The exploding trend that is fuelling retail and saving the planet

Add To Cart Podcast
Episode 6

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Yasmin Grigaliunas, CEO & Co-Founder of the World’s Biggest Garage Sale. Yas has been leading the secondhand market in Australia through her innovative approach to reusing and recycling dormant goods. Starting as a charity, World’s Biggest Garage Sale has evolved into an investable business model with purpose and giving at its core. 

🎧 LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE:

Questions answered in the podcast include: 

  • How big is the secondhand market going to grow globally? 
  • What does a secondhand business model look like? 
  • How can retailers start or partner to offer secondhand goods to customers? 
  • Which retailers are excelling in the secondhand economy? 

🔥 HOT TIP

We joked about Yas writing the secondhand dictionary. Here are some key terms Yas refers to: 

  • Circular economy. Embracing the whole lifestyle of a product from new to near-new to secondhand to recyclable.
  • Dormant goods. Goods that are no longer in use but are not yet at the point of donation. 
  • Resource recovery. Acquiring goods that are no longer needed – often at your own expense. 
  • Re-commerce platform. A sales channel, online or offline, to get secondhand goods in the hands of customers. 
  • CANsulting. Solving corporate problems, often for the greater good of society. 

Are these terms that have any place in your business?

🔗 Links from the episode 

About your co-host

Yasmine Grigaliunas from World’s Biggest Garage Sale

Yasmin loves to win – but more importantly she loves to see others win! 

An entrepreneur of impact, in 2017 she ditched her lucrative full-time salary to commit full time to The World’s Biggest Garage Sale (WBGS), a Brisbane based organisation commercialising the circular economy by activating dormant goods for good. An activator of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, WBGS is focused on SDG implementation, action (‘the doing’) and multi-stakeholder partnerships for the achievement of all SDGs. 

Via WBGS, Yas is providing positive impact for people, for planet and profit for purpose by activating dormant goods for good at scale. This is the proactive resource recovery to power the growth of recommerce retail. WBGS enables large-scale community events, Popup shops and Monthly Circular Economy Futures (CEF) meetups to explore, education and execute on their circular economy innovations. Yas and her award winning team is engaging the global community in the circular economy.

You can contact Yas (or Yassie G) on LinkedIn.

This episode was brought to you by…

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Full Episode Transcript

Welcome to Add To Cart, the podcast that express delivers all you need to know in the fast moving world of e-commerce. Every month Nathan Bush from 12HIGH and an e-commerce industry expert will share the news, research, and insights that you need to know to keep you at the top of your game, and, of course, keep your customers adding to cart.

Nathan Bush:
Hello everyone, and welcome to episode six of Add To Cart. My name is Nathan Bush, and I will be your host for today. I’m also the founder of e-commerce consultancy 12HIGH. Joining me on today’s episode is Yasmin Grigaliunas, who is the co-founder and the CEO of The World’s Biggest Garage Sale.

Nathan Bush:
Yas joins me today to talk all things second hand commerce. As you know, it’s a huge trend encompassing all things reuse, re-cycling, and rentals. We cover all these things as well as how retailers can get involved, either as a offering or by partnering with others.

Nathan Bush:
But before we get into that, I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has left a review or a rating… especially those that are five-star… on the app store of their choice. It makes a huge difference for us, and some of the feedback has been fantastic. I especially love the review that came and said that it feels like I’m taking guests out for a cup of coffee and then sharing the conversation and that coffee with all the listeners; which is exactly the feel that I’m going for. So thank you, and it’s even better when I don’t actually have to buy the coffee as well.

Nathan Bush:
There has also been some good feedback around episode four, and the quality of the audio with Jason. Unfortunately, such great content but the quality of the audio wasn’t great. We’re working on that, and we will make it better every time. What we did this time was it’s actually the first face-to-face interview, and it was me sitting down with Yas, with an i-Phone and two little mikes; and I think you will notice that the quality of the conversation is actually a little bit better because when you’re sitting with someone having that conversation, it comes across, and it’s easier to have that conversation flow. So love your feedback, love your reviews. Keep them coming, and enjoy this episode with Yasmin Grigaliunas, otherwise known as [Yazzy Gee 00:02:23] for reasons that will become obvious. Let’s get into it.

Nathan Bush:
Hello Yas.

Yas Grigaliunas:
Hey Nathan. How are you?

Nathan Bush:
Good. Thank you for joining us.

Yas Grigaliunas:
It’s my pleasure.

Nathan Bush:
Hey Yas, before we get into today’s episode around second hand commerce, can you give us a little bit of an overview of The World’s Biggest Garage Sale, because you were on the second hand bandwagon long before it became a trend.

Yas Grigaliunas:
Yeah. Well, looking back now I think you’re probably right, but look it started back in 2013, and I had this crazy idea to solve a problem that actually wasn’t anything to do with second hand. It was called donor fatigue, and I was in a tri-squad trying to raise money for cancer research at the time, and I could see that people were kind of rolling their eyes at the cupcakes I would continually bring to training, or the brownies, or the raffle tickets, and it was getting really tiring.

Yas Grigaliunas:
I wasn’t the only person trying to raise money, and what I thought to myself is, “Oh my gosh, is these people who have money are getting sick of raising money and donating money to a great cause that we were all really passionate about, we need to find another way to raise money.” And I thought, “Well, how do you raise money without asking people for money?” And I thought, “Well, I have heaps of stuff at home. Why don’t I sell all my dormant goods,” the stuff tucked under my bed, in my cupboard, in my garage, that I hadn’t touched for years, that I was really, at the time I didn’t know, that I was holding onto because I thought it was too good to leave in a charity bin, and I wasn’t selling it because I was time poor.

Yas Grigaliunas:
So I decided to hold a garage sale. I called it The World’s Biggest Garage Sale, and all my friends and family donated their dormant goods to us, and before too long my garage was so chockablock full, we couldn’t hold the garage sale in the garage, and we moved everything to a hall, and 50 volunteers overnight set it up. We did $15,000.00 revenue the next day, and I thought, “Oh my gosh, we have to do this again, and do it properly.”

Yas Grigaliunas:
And so year after year I would take a month off my job and build the project, hold a garage sale, raise the money, donate it to charity. The second year we did 60 grand, the third year we did almost 90 grand in a single day, World’s Biggest Garage Sale; and I thought, “Hold on a minute. This is not about donor fatigue; our customers are starting to ask us would we donate to different charities where the impact was going. We were bringing together what I call people, planet and purpose. People were caring about the community and wanting to make an impact. We were doing this amazing work in what we now know as the circular economy, long before people were using the word circular economy.

Yas Grigaliunas:
And we were seeing all this data… and let me say visual data at the time… all this data of product going in and out, and in and out, and being reused and repurposed and reconditioned and re-commerced, and I thought, “Oh my gosh, this is a market,” and we were making a new market and we had no idea at the time what we were doing.

Yas Grigaliunas:
So I looked to the world and who was doing it well, and I happened to be in America for an unrelated show for my job at the time, and I came back after spending two weeks on an island where they’d been holding a yard sale for 58 years. They just did it together as a group on a tiny little island. And when they raised $580,000.00 in a single day at their garage sale, I thought, “This is a thing.” So I came back, quit my job, no plan B, and started the company called The World’s Biggest Garage Sale. That was two years ago, and let me tell you it’s been a journey, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s been incredible, it’s been painful, it’s been fun, but we really are innovators in this retail re-commerce space, and we absolutely love the market that’s building around us, because globally it’s exciting for not just the amount of money we can make for impact, but for the good we do for the environment.

Nathan Bush:
Yeah, and we will get to that, around how you originally started as a profit-for-purpose business, or not even, and you’ve kind of-

Yas Grigaliunas:
Yeah, well we were kind of a charity.

Nathan Bush:
Almost a charity.

Yas Grigaliunas:
We were a bit of a charity. We were acting as a charity. We didn’t know if we were going to be a charity, we didn’t know where we sat in the market. But we knew that people cared and wanted to donate because it did good, but they wanted someone else to do the work for them. So we effectively sit almost as an agent in the middle of a big proprietary limited company and a big charity, or small charities, and we sit in the middle and we basically do all the hard work that neither of those other two entities have the capacity to do.

Nathan Bush:
Yep. And I think you said that you saw those trends happening. They may have been in the early stages around the globe, right, but they weren’t being seen here.

Yas Grigaliunas:
No.

Nathan Bush:
Because I remember speaking to you… it would have been about two years ago, and you were saying those words then. You were saying circular economy, dormant goods, re-commerce; they weren’t common words here at that stage, but since then we’ve obviously seen an explosion in all things second hand. So resale, rental, reuse, and we’ve got companies like thredUP that are doing some incredible things globally. Some of their research most recently said that in 2023, resale is actually going to be a 51 billion dollar industry, which is double of where it was at 2018, right?

Yas Grigaliunas:
I know. Literally got goosebumps. When you say that it gives me goosebumps, because all they do is apparel, and they’re like a hero company for me. I’ve been watching them for many years. And look, back two years ago they didn’t use the word circular economy in their marketing either, which I love. People are evolving. Charities like Salvos and Vinnies are now using those terms. I’m in love with the energy, time, momentum, and cause, that people are now looking at this resale retail market not as this dirty second hand economy. Gone are… and we hear it all the time… the whole volunteer blue-rinse brigade when you go into a second hand shop that smells like mothballs. It shouldn’t be that way, and I feel for our amazing charities doing that work, who have been, for years, making money out of resale in retail. But finally, right now, we need to do this not only because it’s good for the environment and good for the economy, but it’s actually good for people, too.

Yas Grigaliunas:
For me, I feel like you see lots of stories around retail stores closing down, bricks and mortar versus e-commerce, omnichannel versus technology and innovation, and at the end of the day we’re all just trying to move forward to innovate in a space where we need clothing, we need supplies, we need materials. I don’t think we need to stop consuming; I just think we need to consume with more conscience.

Yas Grigaliunas:
And you’re right, I was banging on about it two years ago, and I’ll keep banging on about it. Resale retail, dormant goods, all these words, these are really investible organizations doing amazing work that isn’t… and I said it to you before we started today… You can’t just log on to Alibaba and buy the goods and ship them in one big boat and go, “Here’s what I’ve got.” For us, when we get our shipments, we have no idea sometimes what we’re getting. It’s like returns mixed with some new stuff, mixed with some dodgy stuff, mixed with some really valuable stuff; but it’s not an inventory where we place an order on someone who can ship us the goods. It’s the consumers and the companies that are saying, “We want to make impact with our goods. We want to have a second life for products that we’re manufacturing, and we want to manufacture products that last longer.” So for us, this is a wave that isn’t going to stop.

Nathan Bush:
It’s like you just looked at retail and just gone, “No more retail; it’s just a bit easy.”

Yas Grigaliunas:
Yes, I know.

Nathan Bush:
Let’s make it really hard.

Yas Grigaliunas:
Let’s make it really hard. You know what, and it is really hard, and I think I love it. I saw Cameron Douglas, who works in retail himself in a way with Videopro. He posted something the other day about resilience and grit on LinkedIn, and I thought, “Oh my god.” I got goosebumps again. I love hard stuff. I love the pain and the difficulty of messy and challenging, and I never realized that until recently, where I actually almost look for it; because it’s in that mess, that difficulty, and that clutter, and the noise, that there is quite an opportunity. And we don’t all see it, and all we sometimes see is that mess and what’s on the surface, but if we go just dig a few layers deeper, like we’ve been doing for years, you start to unearth opportunity, and you just then have to understand who the right people are to work with and to follow, and to have advising you, or mentoring you, or guiding you. And as long as you don’t screw that up then I think you can keep heading in the right direction.

Yas Grigaliunas:
But look, young people are driving this change. I have two kids who think it’s normal to buy second hand uniforms, yet they’re probably a little bit ahead of the curve. Most of their friends wouldn’t buy second hand uniforms, but I think my kids are almost a generation ahead just because they live in a house where second hand is normal, and we don’t see it as a dirty thing.

Nathan Bush:
And they’ve been listening to Yazzy Gee.

Yas Grigaliunas:
Yeah, they have. They’ve pretty much been listening to Yazzy Gee for the last six… well 13 years for them… but definitely the last six or seven years. Today my kids are out at a space we have, a small warehouse that we’ve got, where we’re taking returned stock from a major retailer here in Australia. This returned stock we might get an inventory list of what it is, but again, we don’t know what condition it’s in. In fact yesterday I saw we got a carton of glass water bottles, and that stock can’t be sold by that retailer because one of the glass water bottles inside had shattered. Now, our team will inspect that product, do quality assurance checks, make sure that the other 11 glass containers are actually saleable or repurpose, and then we will then make a decision on where’s the best value chain for those goods to go.

Yas Grigaliunas:
So for us, we really see ourselves in resource recovery in that retail space, to then make money and impact from goods that already exist in the economy. My kids live it, breathe it, see it, and hopefully they can start to influence their friends to do a little bit more second hand uniform purchasing.

Nathan Bush:
Yep. So let’s talk about that business model, because when you started you had a bit of a mixed model, but you are definitely an entrepreneur now. This is a money-making model with purpose at its heart still. Can you talk us through how you actually make money out of second hand goods? And I’m lumping everything together here. Obviously you are second hand goods; we can talk about rental, we can talk about reuse as well. I think it’s all coming around this similar trend-

Yas Grigaliunas:
Yeah, it is.

Nathan Bush:
… with all the same drivers behind it. But can you talk us around how you actually make money out of second hand goods?

Yas Grigaliunas:
Yeah. Well I guess the most binary and linear way is that we get stock donated to us, we sell that stock, and we make some money from that; and then we decide from that money that we make… Obviously we have costs of goods, a cost of our business, sorry, so operational costs which we kind of act like a charity in a way; we’re very lean. We’re a start-up. I think start-ups are even leaner than charities. We have no choice; there’s not a lot of money that flows. But we make sure that we run on the smell of an oily rag, and then whatever profits we make, we make a commitment to always donate to charity.

Yas Grigaliunas:
We exist as a business so that we can continue to fund organizations who are out there doing the grassroots work that we can’t do as a business. I think everyone has their specialty area. I listened to something the other day about broad versus deep. I’ve always been very broad; I’m a specialist generalist. I can do anything reasonably well, but don’t ask me to do something and only one thing because I would get bored really quickly.

Yas Grigaliunas:
It’s why I think at Videopro, my time there, I changed jobs four times in the company, just kept doing different things in business, and loving the different projects. And one of my projects was e-commerce back before e-commerce was e-commerce, right at the start of that trend here in this country. So for me, I think I’ve had these little seeds planted around how we make money, how we make impact, and then how we intertwine the two. So I fiercely avoid calling myself a social entrepreneur, because with the word social entrepreneur comes this feeling… well usually I get a pat on the shoulder, sometimes, by people who think I’m just trying to do good.

Nathan Bush:
You’re such a saint.

Yas Grigaliunas:
“You’re such a good girl. Now what does your husband do?” Often that happens. But more importantly, I am fiercely professional and want to do really good sustainable work. And when I say sustainable, it has to actually last. Not sustainable as in the environment, which we do as a no-brainer, but sustainable as in a long-lasting business. We can’t make impact if we don’t make money. So our first few garage sales we literally made all this money, gave 100% of the money away. Now that was okay while had a full-time job that paid me lots of money, and I could go back to that for 11 months a year; but when you’re a start-up founder and you don’t pay yourself an income, and you’re working at your business model, and you’re going, “Hold on a minute. We can’t raise all this money through re-commerce retail, sell the product, give it away and not keep any to put our oxygen masks on ourselves.” It’s like in the airplane; if you don’t save your own life you can’t save someone else’s.

Yas Grigaliunas:
So we’ve taken a very oxygen mask approach. We have to save our own life and feed our own families, create jobs; and therefore when we do that and do that well, with a fierce commitment to purpose, we will make more money in the long run to be able to fund charitable causes than we will if we just give it all away at the start. So we have to retain operational revenue within our company to make impact. But we are absolutely fiercely committed… kind of like Who Gives A Crap and other charities. Sorry, impact organizations… to donate money to causes that are impactful. So right now, our cause is Good360. We’re donating money to them on our current projects that we’re working on, and the reason for that is they’re supplying quality goods to the right communities in the bushfire relief, and it means the right people are getting the right thing at the right time.

Nathan Bush:
But that’s separate to the business, right?

Yas Grigaliunas:
Yes.

Nathan Bush:
The business has to make money for you to be able to do that.

Yas Grigaliunas:
Absolutely. Well if we don’t make money, I have no money to give to Good360, so yes, we acquire goods, usually through donation from consumers and retailers and businesses, and what we’re acquiring is the stuff that people don’t want; the returned stock, the dormant goods in your home, the office furniture that’s getting thrown away because we’re getting new stuff. This happens. It’s just in everyday life. I liken it back to the first time we ever acquired our first donation of corporate product.

Yas Grigaliunas:
Back in 2015 before we were a company, Brisbane Airport Corporation were going to throw out… and they had to. I mean where could they send them? They had all this furniture from the international airport; it was all going to go in a skip bin. Of course, they wouldn’t do that now; we’re all so much more aware of the value of that product, but at the time we were aware of the value so we went and rescued it. We spent money, we invested in trucks to get them, we got someone to pick them up. We paid delivery trucks to pick it up for us. We sold that for 20 grand. It cost us five grand to pick up, so we were able to make $15,000.00. Let’s call it profit, but at the time our model was we gave it all away, so we gave that 15 grand away.

Nathan Bush:
So you’ve got double-ended, last mile fulfillment [crosstalk 00:18:12]-

Yas Grigaliunas:
Yeah. Absolutely. We definitely do. But look, we took a problem away from BAC. They then knew that 500 pieces of furniture got resold and repurposed, and not ended up in landfill, so great story for them. We made money, we made a donation to charity. We’ve just tweaked that now so that when we make money we actually make money for our business first, pay our staff, ensure that we can actually operate as a company, and then we do it with a view that we can scale the model so when we’re selling all this returned stock and dormant goods, we know a portion of the value of the sale is actually going to an impact cause that people are passionate about in the community.

Yas Grigaliunas:
And that’s where our benefit is, because in Sydney it might be a different cause to Melbourne, might be a different cause to Brisbane, might be a different cause to Perth, might be a different cause to Mount Isa, might be a different cause. We do what’s called glocal. We have a global vision for impact, but we want to impact financially the local causes that are important to the community; because then the community wants to give you their stuff.

Yas Grigaliunas:
And it’s like this circular motion of emotion, in a way. So people can let go of their nice stuff, donate it to us; we facilitate the sale, we ensure we keep the oxygen on our team. They can do more work when they’ve got oxygen. But we’re noticing now that we’re seeing people like [Ellison 00:19:37] and other charities furnish homes, supply people with goods that they wouldn’t have otherwise had. We’ve funded prosthetic limbs for a young girl who had sepsis and almost lost her life. So for us, the gift of giving that product goes far beyond the gift of giving it to us. We just do all the dirty, messy hard work in between, because we’re addicted to pain, and we love the hard stuff.

Nathan Bush:
Well you’re almost double the effort of a normal retail model, right, because you’ve got to source the product differently. It’s not just like you can place one purchase order and it will arrive on your doorstep.

Yas Grigaliunas:
And arrives new and perfect-

Nathan Bush:
Yeah, that’s right.

Yas Grigaliunas:
… and in a box that you can inspect and send out the same day. We can’t do that.

Nathan Bush:
But there is obviously a really strong business model there. There’s that fantastic video from Scott Galloway around the RealReal, and as you know he comes down hard on anyone who has a business model that’s not sustainable. And he is all about the RealReal. Loves it.

Yas Grigaliunas:
It has to be. Yeah, oh I love it. And the RealReal is, again, a pinup child of what this is all about. We can make money, but we can never make impact if we’re not able to fuel ourselves first. Dan Pallotta did a great TED Talk once. He was leading a charity raising hundreds of millions of dollars, doing all these amazing initiatives, funding incredible projects. And then he got pretty much bullied because he was spending money on marketing. Now marketing is really crucial. You can’t grow a brand if you’re not good at marketing. You might have the best product in the world, but if you don’t know how to actually tell people about it and bring a story around it, and create that vision, you can’t sell it. So Dan was investing some of the charity funds that they were raising into marketing so that they could raise more funds for charity, and one of their big sponsors pulled and were basically taking him down for the fact that he was investing money into marketing.

Yas Grigaliunas:
Now for me, you have to market your business or no one knows about you. And marketing costs money. So I really feel like another future market disrupter, or market maker, I feel like this Dan Pallotta, the RealReal, we’ve got to talk about sustainable businesses. We have to fuel ourselves, we have to make money. Let us make money and then watch the impact we can make when we make the money. And that impact can multiply the longer we’re in business. It’s like that hockey stick curve that every start-up wants to be. Our hockey stick curve just goes flattish for a little bit longer. We just have a weirder shape of hockey stick because we’re trying to create new markets.

Nathan Bush:
I wish people could see you trying to…

Yas Grigaliunas:
With my hands?

Nathan Bush:
… describe the hockey sticks with your hands. But-

Yas Grigaliunas:
I know. I’m very expressive.

Nathan Bush:
… it totally makes sense.

Yas Grigaliunas:
I know it makes sense, and I know it will make money. You know what I said the other day? “It won’t happen faster, but we will go farther,” and we will. It’s endurance. It’s absolutely an ultra-marathon on top of an ultra-marathon, on top of an ultra-marathon. But if anyone’s ever done a marathon, a five-K race, anything like that, in an ultra-marathon level… even a marathon or a half-marathon… if you don’t take fuel with you, or get fuel on the way of that 21K, 42K, 100K race, you will bonk. You will die. You actually will collapse and you won’t be able to survive. So we just need some fuel along the way, and that fuel has to be that we’ve got to make money. So I love the RealReal’s philosophy around that.

Nathan Bush:
One of the most common queries that I get from e-commerce retailers is about platforms. Usually they’re ready to change platforms because their old platform is no longer supported, able to scale to what they’re aiming for, or meeting their ever-evolving customer needs. Inevitably, a followup question is, “What do you think of Shopify Plus?” There’s no doubt that Shopify Plus is the leading e-commerce platform. It is agile, Cloud-based, and customer centric, but it has to be right for your business. To help understand if it is right for your business, Shopify Plus have created a re-platforming guide to help you choose your next, and hopefully last, platform. Go to shopifyplus.promo/commerceguide to download the guide today. Thanks again to Shopify Plus for being great partners of Add To Cart. We really appreciate it. Now back to the show.

Nathan Bush:
Just to tie up that business conversation, tell me about the channels that you sell through. We talked about The Garage Sale, so the events, so the big warehouse events. What other channels are you actually transacting to customers through?

Yas Grigaliunas:
Well, I drew a big model the other day and it had a big love heart in the middle, and then all of these little clouds around it of what we do, to try and visually explain to somebody what The World’s Biggest Garage Sale do. So The World’s Biggest Garage Sale effectively harvest goods, and we harvest goods from anywhere that has dormant, underutilized resources. We take on that problem ourselves, or that opportunity we see, and then we decide where the goods go to make money or impact; and ideally both is the utopia. So of course, garage sale events, people love them. 10,000 people, 20,000 people, come and shop in a day. It’s a frenzy, it gets the community involved, it’s epic. But it’s a once a year kind of Ekka day. You wouldn’t do this every single day. It would break everybody around you.

Yas Grigaliunas:
Our other opportunities are we do re-commerce, of course, so we have online, and we do that in a variety of ways. We are really evolving in this area ourselves, and while we’ve dabbled in things like eBay, Gumtree, we’ve now got our own online store in our website. We haven’t got a lot of products on there, but what we’re now starting to do is identify opportunity products that we can put into that second hand market, that are often either new, near new, or in high quantities. We then re-commerce those, and that then also pushes through to your online channels; so, again, eBay, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, and even Amazon.

Yas Grigaliunas:
So for us, we’re really broad around our re-commerce platform, and we do generate revenue on our e-commerce, re-commerce platform. Other things are our pop-up shops, and they’re epic. We did a pop-up shop with designer shoes for 12 weeks as a retail pop-up, in the Winter Garden in Brisbane, which was amazing. We sold 2,000 pairs of shoes that would otherwise have sat in a warehouse underutilized.

Yas Grigaliunas:
We’ve got a project at the moment where we have a product that’s been donated to us. We have 1.3 million of them that were actually… We thought they were plastic waste, and they are not. They’re actually biodegradable material, but they’re brand new and they’re still usable. And for us, these were going to end up… three ton of product… going to end up in the skip bin, and in landfill.

Nathan Bush:
Wow.

Yas Grigaliunas:
So we’ve re-rescued that, resource recovered that product, bought it into our business, and our team, because this is what we’re good at. We’re good at working out where the value of that product is. Is it in resale in the retail space? Is it re-commerce? Is it recycle, which is one of our last options? Is it renew where could someone strip this product down and make it something else? So on my water bottle I have a little keyring that’s been made out of e-waste.

Nathan Bush:
Cool.

Yas Grigaliunas:
So that product is actually the inside of a computer, or an electronic product, that would have been eventually thrown into landfill; but we work with organizations where we recover the e-waste, we donate the e-waste, the e-waste then becomes a new product, and that renew product is actually where I see a big opportunity for other retailers and new entrepreneurs to start to make products out of old materials. So we definitely sell in pop-up shops, and we also activate renew products. That, for us, is really exciting. We see plastic going to people and turning into pallets again, and these are often the opportunities for us. We make a little bit of money on each of those journeys, and some journeys we actually don’t make as much money as the person that we’re giving it to or selling it to. And for us, that’s just part of our role in the business, to help ensure that there’s a flow in the economy around this second hand product.

Yas Grigaliunas:
And look, these 1.3 million pods they are, may actually end up being purchased by a pod packer who is able to buy them for a small portion of what they would have cost, and they will make more money in their business because of the work we do.

Yas Grigaliunas:
I’m going to introduce a really crazy word, Nathan, that I tend to like to do. I should really start a dictionary. Last year I had to pitch about circular economy, and what I’ve realized is there’s a lot of talk… and there has been a lot of talk… and what we are really good at is we are really good at doing. One of my team members called me a tunnel-boring machine because we get the hard stuff, like you’ve got to break through the ground. And this is what this market is, where the tunnel-borers have been breaking through the ground, and we’ve all been underground doing our thing, finding new ways and more efficiencies around resale retail, this whole new market. We’ve been making all the tunnels. So we’ve seen, at the coalface, what we need to do.

Yas Grigaliunas:
Then there’s people who are on the surface who talk about it and it sounds really good, and it’s really exciting, and we jump on the bandwagon and, “Oh my god, it’s really cool; let’s do more of this,” and us tunnel-borers, we’re still in there trying to make new markets and work out how to make it more efficient. So what we called it, we get often asked to advise and support and guide, and I’ve seen the RealReal and thredUP, and others do the same thing. We’ve called it cansulting.

Yas Grigaliunas:
So instead of consulting, our company calls it cansulting. And the reason we call it cansulting is because we actually don’t just tell you what to do, like we’ve done with this pod guy… He’s like, “Oh my god, I’ve got all these pods and I’m going to throw them in the bin.” I’m like, “Oh my god, don’t throw them in the bin.” So we’ve cansulted with them on let us solve the problem for you. So we’ve solved the problem. We’ll now be able to ensure that they don’t go to landfill, so they’re going to look amazing. They’re going to have this great story, and together, resale retail, re-commerce, resource recovery, all these wonderful things; but our company, in a cansultative way, do the hard work. And we just have to make sure that we’re clipping the ticket when we’re doing that, and not giving away our IP and our knowledge and our capacity-

Nathan Bush:
You’re not doing it for free.

Yas Grigaliunas:
… and our capabilities for free, because we can’t. I mean, Nathan, we won’t survive and this market won’t grow if people like us are not getting paid for the work that we do. So that’s probably been the most interesting journey of all, is like you see that we can get a product in, sell the product, make money, and then survive and make impact. That’s fantastic, but we have to be able to do it at scale; and to do it at scale we need to work with big organizations who are prepared to partner with us, or investors who are prepared to fund us, just like a normal startup. Get the capital in, like at the RealReal, thredUP and others have done. Early innovative investors see the opportunity, they feel and sense that the market is moving. And we’re really shifting this market in a space where it’s collaborative, cansultative; and this co-opitition approach really does imbed success for all because it’s not us versus them, it’s how do we work together.

Nathan Bush:
And we’ve definitely seen that in the US, right? So big traditional retailers like Macy’s, Banana Republic, I think Gap, they’ve all partnered with others to do second hand commerce or rental.

Yas Grigaliunas:
Yes. I love it. Again, [crosstalk 00:31:45].

Nathan Bush:
And even here in Australia, we’ve seen Country Road.

Yas Grigaliunas:
Country Road, yeah.

Nathan Bush:
Yeah, do rental and that, and they haven’t even gone rental on old stuff; it’s actually their new range that they’re starting to do rental on, which is amazing, right? So your tunnel-baring is probably very, very, very close here in Australia to popping up.

Yas Grigaliunas:
Yeah, I agree.

Nathan Bush:
So my question to you is if you are in traditional retail, how do you know if your customers and your business is ready to venture into that second hand market?

Yas Grigaliunas:
That’s a really good question. I feel like with the knowledge we have, from the tunnel-boring we’ve done, the market is ready. I feel like there needs to be a very strategic approach, and it’s different for everybody. One retailer could try one thing, and another do something else, and it would have to be different. Ikea are buying back their products from customers who bring it back in, and then selling it on the floor for the same price they paid for it. It’s brilliant. Ikea furniture is really hard to move, so it’s hard for me to go and take my big bookcase to Ikea for me to then go buy another bookcase. But there’s other ways of doing it. That’s one way, and I see that Ikea have been market makers in this space as well.

Yas Grigaliunas:
One thing Ikea don’t do well in Australia is they don’t toot their own horn. They are so amazing from a sustainability perspective, and I challenge anybody who knows anything about retail to go and read the back story of Ikea. They are almost one of the darlings of sustainability; it’s just really largely untold. And they are doing these little projects around circular economy here, but I feel like they are doing what we do, and they are doing this testing, iterating, how do we do it, what does it look like. And for me, the way to do that most successfully is in partnership.

Yas Grigaliunas:
You know we talk about diversity, and I used to work for… and I mean no offense because I’ve got amazing mentors and have had amazing mentors for 20 years… but they have all been stale, male, pale, right? All the boards I’ve worked for, most of the time along the way, have all been white men, and I always look at it going, “Oh my god, is this not glaringly obvious? You need some diversity!” And I don’t just mean women. I mean diversity. Let’s get them out of the 50-plus age bracket and get some youth, get like a fantasy board. For me, my fantasy board exists of someone young, in their 20’s; someone older, in their 60’s, bringing wisdom and youth together to create this messy conversation in the middle, where we as a company can grow and learn. For me, this is what I see for transition for traditional retail coming into circular as well. Let’s shake it up with a bit of diversity.

Yas Grigaliunas:
A big retailer… like Country Road are doing it, but let’s just use them as a brand of example if they weren’t doing it. Country Road and bigger brands like that can work with organizations in that start-up ecosystem through that RealReal, us, others, to partner and bring together traditional knowledge and wisdom of retail with innovative, agile mess and exploration of start-up. And when you bring those two together, cool; everyone makes more money, everyone makes more impact, everyone actually exists cohesively in that beautiful co-opitition space. It’s utopia for me. I feel like collaboration is the key to success in resale retail for 2020 and beyond.

Yas Grigaliunas:
And look, the sustainable development goals, we haven’t even talked about. You know globally, we’ve got 10 years left to really bed down, knuckle down, get some actual execution on these goals; and when I talked before about the talk, if retail… and we’re starting to see it a little bit, we’re starting to see sustainable development goals now feature on some websites. I saw the Wesfarmers report, and they talk about and reference SDGs-

Nathan Bush:
The Iconic Report is great.

Yas Grigaliunas:
The Iconic Report is brilliant. So when you see big retailers talking about SDGs and how they can do things, I feel like organizations like ours and that innovative start-up mentality is an accelerant. So I just would love to see a little bit more cohesiveness and partnership around how big retail can shift and do more around resale re-commerce by working with businesses like ours and others, who are the shape shifters almost, in a way, in this economy.

Yas Grigaliunas:
So it’s hard. Second hand isn’t easy. Like I said, we can’t just go to… and I’ll say China, Bangladesh, somewhere… we can’t just go, “I want 10,000 of these.” It doesn’t work that way. But slow down to speed up is the philosophy that we need in resale retail; and we’ve got to do it together. It’s not an I at all; it’s a we.

Nathan Bush:
Yas, I love it. And thank you for sharing your knowledge. You’re definitely a pioneer in this area for Australia, and you were on it well before it became trendy. So I think what you’re doing is fantastic, and the knowledge that you’ve shared today is just awesome. So if people want to contact you to learn more, to partner, to invest, to whatever they are after, I can think of no better person to speak to about the second hand economy. How do they find you and speak to you?

Yas Grigaliunas:
Look, we’re all over socials. We were really fortunate, we actually won Brand Of The Year for Queensland last year, so we must doing something right in the marketing space. But look, I’m a firm believer that the voice that you see out there on my own social channels is my voice, and I’m also a bit traditional in that I will respond to all messages. So reach out on our website; it’s got a ton of information, although we are doing some redevelopment on that. I think our website hasn’t evolved it as fast as our business has. I think a lot of companies are in the same position there.

Nathan Bush:
Don’t talk about websites. No one going to talk about websites, please.

Yas Grigaliunas:
Yeah, I know, right? Yeah, no. So jump online, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, all of those channels. Please reach out. My name is Yas, or Yasmin; you’ll find me there. Grigaliunas is really tough to spell, but I’m sure you’ll put my name on this podcast, and if you Google that-

Nathan Bush:
And we’re actually changing Yas’ name to Yazzy Vee, after Gary Vee.

Yas Grigaliunas:
Yazzy. Yeah. Well my husband does call me Yazzy Gee because it’s easier than Yas Grigaliunas. But my staff, when I get a bit McRanty, or really super passionate, they call me Yazzy Gee, and the reason for it is I am quite authentic and vulnerable at the same time. But we love talking to people. We don’t have all the answers, Nathan, and that’s probably one of the biggest things.

Yas Grigaliunas:
For me, I would put that question back to you; anyone listening to this today, if you have something to add, if you think that you can contribute in some way, knowledge, one thing it is, is it’s not all about… We all have an abundance in something. Some of us have an abundance in knowledge, others have an abundance in wisdom, others have an abundance in enthusiasm, and some have an abundance in money. And a business needs all of those things.

Yas Grigaliunas:
So for me, I think if anyone can contribute anything to us and to help us move and continue to move this market, where we’re really developing some incredible products both on technology platforms and without technology… because sometimes you just can’t build tech to do product logistics… get in touch with us. Reach out, Google my name, go to our website, jump on Facebook, send us a message, do something; but don’t just sit there. One percent of the world will actually do things when they get new information or when there seems to be an opportunity in front of them, or when they have that intuitive what I call heart feeling; if your heart and your gut are connected and you can feel something in the heart and then you do nothing, you lose an opportunity.

Yas Grigaliunas:
So pick up the phone, reach out to us, get in touch with Nathan, or even just go and start a conversation with someone else you’ve been inspired to speak to from our conversation today.

Nathan Bush:
Yas, that’s awesome. Thank you very much.

Yas Grigaliunas:
It’s my pleasure. Thank you.

Nathan Bush:
So there you go. Did you catch all of Yas’ lingo? I really think she should write that dictionary. Yas is definitely a pioneer here in Australia for second hand commerce, and I love her passion for second hand goods. But more than that, I love that she sees the writing on the wall, and her ability to take that passion and that insight and turn it into a business that could make a real difference in the world.

Nathan Bush:
I hope from today’s episode that you got some ideas for your business, either in how you can offer a service, or partner with others, to take advantage of that trend and to make a real impact in the world as well. There’s a huge, huge market coming for second hand goods, and it’s one I’m keeping a very, very, close eye on.

Nathan Bush:
Now if you like e-commerce news, trends, and insights, you might want to sign up for 12HIGH’s e-commerce newsletter, HIGHmail. Every month we release our This Month In e-Commerce newsletter which brings together all the stories that you need to know of what happened last month in e-commerce; and I’ll tell you what, a helluva lot happens in a month. Last month, in January, the most clicked article was around the bush fires, but it wasn’t the type of article that you think. It was actually from a company who created a bushfire relief dildo that they sold, and raised 15K worth of funds from. That was our most clicked article from our readers; that’s not my choice, that was the readers choice, and it says more about our readers than it says about me. There was some other great stuff in there including some great e-commerce fulfillment, white papers looking at what fulfillment might look like in 2030, as well as Google’s most recent acquisition which helps in-store retailers take their product online really effortlessly.

Nathan Bush:
So some great stuff in there. Sign up at 12HIGH, 1-2-H-I-G-H, .com.au/highmail, H-I-G-H-M-A-I-L; or just Google it, and it is free to sign up. Leave your email, and we’ll get it out to you each month.

Nathan Bush:
That’s it from me. We’ll be back with episode seven in about a month’s time. See you then.