Flea markets can be treasure chests – or loads of rubbish you wouldn’t take home even if someone paid you to. That’s what makes rifling through the tables time-intensive, and if parents of small children lack something it’s often extra hours in the day.
Both being parents, Hanna Autio and Markus Rautopuro wanted to come up with a more convenient solution for buying and selling high-quality second-hand clothing. Just being online doesn’t really solve the problem: although social media is full of second-hand sales, buying and selling stuff from and to different people also means high postage costs and several trips to the post office with no legal consumer protection.
“Our aim was to build an online store for second-hand clothing that would function just like the ones for new clothes,” Autio explains.
Emmy was launched in January 2015 with around 500 items in its selection – all gathered from the wardrobes of the founders and their friends and family. The company wasn’t selling just anything, however, as a core part of its ideology is not to sell fast fashion and instead focus on high-quality clothes made to last.
Quality justifies price
All clothes that are shipped to Emmy’s headquarters in Lohja, either by post or through collection boxes in shops and department stores in Finland and Estonia, are individually and manually examined, photographed and priced, and stored by the team. According to Autio, there are about 80 000 items available, which is a pretty big leap from the initial 500.
When an order comes in, the team sends the product – shipping is currently available to most of Europe – and the original seller gets a percentage of the price depending on the value of the item. As everything is quality-checked, clients have a 14-day right to return their purchase.
All this ensures that sellers can expect to get a fair price for their items and buyers will get well-kept stuff that will last them long enough for their investment to be worthwhile.
“We focus on high quality and want to partner with sustainably and ethically aware companies,” Autio tells. “In our four years of existence, we’ve really seen that the industry is taking steps in a better direction, with brands becoming increasingly interested in the resale value of their products and consumers considering it as part of their purchase decision.”
In addition to the financial savings that come with buying quality goods second-hand, there are significant time savings: the entire selection can be glanced through on one site and purchases are dealt with by just one party, not various sellers.
Mutually beneficial partnerships
For fashion companies, working with Emmy is a way to show commitment to durability. Several Finnish companies have already jumped on board: for example, Vimma, Papu and Reima offer people reselling their clothes on Emmy a chance to receive their share of the proceeds in gift cards, the monetary value of which is higher than the share itself. They also use Emmy to sell items that have a fault that doesn’t affect the overall quality, such as a colour error.
The situation sounds like a win-win for everyone: Emmy, the partnering brands, sellers and buyers.
“It really is that,” Autio confirms, “and it helps brands to activate their clients, showing that buying from them is a sustainable choice and makes financial sense.”
Next up for the company is to increase presence and grow the network of partners both in Finland and abroad. Autio tells that there are plans to localise the site to other Nordic markets and later possibly further as well.
“Brands are also active in throwing ideas our way. We’ve got some exciting things ahead with our partners that have never been seen in the market before.”