Frustrated with the experience of buy & sell group pages and classified websites, Beck Janes decided to use her online platform experience to create Threadkins.com, a free to use buy & sell marketplace for kids quality pre-loved clothing and accessories, based in Australia. Threadkins has been developed to offer users a better marketplace experience, which saves users time and money and, of course, recycling pre-loved clothing makes sense from an environmental perspective. Oh and did we mention that it was free to use? We spoke to Beck to learn more about how she got started.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
A handful of things: Firstly the astonishing rate my three kids grew and the growing pile of new (many with tags!), nearly new clothing left in the wake of these spurts. With so much wear left in these clothes, particularly the good quality items, it saddened me that these beautiful outfits hadn’t been fully appreciated.
Secondly the impact of buying new quality items over buying cheap fast fashion on our bank balance. When my partner and I had one of “those” conversations about our collective spending, I knew I had to make a change but I didn’t want to compromise on quality.
Then there is the breathtaking waste that these “waste” clothes represented to the environment. Did you know that if one million of us bought our next item of clothing pre-loved instead of new, we would save six million kg of carbon pollution from entering the atmosphere (source: 1millionwomen.com.au)?! With statistics like that, I like many others have to come to realise that looking after the planet is looking after our children’s future.
So I decided to tackle our family’s clothes waste and tried selling online in Facebook groups, Gumtree, etc. I found the experience so frustrating, I simply didn’t have the time or patience to chase payments/addresses/replies. The no-shows were particularly demoralising, as I felt let down as did everyone else who had wanted the item too. Trawling through unsuitable posts trying to find the right size/season/condition, etc, was another source of extreme frustration as very little is done to categorise.
Did you know that if one million of us bought our next item of clothing pre-loved instead of new, we would save six million kg of carbon pollution from entering the atmosphere?
Out of this came Threadkins, where users would find the “better way” I so desperately sought on the existing platforms. They could also share their Threadkins’ listings elsewhere (e.g. Facebook) and benefit from the hassle-free Threadkins’ experience with automated sales, payments and messaging. No more chasing payments or sifting through endless threads… just sales. Quick, easy free!
The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
The building of Threadkins came pretty intuitively because of my past experience with online e-commerce platforms. I was also my own target user so I built a prototype based on my needs, then I invited feedback on the prototype via focus groups and questionnaires. That feedback was invaluable and I tweaked the platform to work better for more target users.
I’ve learnt many new skills on the way and discovered a love for website coding, which was a surprise to me. I’m also really lucky as my partner is a designer and he has helped with Threadkins branding. Having a number of ex-colleagues whose expertise I was able to call on to provide the security and functionality that Threadkins required was also incredibly helpful.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
I really wanted Threadkins users to have an instant, hassle-free experience with instant purchases and payments. Creating the custom coding so that payments were processed directly and instantly between the buyer and seller was a major breakthrough. Threadkins is now a destination in itself for buy & sell but also as an invaluable tool for those wanting to share their listings to buy & sell groups using this Threadkins functionality.
I also have to say that Marie Kondo has been a bit of a boost too! Letting go of cherished baby clothing was a real challenge for many parents. But, we have found, using Threadkins somehow confers a respect as their clothing is listed amongst other quality items and they seem to enjoy passing them on to be loved again by others who are looking for quality.