Clothes Swapping success and how it can work for brands too with Nuw’s Aisling Byrne (episode 376)

Aisling Byrne is the founder and CEO at Nuw, a fashion exchange app for preloved highstreet, vintage, and designer fashion labels. Founded in 2018, the app went live in 2020 already has a 4.5-star rating and in 2021 they facilitated 20,000 item exchanges!

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Aisling’s Backstory

Aisling was in India in 2013, the same year that the Rana Plaza collapse happened in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This started Fashion Revolution, which wanted to bring focus to the social and environmental impacts of fashion.

It became an interest for Aisling, who wanted to understand how the fashion industry can become sustainable. She took a look at her own experiences, seeing as how she would buy clothes and leave them in her wardrobe, even though the opportunity was there to recirculate those pieces.

From her idea and concept of using fast fashion to a create a new market for pre-loved fashion, the technology got built out and that’s how Nuw started out.

When Brands And Consumers Work Together

Aisling says exploring both brand behavior and customer behavior has been interesting, because there has to be a collaboration between the two to achieve sustainability.

Brands need to promote more responsible consumption, while consumers have to do away with the disposable mindset.

It’s important to bring the two sectors together so that both benefit from being sustainable.

How The Nuw App Works

From a user’s point of view, you join the platform and upload pieces of clothing in exchange for coins, which you can then use as your currency on the platform. So aside from getting pre-loved clothes, users can also make sure that their own, unused pieces of clothing get a second life.

Majority of the exchanges done on the Nuw app are permanent, Aisling notes, but there is a section on the app lets users borrow for the short-term.

Target Market

Aisling says that Nuw app users are generally between 18-35 years old, but they do have top users over the age of 35. These are the ones who’ve built wardrobes and want them to have more use. So while Nuw mostly attracts Gen Z users and millennials, there is an interesting mix of age groups using the app.

Additionally, Aisling mentions a research by Ruth MacGilp which shows that those over 50 would be high adopters for swapping if given the opportunity.

Working With Brands

For Aisling, collaboration is essential in creating solutions for a more circular economy. Brands definitely play a big part, since they are the ones making the clothes.

The goal for brands is to create more value for their pieces over the total lifecycle and to get them looking at the second life of clothes.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Aisling’s traffic top tip is to piggyback off existing communities and to partner with brands that have the same values as you and are looking to achieve the same things as you are.

Tool Top Tip

Growth Top Tip

  • For Aisling, it’s leveraging your existing customers to generate word-of-mouth marketing, because having someone tell another person about your product and recommending it is really influential.
  • 372: Building a lucrative second hand market with Kilkidan Legesse founder of Sancho’s and Shwap
  • 360: Growing a baby clothing subscription service with Eve Kekeh of Bundlee
  • 354: Building a Sustainable Fashion Brand with Partnerships and PR. Gergana from blonde gone rogue

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