Emmy makes recycling clothes easy: “It is important that a high-quality product is used as long as possible.”
Emmy, an online shop for recycled clothing, extends the lifespan of clothes with the turnkey principle. CEO Petra Luntiala believes that, in future, consumers will pay more attention to the resale value of clothing. The company will next aim at international markets.
“A few years ago, our founders Hanna Autio and Markus Rautopuro were parents of small children and struggled with the recycling of clothes. They wanted to extend the lifespan of clothes but did not have enough time to visit flea markets.
This is how Emmy was born in 2015.
Consumers can sell clothes they no longer need by sending them to us. We check and photograph the clothes and add them to the online shop where consumers can buy them. We also make sure that clothes that are not sold are used by donating them to charity.
Over the years, we have processed a total of more than one million pieces of clothing. I joined Emmy as the CEO a couple of years ago. I have worked in several sectors, from the forest industry to the media, and wanted to do something meaningful. Emmy’s values are compatible with mine. It is great to do work that all of our employees can be proud of.
However, the second-hand business is not as easy as you might imagine. All of our business is based on co-operation with consumers who sell their clothing and each product must be processed separately. Nevertheless, we have managed to make the business profitable with the help of large volumes, loyal regular customers and high-quality clothing.
The most ethical piece of clothing is one that keeps its original shape as long as possible. A longer lifespan of clothes saves resources: in six years, Emmy has helped to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 664 tonnes and saved more than 1,300 million litres of clean fresh water. The emissions correspond to the annual carbon footprint of the consumer goods bought by almost 600 Finnish people.
Fast fashion, meaning affordable clothes that often wear out rapidly, have been excluded from Emmy’s selection from the very beginning. We want to favour products that last and have resale value. I believe that as reselling becomes more common along with the circular economy, consumers will begin to demand that manufacturers make clothes that last long and can be resold.
In future, we want to grow by expanding to the international market and to increase our co-operation with fashion brands. At the moment, our partners include fashion companies whose model pieces and returned products we sell. Every fashion brand must in the future reflect on its role in the circular economy, and we want to help them by offering an opportunity to extend the lifespan of clothing.
There is a demand for an ecological wardrobe.”