the makery house

Cry Kilo

What was your project and why did you apply for funding?

We applied for funding to run bi-monthly ‘CRY £5/kilo Sale – Sustainable Fashion’. The events were run by young people for young people (supervised by staff and volunteers at CRY).

Although we already run the very successful bi-monthly ‘Give & Take Exchange Events', we noticed that young people (between about 12-30 years of age) did not generally attend. They thought the event was fantastic, but it wouldn't be seen as 'cool' to attend one. They didn't like the idea of digging through such a tremendous amount of 'stuff' to find the small amount that might appeal to them.

We wanted to run events which only offered clothing that is of interest specifically to young people, to help teach them that they can change up their wardrobe often and affordably, but in a sustainable way. We hoped to change their habits and their mindset to see that second hand is actually a brilliant method of acquiring an incredible wardrobe, and changing it often, with the latest fashions. The aim was to discourage young people from throwing away their clothes and to start to see them as valuable.

We applied for funding to cover the development and delivery of communications and branding, as this was extremely important to reach our target market. We also felt that it was very important to show the HCC logo on our marketing materials and work co-operatively with the council. This had been a key ingredient in the success of our previous Give & Take Exchange Events.

Please briefly describe how you set up the project

We conducted some informal market research to find out about young people’s attitudes to buying second hand clothing and what would attract them to swap events. We identified that having marketing and branding focussed on the events being organised by young people, for young people, as well as the price point of the sales, were key elements in attracting them.

We recruited young people from the local community to help develop and volunteer on the project and set up a Facebook group to help us communicate and pass ideas back and forth.

The kilo sales advertised for young people to bring along their unwanted clothes/shoes/accessories. These were then vetted, and suitable items weighed and purchased at £1/kilo, providing us with an income to maintain the project. At the events, the pre-loved items were beautifully displayed on racks and hangers, like in a shop, participants paid £5/kilo for the items. We also arranged for upcyclers, menders, stylists and trendsetters to attend the events, to inspire young volunteers and attendees to reuse and repair their existing clothing.

Any items which were not suitable to be purchased for the sales could still be donated and set aside for the CRY Give & Take Exchange Events, given to charities, used for upcycling projects or textile recycling programmes, so nothing went to waste.

What have been your successes?

The branding and promotions worked really well in creating a ‘buzz’ around the events and attracted a younger crowd than the usual clientele at our swap events.

We offered all our volunteers half price on all clothes they bought; this was a great way of encouraging them and showing our appreciation.

17 volunteer opportunities were created, and 180 hours of volunteer time was spent on the project. Over £4,000 was saved by those attending the events through buying second had, rather than new clothes. 320kgs of second-hand clothing was saved from being thrown in the bin.

We have found that many people are 'return customers', so people are starting to change their lifestyle to include our 'kilo sales' in their schedule and aim to attend our events on a regular basis! This seems to be a) to save money b) to lead a more sustainable lifestyle c) because they're fun!

What lessons have you learnt which might be useful to other groups/organisations?

Find a venue that’s central and will attract passing trade.

We learnt it was important to advertise that we buy clothes for £1 per kilo at the events, to keep up our stock for future events.

Install a ‘weigh before your pay’ station so this aspect of the sales it isn’t a total surprise when customers get up to the front of the queue.

Put clothes into size order and store them on hangers to save time

As expected, some items weren’t good enough quality to be purchased and participants were given the choice of taking those items home or donating them for our next Give and Take Exchange Event and all chose to donate them.