the building of our brand since the launch of the retykle.com site… We have also welcomed hundreds of new sellers to Singapore as soon as our doors opened and are building our brand locally, as we did in Hong Kong, one “Retykler” at a time. “
According to Sarah, before Retykle, there were no formal channels through which parents could buy or sell children’s clothing that they loved. Back in the day, parents had to turn to social media and classified groups to find used items. It was a tedious process and some may even end up buying counterfeit products.
Additionally, parents who wanted to resell their children’s clothes often found it difficult to list and sell each item individually, on top of their busy schedules. Often times, the channels or platforms they sold their items on had low reach and efforts were wasted.
Retykle cuts down on the time it takes to stock up on these clothes and makes it easy for sellers to list their items, Sarah said. The company operates as an online consignment platform, which means that the Retykle team collects items from customers’ homes for free. He also takes on the responsibilities of the sellers, from collection to pricing and delivery to customers.
The Retykle team performs quality control, photography, pricing and item listing. The sellers just need to supply the clothes and make money every time an item sells. Popular brands on the site include Ralph Lauren, Adidas, and Stella McCartney.
All of these are built using the platform’s custom technology, which provides a seamless experience for sellers and buyers, Sarah said.
“For our sellers, we offer free door-to-door pickups, then they receive automated messages along the way along with a personal dashboard to track their items without having to do anything. Salespeople just need to sit down and wait to collect their earnings of 50 percent of the sale price in cash or 55 percent for store credit.
“For buyers, we provide quality assurance services to mitigate the risk of damage, defects or latent counterfeits in the peer-to-peer second-hand market,” said Sarah.
Retykle guarantees that all items listed on its site have been freshly washed and carefully checked by its quality control team. It backs the products with 100% guarantees, the founder said.
“We have strict multi-point control to ensure that everything listed on our site meets our criteria for quality, brand, grade and authenticity. For items that are not accepted for listing, we give sellers the option to pick up their items (free of charge), pay to have them returned (for S $ 5.00), or we will donate their items to a local registered charity on their behalf (free of charge), ”Sarah said.
“We will accept free returns within seven days of purchase if something does not meet a customer’s taste,” she added.
Potential of pre-loved children’s clothing
There is huge potential in the circular economy for a popular children’s clothing market like Retykle, Sarah said.
“Everything we buy for our children is for temporary use so I think there is no better category suited to circularity because the need for a rotating wardrobe is inherent in their growth spurts. unending. ”
According to her, the children’s fashion space alone is worth nearly $ 250 billion globally and only one to three percent of the stock reaches the second-hand market when it’s too big. This makes it a huge and largely untapped opportunity.
The recent sustainability surge spurred by the pandemic is also helping the resale industry ‘grow exponentially’.
“The global clothing resale market is expected to more than double to reach $ 64 billion in sales by 2025. Increased reliance on digital platforms due to the pandemic, coupled with growing concern for the environment, as well as An enthusiasm to make more money out of our closets in these uncertain economic times are some of the reasons contributing to this accelerated shift towards circular fashion.
Singapore is seen as a participant in this sustainable lifestyle push, which is why the company made the decision to locate here.
“What sets Singapore apart from other countries is that there is a high growth mindset for shifting to sustainable lifestyle choices. This openness to making daily changes in order to walk more lightly on the environment are the seeds of opening up to the second-hand market. There is already a fairly active and thriving community investing in the exchange and opportunity for adult fashion, but the kids segment has been neglected until now, ”Sarah said.
Business growth amid Covid-19
The pandemic may have devastated and negatively impacted some businesses, but for Retykle, she was able to seize opportunities during this time.
“The Covid-19 has had many unforeseen benefits for our business. As parents spend more time at home, they focus more on tidying and organizing their closets and have made a habit of emptying their closets and “retykling” usually, ”Sarah said.
“We have also seen a marked increase in environmental concerns throughout the pandemic, which has resulted in significant changes in consumer behavior. The second hand is the most sustainable way of dressing and parents are particularly compelled to do what is best for the future of their children, ”she added.
In addition to the increase in online shopping as more people stayed at home, some families who had tighter purse strings also sought alternatives like Retykle. “Financial and business uncertainty has led more and more people to free up value in their unused assets in their closets and seek discounts by purchasing their favorite brands with Retykle, as items are sold with an average discount of 80%. “
One of the setbacks the company has faced due to Covid-19 is that team members cannot meet physically between Singapore and Hong Kong. So far, the team has relied on remote interactions to stay connected, but they hope to hold in-person meetings once the pandemic subsides.
Hiring and financing plans
Looking ahead, 2022 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Retykle as she steps up her efforts to expand her Retykle community here.
The company has accumulated nearly 5,000 items on its retykle.sg website for sale and is adding more inventory every day. To support this growth, she plans to more than double the home team from her current team of three. Globally, the company has 15 employees.
Retykle also plans to increase its Series A funding cycle this year to develop new markets and strengthen its technological capabilities to provide opportunities for brands to connect to its platform and grow the circular economy through they.
There are also plans to host a pop-up event soon, but Sarah adds that the company will always keep an eye on e-commerce.
“We will always remain largely an e-commerce platform, as we believe in the value of the convenience of shopping online, especially in these times of a pandemic. However, we believe it is important that customers have a physical point of contact with us to learn more about our brand, mission and platform, ”she said.
Featured Image Credit: Retykle
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