Spotlight on ApparelXchange

Posted: 04 April 2024, in Member Spotlight-News

We’re delighted to be joined by ApparelXchange in our latest member spotlight. Based in Glasgow, ApparelXchange is a social enterprise that aims to reduce the impact of clothing on our planet by providing sustainable clothing services and influencing consumer behaviour through knowledge and empowerment. We spoke to Izzie Eriksen, founder and managing director to find out more about what they do, their plans for the year ahead and top tips for social entrepreneurs.

What does your social enterprise do? 

ApparelXchange is a social enterprise dedicated to the sustainable reuse of children’s clothing, driven by twin social and environmental missions. We aim to make sustainable kids’ clothing consumption  accessible to all families, and to empower young people to make sustainable clothing choices, for the benefit of people and planet. 

How do you do it? 

We sell preloved children’s clothing direct to families online and at our shop in the southside of Glasgow; we offer a free packages service, working with public and third sector organisations including schools to ensure families most in need receive free clothing; and we run education and outreach events and workshops in local schools and at our own premises. 

Why should someone buy/use your product/services? What are the benefits and what makes your organisation unique? 

We offer our customers a fantastic range of high-quality, low-cost preloved school uniform, casualwear, activewear and accessories. We also offer a unique service to third sector organisations, who pay us to provide bespoke clothing packages for families most in need – a key part of our social mission. 

What’s your personal motivation? 

I’m driven by the need to reduce the impact of textile production on the planet. I have a clear sense of the potential for ApparelXchange to transform families’ consumption of kids’ clothing, in ways which are creative, aspirational and fun, while also being inclusive; everyone should have the opportunity to be part of the solution to the climate crisis. 

What is the current focus for your social enterprise? 

We are keen to extend our free package service to new partner organisations. We are scaling this service up significantly given the enormous demand, and always keen to hear from anyone who might like to work with us. We are also currently expanding our volunteer recruitment programme. 

What exciting things do you have coming up? 

We were thrilled to win the Firstport Social Innovation Challenge 2023 for our proposal to address the cost of living crisis through our vision of a connected and integrated clothing system for the city of Glasgow. This funding will enable us to scale up our operations across the city with the aim of embedding sustainable clothing consumption across all our communities. 

Who do you want to work with more? 

A diverse range of customers and community groups. We know that sustainable consumption can be seen as a white, middle-class lifestyle choice, and we want to change that narrative. We want to give everyone the opportunity to be part of the solution to the climate crisis. 

What’s your biggest challenge? 

Getting people to understand the costs involved in what we do. Because our stock is all donated, that can create the perception that it’s ‘free’, but all the work we do in sorting, cleaning, processing, pricing and so on is very labour intensive. Our products and services are still brilliant value for money! 

Where do you see your organisation in 5 years? 

Based in a large integrated warehouse, retail and community space, a hub for all our activities and one-stop-shop for families looking for sustainable clothing for their kids; and alongside that, managing a city-wide network of donation and distribution points to make our ‘shared wardrobe for a city’ accessible to all.  

What top tips would you give to other social enterprises? 

Understanding the change you are trying to achieve for our society and communities is important to keep in focus. It does also mean you might need to change or evolve what you do. So keeping an open mind and listening to customers and stakeholders is key to success. Plus a large dose of tenacity and belief. 

For more information about ApparelXchange, please visit their website and make sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram and X/Twitter to keep updated with their work.

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