Glitz Spotlight: Sarah Garner Of Retykle Talks Secondhand Kids Wear

The platform we all need!
By: agnes
December 13, 2021

Did you know that children generally grow by three times a year? Thus, it is why children tend to outgrow their clothes very quickly. Plus, kids wear is not cheap! So not only does it sometimes burn a hole in your pocket, it contributes to environmental waste too. In addition, fashion is one of the biggest pollutants in the world, which is why secondhand platforms are so important these days. Therefore, if you’re looking for the perfect secondhand platform for kids wear here in Singapore, you should definitely check out Retykle. In this week’s Glitz Spotlight, we speak to Sarah Garner, the founder of Retykle on what Retykle is and what goes on behind the scenes!

Getting to know Sarah and Retykle

Hi Sarah, can you introduce yourself to our readers?

I’m Sarah Garner, Founder of Retykle and mom of two little tykes (7 & 5). I spent over 10 years working in luxury fashion before starting Retykle in 2016. Retykle is an online resale platform for secondhand kids and maternity wear, gear and toys. We take the hassle out of resale by providing a convenient platform. This is where parents can simply pick out the clothes they would like to put up on Retykle and we will make all the necessary arrangements from the pickup, the assessment of authenticity and quality of items, to the transaction of orders. Through this, we have created a trusted circular platform that helps resolve the issues of waste associated with temporary use items.

What does the name Retykle mean and where did it come from?

Retykle is a mash-up of two words – Recycle + Tyke. In English, tyke is synonymous with kids and we wanted to convey through our name, the essence of our brand; that driven by sustainability, we are a platform that recycles childrens’ wear.

What made you want to start Retykle?

I confronted the issue that I endeavoured to resolve with my first child. I had a bursting closet of great quality and outgrown items. And I wanted to create an efficient and effective way to recirculate those times to other families who could benefit from them. I also figured there had to be a better way to reward parents for buying better quality items and keeping them in circulation, and not resorting to buying cheap threads as is the temptation with clothing that
gets such short wear. I had a background in inventory management and curating products. So I knew that with the skills I had attained, I could figure out a way to make secondhand both desirable but also scalable and organised.

Managing unique items at scale is challenging and online resale, particularly consignment, was in the very early stages when we started. So there was no blueprint for how to run a model like ours. We have built custom technology at each stage of our growth to enable our efficiency and scalability. Our commitment to innovation, sustainability and excellent customer service has helped us build a community of loyalists. They not only embrace a new way of shopping for their kids. But one that has created a new habit for how they engage with their wardrobes and lifestyle habits. Our vision is to be a leader in the global circular retail movement positively impacting the environment, the community and our children’s future.

Behind the scenes at Retykle

How does a preloved item get chosen to be on your platform?

We have acceptance standards outlined (click here) which include age, brand and condition. We accept kids clothes from newborn to 14 years old across 2500 designer brands in gently used to new with tags condition. Each item goes through a multi-point processing check. This ensures that they meet our condition and authenticity criteria before being listed on our site. We ask for items to be freshly laundered before being sent to Retykle. And we will include an anti-bacterial spray in our processing, removing any hygiene concerns. Any items that do not pass our robust quality standards are donated to charity ensuring that they stay in a circular fashion loop.

What is the biggest challenge of running a secondhand baby clothing store?

The biggest challenge is efficiency. The whole retail and e-commerce model is built to support depth in SKUs. However, secondhand requires unique listings that need to be reproduced for each item that passes through. We process hundreds of items a day resulting in a huge inventory of SKUs. We have built pricing algorithms, automation and many other tech enhancements that create operational efficiencies but there are always more advancements that can be made. I am ultimately interested in how blockchain, AI and textile recycling can further power the efficiencies required for true circularity to take hold.

Can you tell us a story that made you feel ‘this is why I do what I do’?

I started with wanting to be on the side of change and solutions to the mounting environmental crisis caused by the fashion industry and to do something that would create a better tomorrow for my kids. They are now old enough to understand what Retykle is about. And it fills me to the brim that they are environmentally conscious. They understand the importance of having their wardrobes on rotation; being open to having clothes passed down to them and are more than happy to pass their clothes down to another little tyke. Seeing them grow into individuals who are conscious about how their small acts can affect the environment fills me with hope and pride.

Where do you usually get the preloved items? And what do those who sell with you get back in return?

Our resale platform was created to help busy parents sell their outgrown items. All they have to do is create an account on our website here. Then arrange a free home pick-up or drop off their preloved items. They can do this at our studio on 50 Playfair Road – Noel Building #07-03, Singapore.

When an item sells, sellers can choose to receive 50% commission in cash, 55% as store credit. In addition, they can donate their earnings to one of our local charity partners. All this can be managed from our custom sellers dashboard that allows sellers to book pick-ups, track the progress of their items and the amount they have earned through sales. On average, sellers earn USD $500 each year. This can be a great side hustle for parents to put some of their hard-earned cash back in their pocket. With the option of receiving earnings in store credit, many of our sellers use this to buy the next round of clothing for their children, creating a continuous virtuous loop.

The Future of Retykle

Are you planning to branch out to other countries? If yes, which country are you looking to branch out to?

We just recently launched our first market outside of Hong Kong – here in Singapore! We chose Singapore as an important launchpad to showcase that our technology and business model can be cloned and replicated in new markets. Singapore was a natural second market for Retykle. Because there is already a greater awareness of the need for a more sustainable lifestyle and as such a high adoption rate of buying and selling secondhand. It has been a seamless process to expand and we are now planning our next markets ahead.

Where do you see Retykle in the next 10 years?

We see Retykle emerging as the lead innovator in the space – powering circularity for a sustainable parenting journey globally.

What is one piece of advice you would give to parents on purchasing secondhand items?

First and foremost, choose a trusted platform! When you buy from a consignment platform like Retykle you know that the products have been vetted by a team and are guaranteed to be as described along with the possibility to return. We also have a fantastic customer service team who can answer any questions you may have. In addition, they are ready to help at any stage of the customer journey. To ensure fit, it’s best to shop from brands that you are familiar with or use the guiding principle that American brands fit large and Asian/European brands fit smaller.

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