Where can a sustainably-driven Indian entrepreneur jump-start their home-grown business? ReThought, an online marketplace that brings together environment-friendly consumers, products, and sellers.
Shubhang Prabhu Dharwatkar
Goa Institute of Management
We're living in a highly flashy world where at times it's believed our clothes represent us more than our talents. This has led to exponential growth in the fast-moving fashion industry.
But ever thought of what damage this is causing to our home, our planet?
The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world, just after the oil industry. And the environmental damage is increasing as the industry grows. This inspired the co-owner of Rethought to leave her well-paying job and start the innovative idea of bringing many thrift stores together to minimize the damage that is caused by the fashion industry. As mentioned by Adrija, "We don't see other thrift stores as competition but a complement that helps us make Earth a better place to live in."
If you think of thrift stores as dowdy, poorly lit businesses where economically disadvantaged customers go to buy other peoples’ cast-offs, then your vision of the industry is about as dated as an old Radio Shack TRS-80 computer gathering dust in the attic. Today’s thrift stores are innovative, well organized, and increasingly trendy. They are a primary economic driver for some of the most successful charitable organizations in the world. And make no mistake about it, thrift stores are big business.
From being successful at a high-paying job in the fashion industry to leaving a legacy behind, only to start another one and becoming a micro-entrepreneur, Adrija, co-founder, found her new abode at ReThought.
ReThought was born as a result of the vision wherein entrepreneurs across generations, including the Z, can come aboard and start their own stores or register their pre-existing thrift stores.
Adrija was working with a fast-fashion label, a couple of years back. Owing to the nature of the business, their office had pieces of clothing flying in every day for research and references. Racks filled with clothes were a common sight for her. One fine day, she noticed that a team of cleaners came over to their office and wiped the racks clean. She, along with her team was clueless about the future of these picked-up clothes. Upon following her curiosity, she followed the cleaner and was shocked to see these items of clothing being chucked into the dumpster truck. That was a catalyst moment for her. ”I love fashion, but I can’t keep contributing to this,” and soon after, she left her job behind and started an online thrift store on Instagram.
A few months into this venture, she realized that it was a greater deal than just her own thrift store. It made her envision the need for a common platform wherein micro-entrepreneurs could come on board, create and contribute to their individual businesses as well as the community at large.
Sustainability was a core idea that was running in the background, thus taking forward gear towards the conceptualization and actualization of ReThought. The seed of the idea germinated during a time of great economic turbulence that the Covid-19 pandemic had on the consumer and the biz owner’s mindset.
ReThought is India’s first conscious marketplace where the stakeholders are personally responsible for their drive towards a greener Earth.
With people increasingly becoming conscious of the surroundings and their buying habits and their impact on the planet, Rethought has provided an environment-friendly and more sustainable alternative to fashion enthusiasts. They have proven that alternatives to fast fashion can be a success and compete with the likes of the fast fashion industry. Rethought has provided buyers with the opportunity to go for guilt-free shopping which encourages inclusivity and promotes smaller firms and skilled individuals with required opportunities. Rethought has provided a platform for various smaller firms practicing sustainability to sell their products to consumers. This has not just provided consumers with variety but has also provided smaller firms with much-needed support in their business stories. With support for the concept of reuse, they have within a year gone from a small start-up to a firm having a significant impact and have created a good level of awareness. The materials sourced in the making of apparel are sourced through ethical procedures which even includes more cruelty-free raw materials
Thrifting allows people to stretch their budgets while also encouraging a frugal lifestyle. In comparison to their retail equivalents, thrift shops typically offer extremely low costs. This means that thrifting can save you a lot of money when compared to buying something new at a store.
Adrija explained to us that thrifting is a big sector, with thrift-style enterprises raking in roughly $17 billion each year in the United States alone. Second, it's a fantastic step forward in terms of sustainability. Third, in comparison to other e-commerce firms, the setup is extremely straightforward and low-risk. There's nothing quite like the joy of finding a fantastic deal, and amazing bargains can be found at thrift stores around every corner! Clothing, home décor, furniture, shoes, accessories, books, games, and much more are all on sale for the whole family. It's a wonderful feeling to know that you're receiving more for your money by just choosing to shop at a thrift store over a traditional retailer.
Clothing production consumes a lot of energy, from the transportation of raw materials to the manufacturing operations. Then there's the effort involved in getting finished garments to stores and getting rid of undesired products. When you buy used clothing, you are saving energy and materials that would otherwise be wasted on the manufacturing of new clothing. Water usage is very high at every stage of clothing production, in addition to energy consumption. Growing one kilogram of cotton, for example, uses 5,300 gallons of water, while wet processing and printing consume 18 and 21.6 gallons per pound of cotton, respectively. This cost is also increased by the manufacturing, packing, and transportation procedures. We can save water this way.
Cotton manufacturing uses a lot of pesticides, which causes soil acidification and water contamination. Harmful dyes, caustic soda, and crude oil by-products are also used in textile manufacture. These chemicals are typically discharged near manufacturing units, damaging surface, and groundwater via soil runoff. This way reusing helps us reduce chemical pollution.
Less fabric is dumped in landfills if more individuals start shopping for used clothes. That's not all, though. Plastic, paper, and metal are kept out of the waste stream by reducing packaging material, thereby decreasing landfill waste.
Thrifting is an important aspect of green living in more ways than one. When you buy used goods, you help to keep them out of landfills and minimize production demand. Furthermore, by donating unneeded clothing to consignment or resale stores, you may be inspiring others simply by providing them with something useful.
Adrija Halder, Founder
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Delhi, delhi, IN
Business Website: https://rethought.in/
Year Founded: 2021
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
Where may a socially conscious Indian entrepreneur launch their own company? ReThought is an online marketplace that connects environmentally conscious buyers, sellers, and consumers.