Meet Elisha & Yushu, two ladies quit the corporate life in the pursuits of an online thrift store.
1. How did you come up with the idea for The Kint Story?
My co-founder, Yushu, and I both met through NUS’ Overseas College programme in 2016 while we were in New York. We stayed together for a year, and it was then when we first experienced the thrifting culture there and witnessed the booming resale industry.
By coincidence, both of us entered a Google training programme called Digitize, which included a 6.5-month stint at an e-commerce company. Towards the end of their contract, an incident sparked the change that came to be The Kint Story.
When we were working full-time, we felt pressured to always look different in order to be “professional”, and we realised that this was an issue faced by many other women at the workplace as well. This made us start looking for different sources of clothes, and we soon got to understand just how detrimental the fashion industry is to our environment.
2. Did you start the venture alone?
No, we started it together.
3. What was the hardest part in the early stages of the company’s growth?
When we first started there weren’t a lot of online thrift stores (hence we wanted to fill up this market gap), and if you wanted to get that thrifting experience, you would have to go down to physically thrift stores or flea markets. This is a huge deterrent because it’s quite a tedious process and also due to the limited space in SG as compared to countries that have a thriving thrifting culture like the US, you don’t get a huge range of clothing to choose from so that can be disappointing for many.
The earlier days we also had to do everything very manually, and that meant having to carry four luggage worth of clothes down to the nearest laundromat during Chinese New Year Eve. However, we knew that this was what we had to do in the beginning and we didn’t mind it at all.
4. Do you think luck played a role in the success of The Kint Story?
I won’t call it luck. I would say opportunities played a role in the success of our company. We have been given a lot of opportunities since we first started and our time with The Start, a pre-accelerator programme by Startup X opened a lot of doors for us. Our community has also been extremely supportive and have always been huge advocates for the product and the brand.
As the saying goes ‘Opportunity comes to those who are prepared’. I think we have also done our part in making sure that we are building a product that people need and adding values.
5. How has the thrifting movement changed in the last year?
I think it has definitely changed for the better. More people are speaking up about the fast fashion industry, and more people are coming to learn about the environmental detriments and unethical practices that these companies are employing.
With that, people are also demanding for alternatives and demanding for change, and naturally, people turn to thrifting.
Apart from that, I think the western thrifting culture is also making its way to Asia. What used to be associated as cheap, unappealing and dirty is now regarded as cool, hip and smart.
6. What advice would you give to a fashion company just starting their business online?
I think most people would consider this space as a saturated space and you won’t be able to make it big. However, we beg to differ, and I think as Gen Z soon becoming the biggest purchasing power generation, they will be demanding for very different product. Being able to understand what is it that they seek for will allow you to solve their problem better and build a brand that people will love.
If you would love to try thrifting or shop their collections, you can place an order online!