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A subscription service raising the bar for second-hand fashion

Hack Your Closet collects second-hand items, unsold goods, or overstocks to match your personal styling profile. ”The clothing industry has to change. The truth is that there are enough clothes out there to dress all of us for the next 10 years,” says CEO Lisa Gautier.

According to a report published in 2017 by Allied Market Research, the global online clothing rental market was valued at $1,013 million in 2017, and is estimated to reach $ 1,856 million by 2023, registering a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.6% from 2017 to 2023. A development led by the North American market, followed by the Asia-Pacific region, the trend has also reached Scandinavia. Swedish service Hack Your Closet is a spin of the French-born CEO Lisa Gautier’s first venture.

— I’ve always wanted to work with re-sale and extending the life of produced garments. I’ve never stopped wishing to make an impact on the clothing industry and changing it for something more sustainable, she says.

After working in the apparel industry her entire life, it remains a passion. But her background is also in fashion-tech, digital innovation, user experience, and entrepreneurship, working for Outfittery GmbH in Berlin, Fyndiq, and Spotify. Her co-founder Mikaela Larsell Ayesa graduated from KTH in Stockholm with an M.Sc in Engineering, Innovation Management, and Circular Economy, where she developed a great interest in environmental questions and services with a greater purpose.

Gautier initially created Hack Your Closet when she saw how many barriers there are for consumers to buy second-hand items.

— It honestly scares off most people, she states. The clothing industry has to change. The truth is that there are enough clothes out there to dress all of us for the next 10 years. I am not talking about dressing like our grandparents, but styles that you and I already wear every day. I can look outside and dress anyone with items taken out of what we call The Waste Stream: second-hand items, unsold goods, or overstocks.

How does it work?

— After creating your style profile with us, you will be matched with a closet assistant or stylist, in order for us to build a both strong and unique relationships with our customers. When your style profile is saved and you have subscribed to our service, you will receive four handpicked items every month. You can wear them as long as you like before returning them.

How do you handle the hygiene?

— All of the clothes that we cycle are repaired, sanitized and washed between each cycle. Because of the scale of our closet, we’re able to use efficient but also sustainable processes to wash our clothes.

In the middle of the COVID crisis, the startup just secured investment from several industry profiles, including Babyshop chairwoman Susanna Campbell.

— We have been supporting small and bigger retailers during this difficult time, as we take in leftover goods to prevent them from being wasted. Our biggest challenge has been to grow our company during the crisis. We were ready to scale-up, but the economical instability has definitely affected the consumers which directly impacts service like ours that works with a direct-to-consumer model, says Gautier. She continues:

— We’re extremely humbled and excited to welcome new shareholders. Raising capital is all about building relationships, most of our new investors have known me and followed my journey for the past three years. We believe a lot in each other and are excited to be working together in challenging the clothing industry. I’m also confident that we will expand to a new market before the end of the year, the question is which one are we going for first. •

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