Babies and children grow at a phenomenal rate, don’t they? It’s easy to wind up with screeds of barely worn clothing cluttering up the drawers, because your child has already outgrown them. Most families are on a budget too, so buying new clothes is just adding to the problem. Kiri Gorter’s passion for sustainability and concern about this issue led her to set up Use-Ta! – Melbourne’s best pre-loved children’s wear store, and a sustainable shopping loop. We spoke to Kiri to learn more about how she got started.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
My background is in fashion retail but when I had my son in 2012 I started working a a low-tox house cleaner. Experiencing first-hand how quickly a child grows as well as witnessing families struggling to cope with the clutter that comes with kids, I was inspired to create Use-Ta! This business combines my passion for sustainability with my desire to dress my kids well on a budget.
The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Honestly, I jumped in the deep end! I wrote a business plan, did one market, then signed a lease for a bricks-and-mortar store in Northcote in Melbourne’s North. The first few years were challenging, any retail business is difficult to get off the ground and resale stores have a lot of extra admin behind the scenes. Luckily for me, the local community really got behind the store – parents could see the value in what we were doing and our regulars have been coming back for years!
Our business model is our biggest point of difference. With Use-Ta! we’re trying to create a closed-loop, where you can buy gorgeous clothes for your kid, enjoy them while they fit and then resell them once they’re outgrown.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Our business model is our biggest point of difference. With Use-Ta! we’re trying to create a closed-loop, where you can buy gorgeous clothes for your kid, enjoy them while they fit and then resell them once they’re outgrown. This system is so much more sustainable, it encourages people to be mindful of their purchases, buy good quality to begin with and look after the clothes so they can be resold to another family.