H&M focuses on sustainability; Build a circular business with the help of ThredUP
With H&M Pre-Loved, the fast fashion giant is bringing new relevance to garments as it becomes the largest retailer to use ThredUP’s resale-as-a-service platform. Powered by ThredUP’s RaaS, the H&M Pre-Loved Store offers consumers an easy and seamless way to find second-hand items that can be loved over and over again.
H&M and other fast fashion retailers are being held accountable for releasing millions of garments and designs each year. With more than 5,000 stores worldwide, H&M is known for being quick to copy runway fashions and trends and has been accused of greenwashing or using false claims to sell items that appear eco-friendly but are not sustainable.
It makes sense that H&M would want to boost its image with resale. The retailer is not new to the resale game. The company first invested in Sellpy in 2015 and became the majority shareholder of the company in 2019. H&M’s resale component in Europe is operated via Sellpy, and H&M Rewear in Canada is operated on the retailer’s own website as a peer-to-peer platform.
The new US shop extends H&M’s sustainability mission of establishing circular business models for itself and customers. H&M’s goal is to double its sales and more than halve its carbon emissions by 2030. To meet this goal of reducing carbon emissions by 56% by 2030 and at least 90% by 2040 compared to the 2019 baseline, H&M is doubling down on second-hand fashion and other sustainable initiatives.
“We invest really heavily in circular business models and believe that resale is one of the strongest and easiest ways, especially for our customers, to engage, so resale will definitely grow as part of our business in the future.” Abigail Kammerzell, Director Sustainability, H&M North America.
“When we thought about bringing second-hand to the US, we incorporated all of our learnings into our brand DNA and engaged in testing, learning and adapting,” Kammerzell said. “It really made sense to work with ThredUP.
“They have such a wonderful business model,” added Kammerzell. “ThredUP’s RaaS platform is really easy to use and we know this makes sustainability more impactful. To reach as many second-hand customers as possible, we wanted to partner with a company like ThredUP and use their platform to make adoption and access really easy.
“We must take responsibility for the impact of fashion on climate and the environment,” added Kammerzell. “Circular business models can help us reduce and limit these negative impacts while continuing to deliver fashion and style to our customers. With the launch of our first resale model in the US market, we are taking the next big step in this direction.”
H&M Pre-Loved will launch with 30,000 units, which will impact how many people buy second hand. “They created a resale as a service page for us that can be accessed from both ThredUP and the H&M website,” Kammerzell said. “All H&M items are listed on both the H&M Pre-Loved platform and ThredUP. We will be able to attract more customers who already love H&M and shop on H&M’s website. We hope to give them access to second-hand shopping.
“As much as I think most of us who work in this world do [of fashion] familiar with ThredUP, there are still people who haven’t heard of it or accessed it, so this gives our customers another opportunity to buy great H&M products,” said Kammerzell. “ThredUP obviously works with the logistical part of it and the prices for items are set by ThredUP.
“Thanks to our low prices, we can be much more accessible and let people participate,” adds Kammerzell. “Right now we don’t offer credit for H&M through ThredUP, we’re just focused on getting more consumers involved with second-hand.”
The clothing items are organized into several smaller sub-shops with well-known H&M concepts, including &Denim, Sport, Ladies, Divided and Kids. Fans of the brand’s coveted collaborations and guest designer collections from years past will find treasures in the Collabs subshop.
“We are very pleased that H&M has chosen to partner with ThredUP to launch its first resale program in the US and build on their global momentum in investing in new circular business models,” said James Reinhart, CEO and co-founder of ThredUP. “As one of the largest retailers in the world, H&M has tremendous potential to make an impact, and we’re excited that ThredUP’s Resale-as-a-Service is supporting a scalable resale program to reach H&M’s customers in new and sustainable ways.”
H&M believes that new ways of doing business are needed to ensure products are used more frequently and over a longer period of time. Traditionally, fashion follows a linear business model of take, make, waste.
Circular business models such as H&M Pre-Loved powered by ThredUP’s Resale-as-a-Service, the brand’s clothing collection program launched in 2013, as well as the new Circulator tool, which assists designers in a new product development process, break this chain to keep garments in use longer and ensuring that they are not wasted when they reach the end of their useful life.
A landing page for Pre-Loved with an option for Just In highlights some of the hero pieces. “We looked at the different models we worked with in different markets and what really worked. We then brought back what we thought was successful for the US market and ThredUP was able to build us a resale-as-a-service platform,” Kammerzell said.
“Of course price will be important for everyone, but we found that creating a great and accessible shopping experience is also important,” said Kammerzell. “We know how important the shopping experience is. People will be able to shop second hand and find those star pieces too. There is something for everybody.”
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