Tired of your clothes or furniture? Via swap studio you make someone else happy

About swap study

  • Founders: Nilofer Christensen and Kathryn Saducas
  • Founded in: February 2020, Amsterdam
  • Employees: 6
  • Money raised: 200,000 euros
  • Ultimate goal: Ensure that 1 in 5 garments are traded through circular business models by 2030

How many clothes do you have in your closet that you don’t wear? A now somewhat older study showed that the Dutch have an average of 173 items of clothing, fifty of which are never worn. We throw away an average of 41 pieces of clothing a year and buy 46 more. Together with the manufacturers and clothing brands, we now have a dizzyingly high mountain of cast-offs and dead stock created. Bad for the wallet, even worse for the environment and nature. Nilofer Christensen wants to offer a sustainable solution to overconsumption with the Amsterdam swap studio. Swap studio allows people to upload their stuff that they no longer use for someone else to reuse. Also companies with dead stock can offer their stuff here. Christensen talks about his ideology in this episode of today’s startup.

What is swap studio?

“It is a peer to peermarketplace where people can trade things using our own currency, which we’ve called kudos. The platform uses blockchain, but in a different way than people are used to. We determine the environmental impact of every transaction and make one the pole off, so it becomes NFT. We do this by looking at how much water and how much nitrogen emissions are saved by an exchange. In the case of greenwashing to prevent. We make the ecological footprint measurable, transparent and verified by our technology. It’s us too Unique selling point. By exchanging, users can see how much they have saved by not buying anything new.”

“The users have an account where they Kudos can serve. They can exchange these kudos for an item. As a new user, you get the first item for free. It can be an item from a private person who has put this on, but also from a company that has not been able to sell a previous collection, or has items that are slightly damaged. Per transaction, the user pays us a small fee of 4.95 euros to cover the company’s costs. Many people don’t like the idea of ​​thrift stores. But with an online platform like ours, they are willing to buy used things. Companies can also choose to create their own platform with our help. They can then place their own products here. For example, they can start working with a loyalty program. The points they give away with a purchase can be used by the customer to buy a used item from the brand, or a deadstockitem instead of the usual discount that people now save together.”

© swap studio

So only by joining the community can I get free items? Isn’t this abused by people who fish up the expensive stuff and then put it on Marktplaats or Vinted?

“We have been active for eighteen months now. So far, we haven’t seen that happen. If it does, we don’t mind. Our goal is to let people throw away less and let others recycle it. If you have not thrown it away, but someone has had it recycled, it is no problem for us if it is subsequently sold. Even if we wanted to, you can’t stop something like this. The person who put it on swap studio didn’t need it anymore and got new kudos for choosing something that made them happy. We know that our target group wants to do something good and wants to live more consciously. They support the initiative and the platform. With the swap study, we will also try to narrow the gap between rich and poor. Everyone deserves to have beautiful things, regardless of the contents of the wallet. Word of mouth, because people have read about us, helps with that.”

What are the real challenges for you?

“The exchange concept in itself was already a challenge. For example, there were people who put an item on swap studio and on Vinted. Then they sold it for a small amount on Vinted. As a result, it was not available at all to the people who wanted to buy it through swap studio. We have also become so used to money that the concept of exchange was getting used to too many. So once they get it, they like it. There are people changing an item every few days now.”

“The biggest challenge was getting people on board to finance this concept. It’s hard to be a woman in the technical field. But two percent of the investments in Europe go to women. You have to keep fighting to prove yourself . As a result, our search for new investors and partners continues. So much happens before the clothes are thrown away again, and even when the clothes are finally ready for recycling. It would be great if we could work with other companies to make a product’s life cycle more sustainable. We ensure that a product is used to the maximum, in the other phases there is still a lot of room for sustainability. Going forward: The government is looking at new legislation to give the manufacturer more comprehensive product responsibility. Now product responsibility rests, it will tell the user how it is recycled or destroyed. The government will change that.”

You’ve been on the road for eighteen months now. What were the initial reactions? Does it give much hope for the future?

“Yes, there is great interest in the platform. We didn’t think so when we started. We had created a simple website where interested parties could leave their email address. We expected to get maybe twenty applications. It turned out to be a hundred and sixty in three days! Our user numbers are growing by an average of seven percent per week. We currently have two thousand active users. Most users also do not use shipping companies and collect the products at one of the three collection points we have in Amsterdam. People respond enthusiastically. They get beautiful things while doing something good for the environment. I am also an avid user of our platform myself. I have already exchanged something 132 times. As a result, I have 3174 euros, 45,000 liters of water and almost 980 kilos of CO2 saved.”

“I would ideally like to help more than a hundred brands build their own used platform in the future. Let’s be a big player in recycling goods. The knowledge that we gradually collect is very valuable in order to contribute to the climate goals for 2030. Something must change now, because the McKinsey report is sad. If we do not change our consumption behavior now, we will not achieve it. The fashion industry is a major polluter. And we want to make it more sustainable.”

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