Well Made

Ep. 95 Replacing Consumer Behavior with Erin Wallace

September 18, 2019 · RSS · Apple Podcasts

Even with sustainability being top-of-mind for many brands, ThredUp's Erin Wallace says, "We're still creating too much." This year, Burberry had so much extra inventory that they burned millions of dollars worth. ThredUp reacted with an open letter which got a ton of traction. In addition to nudging Burberry to end the practice, the letter made it clear that secondhand is a simple way to offset fashion industry waste.

ThredUp's annual resale report points to shifting consumer behavior across every segment of fashion and apparel.

Source: Thredup 2019 Annual Report Replacing Consumer Behavior

If ThredUp's massive distribution center is any indication, the impact of secondhand has gone way beyond the appeal of the treasure hunt. While part of Erin's job as Brand Director is to make the treasure hunt as seamless and as fun as possible, she's also tackling the stale stigma of secondhand and giving consumers the information they need to make more mindful purchasing decisions. It's no easy feat, but the world of secondhand is more exciting than it's ever been.

“Why aren't we thinking about what happens to your clothing at the point of purchase, and wanting to drive a concept of circularity in consumers' minds?”

 Replacing Consumer Behavior

On this episode of Well Made, Erin goes behind the scenes on ThredUp's annual Resale Report and how it's put together (6:12). It's early in the episode and we're already getting into the logistical challenges of handling 40-50% of pieces that don't meet ThredUp's quality standards (8:24).

The stigma of secondhand is wearing off, but Erin is already thinking ahead about how to help consumers think more mindfully about what they're purchasing and the resale value of those items (11:36). Erin jumps into ThredUp's latest venture, Retail x Resale. There are two models for companies to build resale into their infrastructure (20:21). The Marie Kondo effect had a huge impact on the ThredUp warehouse — they shipped out 80% more cleanout kits than usual! — but Erin has conflicting feelings about binging your closet (24:39). She shares current misconceptions about circular fashion and how consumers and businesses alike can take more incremental, actionable steps toward more mindful purchases (35:01). Finally, Stephan and Erin talk about the complexity of packaging sustainability, especially when it comes to the infamous poly mailer (38:21).

Also mentioned on this episode:

Header image via ThredUp. 

You can find this and all future episodes on iTunes, Google Play, and here on the Lumi blog. This episode was edited by Evan Goodchild.

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