It is becoming increasingly common to see people selling their used clothes, as well as second-hand clothing bazaars. According to Statista, younger generations buy these clothes to economize and care for the environment. This practice was taken to the online world by the fashion-tech Vestuá, a used clothing platform that has just received investment from the H&M Group, the first made by the firm in Latin America. The startup was founded in Chile and has been operating in Mexico for months. Joaquín Zavala, co-founder and CEO of Vestuá, answered our questions.
In simple terms, what is Vestuá?
It is the largest fashion-tech resale platform for sustainable fashion in Latin America. We offer our sellers (individuals) an easy and comfortable alternative to clear out their closets. On the other hand, thousands of garments and accessories are in excellent shape for those interested in quality, economical, and sustainable fashion. We do all this from a technological platform designed and developed in-house, allowing us to operate a business with hundreds of thousands of unique garments with different pasts (and owners) and different futures.
How is it different from others that have tried this idea before?
Our value proposition differs from the 1-to-1 sales platforms, as sellers only have to give us their clothes at home or send them to our distribution center. From there on, we do all the work of reviewing the garments, determining the optimal price, photographing, storing, generating the sale, and shipping until the buyer is happy with her purchase. Once this happens, we make the proceeds of the sale available to the seller. We do this efficiently and optimally based on our technology and processes.
How sustainable is it?
We say that our business has a triple impact: (1) economic, by generating measurable value and quality jobs, (2) social, by establishing alliances with foundations and NGOs so that our vendors can donate their garments that cannot be offered for sale, and (3) environmental. Independent organizations have measured the latter. On average, each reused garment is estimated to avoid the emission of 20 kg of CO2, the generation of 0.3 kg of textile waste, and the pollution of 2,000 liters of water.
What accomplishment of the company are you most proud of?
Together with my partner Santiago Valdés, we are very proud to be part of a team of great professional and, above all, human quality. All of us, together, have been building this business. We have proven to be capable of scaling it responsibly and sustainably. We have found the weakest flanks and solved them. Above all, we have become convinced of the tremendous opportunity it means for retail, the planet, and society. We are proud to have such a powerful purpose and, at the same time, such a concrete and realistic way of fulfilling it.
What is Vestuá’s next step in LatAm?
Currently, our efforts are focused on developing the business in Chile and managing the growth we have been experiencing in Mexico. We want to start offering the resale service to brands and companies that do not necessarily have the infrastructure, technology, or knowledge of how this complementary business operates but do not want to miss the opportunity to participate. On the other hand, we are constantly evaluating alternatives that will allow us to continue scaling our company throughout the region to reach more clients every day.
Main image: Adobe Stock
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