Sunday, September 25, 2022

Push things out of the door and deal with the information

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Sabine Elsässer
Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

VinoKilo pop-up event for second hand clothes

Please introduce yourself and your startup VinoKilo to our readers!
Hi I am Robin, a German-Indian descendant and an entrepreneur at heart. The startup I’m presenting today is not my first one, I started my first business selling nuts at doorsteps when I was 8 and today I have worked with fellow entrepreneurs across five continents. But I want to tell you about VinoKilo.

With VinoKilo we created Germany’s greatest vintage sale event, where we offer unique secondhand items to a kilo price. Always on board: a lot of vino and fantastic music.

Our clothes are all time classics from the 60s to 90s. We select them out of containers of clothing-waste. They are curated, cleaned, repaired and sold as vintage treasures. We call them treasures, because they are hand-selected and valuing clothes differently plays a big role at VinoKilo.
By covering as many distribution ways as possible with offline-events, online-sales and stores, we want to become Europe’s largest touchpoint for reusing secondhand clothing and inspire to see secondhand as the first choice next to newly industrialised clothing items.

To this date we have sold 37.000 kg which is an equivalent of having given roughly 65.000 items a new life. These numbers are equatable to what has been saved on textile waste – a big factor in global pollution.

How did you get the idea to VinoKilo?
We didn’t have this epiphany or sudden struck of an idea moment. It has been a process over time. It started in 2013 with the idea of the app Darpdecade – Tinder for clothes to swap and share clothes locally. The goal was to create clothing life cycles. Before the app we tried to find out as much as possible about the user, so we started running a shop as a ‘community closet’, a library where people could swap clothes. After 6 months we had to leave the place, but still had roughly 1000 items of clothes.

We decided to organize a kilo-sale and started in a friend’s livingroom with a couple of additional sacks of clothes, sorting them in order to provide only the best quality of vintage items. The event was a huge success and we nearly sold all the clothes. This was an absolute fantastic experience!

Several months later Dominik Breu asked me over for a wine and suggested to organise an event in Mainz – One thing led to the other: Dominik became the Operational Lead and together we started VinoKilo. Currently we have five people working more or less full time on Vinokilo plus a wide range of external helpers at different events, who we call our VinoKilo family.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
We like the word challenge at VinoKilo, because it is a positive way of saying what difficulties we already were mastering. And to answer the question: It has been the coping with German authorities around taxes and registration of our company. It is time consuming and very frustrating if you spent the majority of your time serving bureaucratic institutions.

Who is your target audience?
At the moment our target audience are mostly women aged between 23-27. However we have a large spectrum by having customers as young as 14 and as old as 76. At all time we try to be inclusive, which means we don’t want to be expensive, nor not affordable to most people, but rather give people from all income levels the opportunity to choose secondhand clothes over firsthand fashion. We want to become the H&M of second-hand clothes.

What is the USP of your startup?
The unique selling point of VinoKilo is the the great quality of the items to an affordable price. Further selling theses ‘one of a kind items’ per kilo empowers the customer to decide how much he wants to spend. There is no ‘sale’- or ‘discount’-trap, but a full transparency of costs: The heavier the item the more expensive, the lighter the item the less expensive. The customer is 100% in the driver’s-seat about their spending – no hidden costs.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
I guess you hear this answer a lot: There is no typical workday for me.
Getting a routine is very tough and I’m still learning. We just starting to sell clothes online and now having an event every weekend in a different cities in Europe, that makes me being most of the time on the road.

Where do you see yourself and your startup VinoKilo in five years?
In five years we will have a presence in at least ten European countries. We want to be the opportunity to consume differently and that might inspire for the creation of clothing-life-cycles globally. We think big at VinoKilo, very big.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
There is actually just one and it is called: “Do!”
As: Start executing! The moment you overthink, plan too much, you stop.
Push things out of the door and deal with the information: If your idea is a good idea or not. That is how you get your bad news or good news sooner.

Picture: VinoKilo Founder Robin Balser by Isabell Hayn

More information you will find here

Thank you Robin Balser for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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