Saya Woman Series #3 | Renee & Hayley
The Saya® Woman is a series showcasing extraordinary women who share their experience, insights and advice to life, business and everything in between. We hope their stories inspire you as much as they inspire us.
For our Saya Woman Series #3, we talk to Renee and Hayley, the founders of Barely Worn Thrift Markets. Barely Worn is a gaining popularity for its unique concept of supporting circular fashion in the community. Renee and Hayley's passion for sustainability and their love for fashion and op-shopping drove them to start the venture in order to make a difference in the way we consume clothing. The Barely Worn market offers people a chance to sell their pre-loved clothing items, and give them a new life, while also providing shoppers with a sustainable and affordable way to update their wardrobes. It's a win-win situation that supports the circular fashion movement and helps reduce clothing waste. By choosing to shop at Barely Worn, customers can feel good about their purchases, knowing that they are making a positive impact on the environment by slowing down the demand for fast fashion.
In this interview, we talk about the journey of the Barely Worn, the community who have helped grow this venture, and what's next for Renee and Hayley.
When did you two meet? Were you always wanting to go into business together?
Hayley and I met at F45 as two very busy, working and extremely tired Mums. We instantly connected over a strength workout and asked each other out on a coffee date where we spent the whole time chasing our children. We never had business plans together, however we are both very community driven so we organised group dance classes, community events, started a local Mums group and the love for organising events together grew.
Tell us about your journey leading up to the start of Barely Worn?
Hayley and I were obsessed with op shopping and we decided that to make some extra money, we would start selling our clothing on Instagram instead of Facebook marketplace. We started to post photos and we would sell out in a day. We decided to host our very first market in January 2020, it was us and 4 of our friends, and we basically just bought each other's clothes, more friends came on board so we hired the local community hall. Women all over the coast would come, so we have now expanded to 5 locations over the coast and now in Sydney and the Gold Coast, where Hayley added our new locations, as well as Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth!
Would there be anything you'd change knowing what you know now?
Nope! We learn as we go, which has been great because we have developed a business plan and structure that works for us personally. Maybe, if you are thinking about starting a business with a friend, make sure you have set out some responsibilities/roles for each person.
What would you tell someone who's never been into thrifting, to convince them to check out a Barely Worn market?
There is enough clothes in all of our closets to be shared with everyone! There is no reason to buy new. You can get quality and designer brands for the same price or less as brand new fast fashion. Think about how many times you wear a dress to an event, usually it's no more than 2-3 times, most of the items that we see at our markets have only been worn a few times. You can save so much and make some extra cash selling it.
Tell us about the Barely Worn community!
We get so excited talking about our community! We have met some INCREDIBLE people. Most of the people we get through our doors as shoppers, turn into stall holders, once they've sold their own wardrobe they buy from other stall holders, and then come back again to sell that stuff and buy again. The Barely Worn community have started the circular fashion culture which is what our whole vision of the business is about. The sense of pride that we see on faces when someone asks "Where did you get that from" and they say "Barely Worn!". The support we have been shown is overwhelming and we do everything we can to share it around and give back to the community.
What's next for Barely Worn?
Australia-wide baby! Our goal is to have a market in every city. We are organising Sydney & Gold Coast at the moment. We want to help our community to, by offering women the opportunity to manage a Barely Worn market in their local area. We'd love to deliver workshops in schools to show the next generation what landfill by fast fashion looks like and what it does to the earth and it's people.
SAYA x BARELY WORN GIVEAWAY
We're giving the chance for the Saya and Barely Worn community to win a $200 Saya voucher + and entry to sell at a Barely Worn market of your choice, with access to two racks! Enter via our instagram and follow the details for entry!
Giveaway closes on 29.05.2023