A duo of new rent-a-rack stores for pre-loved clothes is aimed at changing the way Australians add to their wardrobes.
Venla, which opened in Mosman at the beginning of this year, and in Bondi Junction more recently, is part of a growing Nordic movement that aims to reduce the waste caused by disposable fashion with rent-a-rack stores allowing consumers to sell and buy used clothing.
Founders Satu Raunola-Spencer and Minna Monaghan are both originally from Finland, and when they were forced to rethink their careers in the travel industry due to the pandemic, found inspiration back in their homeland. Raunola-Spencer says rent-a-rack second-hand stores are a mainstay of Finnish fashion retail, but hadn’t yet made their way to Australia.
Venla’s sellers can rent a rack that fits approximately 40 items and pricing is decided by the sellers themselves. Aimed at encouraging consumers to recycle the fashion items they already have in their wardrobes, the concept makes it possible for anyone to monetise their preloved fashion items in a bricks and mortar store (Venla also has an online platform).
It also means the garments don’t end up in landfill, and get a second or even third life. The pair is hoping the model takes off in Australia.
“At the moment charity shops are the only real option for people wanting to recycle their clothes if they can’t be bothered to sell them online [as] second-hand designer clothes shops are extremely picky on what they buy from people,” says Monaghan. “But as much as we love the work Vinnies, the Red Cross and Lifeline are doing, there might be items you don’t feel like donating to charity. We offer consumers the opportunity to sell good-quality items, make some money themselves and feel good about reselling their preloved fashion.”
The response has already been strong, with women of all ages and from all walks of life embracing the service.
“The majority of our sellers are 30 to 70-year-old females who are focusing more and more on sustainability,” says Raunola-Spencer. “Our buyers come from all segments, with many customers popping to the shop several times a week to check on new racks.”
Sellers have the option to leave unsold items on the “charity rail” to be sold at an additional 50 per cent discount, with all proceeds donated to a local charity, such as the Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter, to which Venla has so far donated $1500.
Shoppers can pick up garments from a range of fashion labels – both high-end and fast-fashion. On the designer end of the scale are Missoni dresses, Kenzo coats, Dion Lee tops Isabel Marant skirts and Ellery sweaters, while there’s also pieces from Zara, J Crew, Seed and more.
565 Military Road, Mosman
Mon to Fri 10am–5pm
Venla Bondi Junction
153 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction
Mon to Fri 10am–5pm