Circular Fashion Systems & Revolutionizing Secondhand Shopping

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With the fashion industry today being extremely wasteful, what are some positive trends we can feel hopeful about? What can we learn from how thredUP was able to revolutionize the experience of second-hand shopping, from being viewed as unpleasant to fun and desirable? thredUP's Brand Director, Erin Wallace, shares her wisdom with you today. Let's dive in.

This is a conversation on Green Dreamer Podcast with Kaméa Chayne, a show exploring environmental and intersectional sustainability from ideas to life. Subscribe to Green Dreamer on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or any podcast app and let’s learn what it takes to thrive in every sense of the word!


[2:20] What got Erin into sustainability. 

[3:20] Something that shocked Erin about sustainable fashion. 

[5:33] Kaméa: "What about your professional journey led you to thredUP?" 

[6:26] Kaméa: "What was your biggest takeaway in terms of what it takes to establish a brand on a national scale?" 

[7:50] What Erin says has led to the de-stigmatization of thrifting and second-hand clothing for consumers. 

[9:14] Erin's biggest struggle so far being the Brand Director of thredUP. 

[10:15] Kaméa: "How do you personally stay organized with all of these different departments you oversee?" 

[11:27] Erin's thoughts on the key to creating a loyal customer following. 

[11:40] Erin: "It's kind of this massive treasure hunt; people are constantly surprised by what they find. I think that is a compelling story to people and that's fostered a lot of devotion.

[11:57] Kaméa: "What's been essential to thredUP starting from ground zero to establishing itself as the leading secondhand online shop?" 

[12:49] A few mistakes Erin sees eco and socially-driven brands making that hold them back. 

[14:22] Erin: "A lot of us care a lot about the environment and sustainability, and we also love the fun of shopping and getting dressed every day. Those don't have to be mutually exclusive.

[14:35] Erin's advice for eco-driven entrepreneurs today. 

[16:12] Erin: "Proper branding is the ability to know that your company is being watched from the outside in."

[17:12] Kaméa: "What are some of the latest insights into secondhand shopping that have surprised you?" 

[17:55] Erin: "We really feel like [secondhand shopping] is on the verge of becoming mainstream... We project that resale will be larger than fast fashion in 2027.

[19:33] Kaméa: "What can the individual consumer do to help accelerate this change?" 

[21:57] Kaméa: "If you were the Brand Director of the entire sustainability movement, what would you focus on to grow it from being a niche to attracting everybody?"   


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To follow: The Business of Fashion

Words of inspiration: "Today is not forever." 

Health tip: "Be present with my kids." 

Green tip: "Don't buy new clothes." 

Element of hope: "Gen Z." 

Words of Wisdom: "Keep up the fight! It's going to take every single person at every single level."   

Two Takeaways