Õhtuleht News coverage
Õhtuleht News has published a podcast and an article called 'If Five Parents Rent One Item, We Prevent the Production of Four New Items' about the launch of our children's clothes rental marketplace in Estonia.
"The lifecycle of the clothes could be much longer. When parents buy a child's garment, they pay a full price but get to use only a fraction of its potential lifespan. That's financially and environmentally wasteful, plus parents end up worrying how to get rid of their clothes," say entrepreneurs Ines-Karu Salo and Kristiina Koort, who have come up with a new solution to these problems. They've joined hands to build up a fully circular children's products rental marketplace The Rewear Company and help parents to save money, space and the environment.
Why is The Rewear Company's solution necessary? The shops are overloaded and the resale market is huge.
Ines Karu-Salo: "Yes, there is a lot of overconsumption in the fashion industry and resale market is also growing rapidly but if we look at how quickly children grow out of clothes - 8 sizes during their first 2 years of life - than we end up asking from ourselves 'why do I need to buy children's clothes if my child only wears these for two to three months' and 'can I rent instead of buying'? It's funny but I started to question that for the first time after giving birth to my first daughter and exiting a parenting goods retail business where I had worked for 12 years. Kidswear industry is totally broken because children's clothes are underutilised and there is too much waste in the world. One truck of garments are thrown away every second but the lifecycle of clothes could be much longer. Renting instead of buying helps to solve several concerns at once. We can save the environment, money and our closet space because the products stay in the circulation and the lifespan of the clothes is extended."
Can parents also save money when renting instead of buying?
Ines Karu-Salo: "By renting instead of buying, it is possible to save up to 60% on your kidswear but reduce the carbon footprint of clothes by 80%. If one garment is rented by five parents, we prevent the production of four new products. It's a win win for everyone."
Have you always been such a green-minded person?
Ines Karu-Salo: "When I was building Mothercare Baltics for over 12 years, there was a joke going around in our office - Ines, you don't have any children! But I felt that working requires a lot of commitment and I wasn't ready to become a mother back then. I had colleagues who had children and I trusted them. When the right time came, I started thinking about these issues. Then in 2012 I went to study in the London College of Fashion with a specific goal in mind to start my own sustainable fashion brand KiRiVOO. Back then, the world of sustainable fashion was in an early stage and I had to be a pioneer in many ways. I started to do my research on sustainable fashion, explore the market and opportunities. But have I always been like this? I guess I really have - in 2009, your newspaper wrote that I went to a public event wearing the same dress! :)"
When and how did you and Kristiina come up with the idea to build the marketplace?
Ines Karu-Salo: "The decision to start building the kidswear rental marketplace was made in 2020 when both of us were expecting a second child. At first we carried out a consumer study in order to better understand how parents felt about buying, renting and reusing children’s wear in Estonia, our home country. We decided to proceed with the development of the MVP after receiving 1004 responses and really saw that the majority of parents are opened to lending and renting children's clothes and other parenting goods. By that time, I had been working towards a sustainable fashion industry for over eight years already and felt very bad about all of the waste that the textile and especially the children's wear industry was generating. I had also thought about renting for a long time but didn't find a good solution. Around the same time, Kristiina reached out to me. She had experienced the opposite problem - how piles of quality clothes are outgrown by her daughter but are far from their useful end and are taking too much space in her closet. When my firstborn grew out of her clothes, I passed these on to my friend’s child and got all back when my second daughter was born. Keeping the preloved items in the circulation made me feel happy and proud. Then Kristiina asked me what if we created a children's clothing rental service together. She valued my professional background and I appreciated hers, in venture capital, and we agreed to partner up, put our heads together and efforts into the project. The more time passed, the more I started to think that there should be a passive earnings opportunity for parents as that could really push consumers to take better care of their belongings. As well as, once brands saw that it's financially beneficial to rent out goods, they also push manufacturers to produce quality goods that last longer. I predicted that sustainability isn't a trend but a must - an emerging new normality, already in 2012. That is the year I started to contribute to the sustainable development."