The US is experiencing a shift in the way people approach clothes buying. In addition to an increase in online shopping, a growing percentage of consumers looks to secondhand and vintage clothing before buying new. The globe is flush with apparel, both new and used. If you happen to be the entrepreneurial type, plenty of business opportunities exist in the space. The team at Eco Quality Clothing took their passion for the circular economy and preserving the environment and did just that – they built a business around it. Though as with any new venture, growth doesn’t come without pain. The team recently reached out to Tailored to help streamline their garment intake and listing process.
The Experience That Spurred the Idea
Andres Tovar is the cofounder of Eco Quality Clothing. Tovar left his career in biomedical sciences to start EQC after an encounter with a friend at a local vintage clothing popup. Like many of us, Tovar didn’t have much experience with vintage apparel prior. Though after noticing the number of quality garments and the prices, he saw a way to pursue his passion for the environment and entrepreneurship.
Tovar and his team started Eco Quality Clothing in 2019. Due to the high demand for eco friendly fashion their business quickly expanded from operating out of a small garage to a 1750 square foot warehouse. The team operates two business channels within the resale space – online and local.
Acquiring Resale Inventory
There are an increasing number of channels for resellers to acquire inventory for their platform. Garments can be acquired via traditional donation. Teams can source vintage apparel by scouring neighboring thrift stores, eBay and Goodwill. Resellers can also take the ThredUP approach and ask individuals to send in bags of unwanted apparel. Though one sourcing method growing in popularity is buying secondhand apparel by weight.
There is so much gently used clothing available worldwide that resellers can actually buy an entire shipping container. This is the method EQC chose as they have a relationship with a vendor in the nearby city of Orlando, Florida. Acquiring garments this way is like having Christmas each month. Open a container to a surprise bundle of second hand fashions. Though this is also the one downside, and like Forest Gump so kindly put it, “…you never know what you’re gonna get.”
Tovar and his team separate incoming items into buckets which coincide with their sales channels. After researching their new inventory online and looking for comparable sales, garments that command the highest prices get reserved for the web. Items which net lower income go to the popup shop.
Managing Resale Inventory
As EQC’s inventory increased, Tovar realized they needed a better system. Individual clothing racks spread across their warehouse floor sufficed in the beginning but had become burdensome as their inventory surpassed 2,000 items. His options were to find a new warehouse or do the only other logical thing. Go up.
Tovar and his team devised a unique clothes hanging system that utilizes the 20+ foot high ceilings in their current space. Their one of a kind system is comprised of a network of vertical and horizontal metal piping. It covers the main wall of their warehouse and easily handles their current inventory and leaves plenty of room for expansion. This is just one of the innovations their team has brought to their business.
Listing Clothing for Sale Online is Time Consuming
99% of the information on the internet is put there by humans. In the world of fashion and accessories, the images, sizing information and product descriptions are created by humans. These tasks are extremely time consuming and mundane, thus many large retailers choose to outsource. Though for many in resale fashion, outsourcing is not an option.
This is where Tailored’s Capture platform comes in. The system combines multiple steps in the listing process into one and eliminates the most mundane of tasks. Garment measuring and data entry. “In the short time that we’ve been working with Tailored as a part of our process, we foresee being able to triple the amount of output we are able to do on a day to day basis. It’s incredible. This allows us as a small company to continue to focus on ways to scale up our operations without sacrificing quality and accuracy for our customers.” – Jenna Perry, operations and marketing manager for EQC.
Why Eco Quality Clothing Chose to Work With Tailored
“We had just refurbished our process of storing and listing our inventory, but the one untouched part was measuring garments. We measured each piece of clothing by hand, so it just happened to be the part that took the most time. EQC was conducting some research online to see how some competitors in the field streamlined their processes. That’s when we happened upon Tailored. We thought, “This is too good to be true…” We emailed Tailored in the hopes that they respond, thankfully they did and it has changed our business for the better. Dave and Jeff have been nothing but friendly and accommodating to our needs. This is why we chose to work with their company and hope to continue to have a working relationship with them for time to come.” – Andres Tovar, CEO and founder.
Tailored is a technology company built on AI. Their patented machine learning, named Capture, analyzes images of clothing to extract product data retailers require when listing product online. More specifically, Capture automates garment measuring and data entry tasks. This enables apparel retailers to improve supply chain efficiency. Additionally, Capture is the only scalable technology that uses a single photo to collect fit data from garments a consumer already owns. Tailored exists to help retailers in both traditional retail and vintage improve their bottom line while becoming more sustainable. If you are interested in learning more about Tailored’s offering, reach out to us here.
About Eco Quality Clothing
Eco Quality Clothing is a start up company started by the vision of Andres Tovar as a side hustle which turned into a passion. After research and some scary stats, he came to learn the ugly and wasteful side of fast fashion. Eco Quality Clothing’s mission is to offer a reputable space that allows consumers the chance to recycle clothing they no longer use and buy quality used clothing and in turn making fashion a more sustainable environment by cutting down on waste.