How did you develop the concept of Veras?
My great desire to create Veras came from working in the fashion industry previously – seeing how trends came and passed by and how everyone (media, bloggers, companies) were so focused on pushing new products out and making lots of money without thinking about the environment. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to prove how secondhand fashion could be just as stylish as new products, making sustainability fun and fashionable. I’ve always been a huge second hand consumer, but I had a really hard time getting rid of my non-branded and high-street clothes on the existing second hand platforms. User-to-user platforms take a lot of time, putting up clothes and writing to other users without any guarantees of selling. Second hand shops were also really picky with brands. They take at least a 50% charge to sell them and I ended up having a lot of clothes left that I didn’t sell. Last was the flea markets that at that time were only seasonal from spring to fall and again were very time consuming. The prices you could sell your clothes for were always very low.
Also, I saw a huge potential in creating a service that was not there before. I tried to look at existing ones and turn the disadvantages into a service, to give the possibility of getting rid of everything and getting value for everything up front, without you having to wait for it to sell. Giving the convenient service of being able to get rid of disposed products was, for me, a huge gap to fill in the market, Especially since time is everything nowadays. Allowing consumers to be sustainable and save resources and money, whilst shopping as much as they like means the world to me. My wish in particular was to “save” all the high street clothing people use and throwaway because of new trends, and bring this into a universe surrounded with both branded clothes and vintage, and show that this can also look “cool”.
Has sustainability always been close to your heart?
I have always been the biggest thrifter I know! Since I was little I always went to numerous flea markets to buy everything – clothing, furniture – basically everything I could get away with buying used for a great bargain. My father comes from Israel and I remember going to second hand markets and shops there before it was big in Copenhagen. I loved the idea of hunting, the bargain part and especially coming home to my classmates in Denmark with so many unique goodies that even money couldn’t buy, and having it all to myself – which as a pre-teen I loved.
What’s unique about style and fashion in Copenhagen?
I think in general, Copenhageners are extremely aware of good style and the whole city is stylish, but often the so called Scandi style is a bit too plain and simple for me, and people tend to wear a lot of the same dull colours, which can be a bit boring and not super inspiring. I think that young people especially are brave and fun in their style, perhaps with a more unisex way of styling. Second hand also makes it cheaper and easier for people to be more daring, which I love, and is also a huge mission for Veras – to loosen up those unwritten rules of what is normal to wear and what isn’t, color and style-wise.The older generation such as my grandma, they have a classy style of wearing colours and making every day look like they are going to a big celebration. And I would love for all of Copenhagen to be more daring and dress as if they were going to some crazy party every day!
Have you always dreamed of opening your own business?
I actually have always dreamed of being my own boss, but mostly because I always think I have so many great ideas that I want others to experience. When I was younger I thought somebody should develop an idea bank that people could just buy from, because I always had too many ideas and was a true “optimiser”. I often catch myself several times during a day thinking how to optimise services, systems or certain situations I’m in. I would always overdo simple assignments on my earlier work in an idealised way, because my mind would explode if we had a client and I could see some other opportunities than the one we had already settled on. Now I have the freedom to carry out all my crazy ideas through Veras, which is amazing! But that’s also probably how I realised I was an entrepreneur at heart.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
I actually don’t know. It might be all the decisions I’ve always had and still have to take myself for the future of Veras, for employees and so on. I always have to be the bigger person, looking on the bright side of everything, always believing in the project and motivating everyone around me. At the same time, I’ve never felt so loved as I am by my employees and consumers in developing the business, but I have also never felt so lonely in my life. Luckily, I have built up a team who know about the Veras vision as much as I do, and they help me develop and take Veras to new heights all the time, which is so important in the early years of the company and gives me more freedom and flexibility so I am also “allowed” to have a bad day.
Where do you see the future of sustainable fashion going?
My dream scenario would be that people who bought newly produced products, would be mocked and shamed like people wearing raccoon fur or eating foie gras. It should become a taboo to buy something new – I know, it’s extreme, right? – but I believe it could happen, as we see how we drain the world from finite resources.
Why are independent businesses (like yours) important?
For many reasons. I think the first is to prove to other (young) people, that its possible to create something, if you have a great unique idea. When it comes to Veras we are important because we have a unique service supporting a more sustainable future and way of consuming on existing resources, which is vital at the moment. I want to inspire people to be more sustainable and to prove that we can make sustainability as cool and hyped as the newest fashion collaborations – I hope others – consumers and businesses – will take it with them and do something in the same direction whether its in their everyday life or in greater business decisions.
Nørre Voldgade 18,
1358, København K