Australian social enterprise Worn For Good has launched its first collection drop, after a two-year build up.
The business, which was founded by friends Pip Best and Sophie Palmer, collects donations of pre-loved or last-season clothing from influencers, fashion authorities and brands including P.E Nation, Bassike and Scanlan Theodore.
Worn For Good then sells the pieces - promoting a circular fashion model and reducing textile waste - and donates the profits to one of three charities of the customer's choice - Womens Community Shelters, Greening Australia or Look Good Feel Better.
From the first collection, Worn For Good has so far raised $704 for Womens Community Shelters, $306 for Greening Australia and $110 for Look Good Feel Better.
Building an engaged fanbase on its Instagram page, Worn For Good gives consumers the opportunity to shop designer pieces sustainably, while also giving back and helping the community.
For further insight into the enterprise, Ragtrader spoke to co-founder Sophie Palmer about how the business has performed so far.
Why did you initially start Worn For Good (WFG)?
Pip and I met in 2015 and quickly became friends.
A shared sense of humour and a mutual interest in women’s empowerment, sustainability and social justice, WFG was born out of our first hand experiences in witnessing the issues that systemically affect disadvantaged communities, both locally and across the world.
We had a strong vision to create something meaningful that was grounded in community connectedness and giving back to people in need - and that was ultimately good for the planet.
Although we had different skillsets and experiences that spanned many industries, together we had a combined 15+ years of experience of working in not for profits.
So, after countless catch ups and meetings in the sauna, our idea grew and evolved into something we are really proud of.
Reducing waste in the fashion industry and giving back to those in need.
We hope our initiative encourages a positive conversation around sustainability and brings to the forefront issues that many vulnerable and marginalised communities face.
What has the response been to your first collection drop?
So far the response has been really good.
We launched just over a week ago and almost half of the first drop has already sold out.
After two years in the making it was really exciting, but also really difficult to launch a business during a time where there is so much going on socially and politically - both in Australia and around the world.
Our vision in creating WFG is to unite, support, empower and raise much needed awareness and funds for those who are vulnerable and marginalised in our community.
Since launching we have received amazing levels of organic and authentic engagement, interest and feedback from our community - including brand partners, new prospect ambassadors and customers.
We’ve had several high end Australian retailers and designers (as well as the general public) reach out to us through Instagram since launching to say they’d love to be involved, which is incredible to see.
What has been a challenge in the Worn For Good mission?
One challenge we face is navigating the terrain around what charities we can support and how to focus on specific causes where we can make the most effective impact.
At times, this can be a little overwhelming as we are aware of all the organisations and communities that need increased support, funding and awareness - and narrowing the causes we’re able to contribute to can be an ongoing challenge.
We currently work with a great third party plug in called I=change who have partnered with an array of international and local charities and we currently support three charities through I=change.
As social, political and environmental crises continue to arise, and as we grow - we’d love to be able to support more charities.
We're committed to educating ourselves on how to be a better ally to more vulnerable communities in need, particularly in relation to supporting Indigenous Australians and BIPOC organisations and want to find the best way we can utilise WFG as an effective vehicle for change in the areas that are in need of support.
What have you learned in your journey so far?
So many things!
One of the biggest take aways we’ve learnt a lot about working in the for-purpose/charity space is just how important honesty and transparency is.
Throughout the process of building WFG, we always ask ourselves, “how can we make this as transparent as possible?” and “how can we communicate in a way that feels authentic to us, our ambassadors and our community?”
A good example of this is our commitment to give 100% of profits to our charity partners. We’ve included this in the FAQ section of our website and will continue to educate our customers about this via Instagram and social media.
It's really important for us to make sure our customers understand that 100% of profits means that after you pay staff, fixed overheads, and expenses (all the things that keeps a business operating), the leftover is the profit.
That might sound simple and obvious, but that wasn’t transparent enough for us, we wanted to be more clear with our customers.
So we crunched the numbers and learnt that 100% of our expected profits roughly equates to the same as 30% of the purchase price of each garment.
This means that with every single purchase, we commit a guaranteed percentage to our charity partners, which is a littler scarier for us, but more transparent for the customer.
It also enables our community to track our live impact, knowing exactly where their hard earned money is going and the impact it is having.
This has been a really important learning for us as being transparent, honest and reliable is one of the most important factors for us as we establish and grow our business.