Eileen Tan quit her oil and gas job to start a fashion startup
Creating sustainable fashion with a vintage vibe may seem like a daunting task to most, but that hasn’t stopped 28-year-old Eileen Tan from quitting her job to embark on the journey.
After quitting her full-time job in the oil and gas industry in 2019, Tan set out to make Vintagewknd a sustainable alternative to fast fashion, all in an effort to minimize the waste she witnessed in the industry. fashion industry.
His dream was to design and create vintage clothes using old fabrics and making them look new. But this journey has not always been easy.
“It’s very much a matter of mindset. People and businesses are interested in [push] fast and difficult trends. So things to do with the environment get lost in the process – which of course is something we struggle with as well, like creating sustainable clothing, ”Tan recently told CNBC’s Inside E-commerce.
Make durability elegant
Tan, along with his partner Eden Tay, started organizing and selling vintage clothing part-time in the Carousell online marketplace in 2015. It wasn’t until 2019 when they took over the business full-time. , that they started to focus on sustainability. .
With all the materials for their reworked garments coming from garment waste factories and production lines, upcycling is the key to their business. Upcycling is turning waste or unwanted products into something useful, and in this case, it could be bags or clothing.
The duo have since left Carousell to start their own ecommerce store and expand to other social media accounts such as Instagram, where they have more than 34,000 followers. Their marketing efforts are now mostly focused on TikTok, where they shoot niche style videos based on themes like Winnie the Pooh, Pokemon, and ’90s TV shows.
Asked about the level of demand for sustainable clothing, Tan said sizes and prices are barriers to entry because clothing tends to be made in smaller batches, making products more expensive.
Changing consumption habits
“Up to 90% of customers want to buy something from a sustainable brand or retailer. 85% of them are willing to pay a lot more for it,” said Gwendolyn Lim, Partner at Bain & Company . “So if the platform is able to operate within this idea of sustainability, that could be a game-changer as well.”
Tan said Vintagewknd customers are generally receptive to keeping the message enduring, even in fashion.
While retailers like online fashion brand Zalora have publicly made sustainability a priority, Tan hopes other companies will understand this vision as well. “In order to have a global impact, big fashion companies need to make the change,” she said.