Sunday, 3 November 2019

Interview With Andrew Ferguson, Founder Of Charitable Second Hand Store Re-Fashion

In the last several years there has been a massive shift in our attitudes as consumers, towards second hand, as well as sustainable fashion, although I think some people still have certain negative associations with charity shops and second hand. 

Re-Fashion is a great place for you to be introduced to second hand shopping if you are someone to whom the idea of shifting through a huge assortment of 'someone else's' clothes still puts you off entering charity shops. 
Maybe you just prefer to do your shopping online or have specific brands in mind that you want to buy from.

Whilst I enjoy rummaging through the rails for bargains in charity shops, sites such as Re-Fashion and Depop are a great way to make second hand shopping attractive and accessible to more people using all of the benefits of an online store.
You can shop clothes from high street and designer brands at a fraction of the shop price whilst a percentage of the money from your purchase goes to support charities such as Breast Cancer Care and Make A Wish, giving charities an alternative platform for fundraising if they are unable to open a shop on the high street.
                                       1. What led you to start Re-Fashion?

We were already running high-street charity shops for Breast Cancer Care before starting Re-Fashion. Our goal was to make them fantastic places to shop, aligning the experience with great retailers rather than charity shops. We soon realised we could replicate this online and create an even better experience by using e-commerce functionality, like search sort and filters. Some people love rummaging rails but a lot of people like just seeing all the skirts in their size. Online you can do that easily. Once we had the technology and logistics in place we knew we could offer our service to multiple charities and bring them online. We’re particularly keen to offer our platform to organisations that can’t afford to be on the high-street, which by the way is 99% of UK charities! Donating clothes is such a great way to give and it means that they too can now benefit from this action.

       2. How do you think a site like Re-fashion can change perceptions of second-hand clothes?

There’s a generation of customers who view used clothes in a positive light. Sustainable fashion is important part of their purchase decision and they see second-hand almost as a status symbol. But a lot of people don’t and we want to change this mind-set by flipping the negative baggage ‘second-hand fashion’ comes with. We do this by making Re-Fashion feel like their other online destinations they’re used to. These could be anything from ASOS to Net-A-Porter. So we spend a lot of time on photography, design and user experience to make our brand feel premium and trustworthy. We know that once these consumers, who might be sitting on the fence, experience high quality second-hand they never look back.

                                             3. How do you source clothing?

Although we do stock some high-street surplus items nearly all of the clothes are donated. People hear about us through word of mouth or come to the website looking to buy, see that they can donate and so order a bag. We like this as it promotes circular fashion and encourages our customers to recycle as well as consume.

                                  4. Have you always shopped in charity shops?

I used to shop vintage jeans through charity shops when I was a student but I’m pretty tall so it was a challenge. I see such amazing women’s clothes getting sent to Re-Fashion I can’t wait for us to do a mens’ version so I can become a loyal customer :-)

                  5. What is your favourite piece of clothing that you have been sent?                                                                                     Have you had any surprises?

We receive lots of generous donations but one stands out from a woman decluttering her house who gave us 20 full bin liners of the most fabulous on-trend clothes. It ranged from boutique labels to big designer brands and was such a thrill going through each bag wondering what amazing item you would pick out next. Everyone was a humdinger and they’ve nearly all sold out on our site.

                                                     6. Describe your typical working day.

Being a start-up with so many things going on no one day is ever the same. It can flip from defining our Facebook advertising strategy to sorting though a donation bag of clothes ready for listing. We’re a small but growing team and everyone is hands-on which makes the job varied but very rewarding.

Thank you Andrew for answering my questions about Re-Fashion! I am also excited to see the result of your collaboration with Sustainable Streetwear brand Quillattire!

Why not continue to shop your favourite High-Street and designer brands, but more sustainably on Re-Fashion?

                           Beccy x


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