Day: October 28, 2021

Nordic ‘rent-a-rack’ concept stores fighting fashion waste

Side view of woman in blue jeans leaning on fence with one foot up

Based on the runaway success of VENLA resell+relove in Mosman on Sydney’s lower north shore since the game-changing ‘rent-a-rack’ concept store opened in early 2021, the team recently opened its doors in Bondi Junction in the centre of the city’s affluent eastern suburbs.

The small business, run by two Finnish expats, Satu Raunola-Spencer and Minna Monaghan, is on a mission is to combat the global fast-fashion crisis by encouraging consumers to recycle and resell their quality pre-loved clothing, shoes, and accessories.

Sellers rent a rack for a fortnight, price their own items, then keep their racks stocked as items sell over the course of the rental period, then pay a commission on all sales. Otherwise, they can hand the whole process over to VENLA to manage.

What’s in it for me?

VENLA sellers can look forward to:

  • Making some extra cash (especially handy if the finances have taken a hit over COVID)
  • Decluttering their wardrobes and selling dozens of items together, quickly and easily
  • Making a positive impact on the environment through their own individual actions
  • Choosing to donate the proceeds from the sale of any remaining garments to one of VENLA’s chosen women’s charities

For buyers, the store looks and feels like a retail outlet, stocked with designer and high end brands and affordable prices. So they can look forward to:

  • Saving money
  • Slowing their fashion choices down
  • Discovering quirky, past season  fashion finds that nobody else is wearing
  • Getting to know their regular local sellers
  • Supporting a new local enterprise

Stepping off the fast-fashion treadmill

“The store’s concept allows fashion lovers to make some return on their investment and additional income in these difficult times. But more importantly, their garments are gifted a second or even third life, and they’re saved from landfill,” says Minna.

“When we looked at the trends from Nordic countries that had yet to make their way to Australia, we noticed the lack of rent-a-rack second-hand stores that are a mainstay of Finnish fashion retail,” she adds.

Venla is the first of this concept to open in Sydney. Self-service second-hand fashion stores generated over €550M ($870M) in total sales in Finland in 2019, part of a fast-growing trend towards sustainable fashion and away from the global environmental impact of fast fashion.

According to a new report by online consignment company thredUP, the U.S. secondhand clothing market is projected to more than triple in value in the next 10 years. Meanwhile, stores such as VENLA are working towards slowing the fashion waste crisis in Australia. Australian households generated a staggering 247,000 tonnes of textile waste in 2019, or 6,000kg of waste every 10 minutes.

Both VENLA’s founders believe the shift in the northern hemisphere away from disposable fashion will gain momentum in a post-COVID world.

“This is a massive problem, with 85% of the clothes we buy each year ending up in landfill,” says Minna.

“At the moment, charity shops are the only real option for people wanting to recycle their clothes,” Satu explains. “But as much as we love the work Vinnies, the Red Cross, and Lifeline are doing, there might be items you don’t feel like donating to charity.

“Similarly, some second-hand designer consignment stores can be extremely picky about what they buy from people. We offer consumers the opportunity to sell good quality items and make some money themselves. We want our customers to feel good about reselling their preloved fashion.”

About VENLA:
Based in Sydney, Australia, VENLA is a second-hand fashion store
with a Nordic twist. The rent-a-rack solution makes it possible for anyone to monetise their preloved fashion items and sell them in our store in an easy and convenient way.