The importance of authenticity in business has been highlighted by the co-founder of a sustainable kids fashion startup.

Charlene Hurlock will launch Swoperz with Vicky Fuller this year. The subscription-based platform allows people to swap second-hand children’s clothes.

What sets it apart is that “Swoperz is run by kids and managed by grownups”, says Hurlock.

“Kids manage their accounts, allowing them to independently swap pre-loved clothing, in a safe empowered environment controlled by grownups,” she explains to TechBlast.

Lightbulb moment

The best friends were amazed when their children, Petti and Sophia, started swapping their old clothes without prompting. “It was like a lightbulb moment for us,” says Hurlock. “Our kids were growing at lightning speed and after doing some research, we found out it was a global issue.

“We started to validate our findings with friends, family and then through a wider network.”

Fuller had 15 years of experience as a stay-at-home mum with active involvement in the school PTA (Parent Teacher Association), while Hurlock’s background was in sales at global exhibitions, working with big-name brands.

The startup recently secured £250,000 in a pre-seed round led by early-stage venture capital firm Jenson Funding Partners.

“The most important lesson we’ve learned on our journey to date is the significance of gaining trust and remaining authentic,” says Hurlock. “By staying true to yourself allows you to build genuine connections which is what truly leaves an impression.”

The Swoperz marketplace, which costs £14.99 a month to join, reimburses children with tokens when they upload an item and can use these tokens to ‘pay for’ a different item on the platform. 

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Safety & sustainability

The firm has partnered with TrustElevate to ensure child age verification and parental consent to create an age-appropriate safe space for children and their families. 

“Now is absolutely the right time for the world to explore and adopt technology that aids sustainability, particularly in the fashion industry,” adds Hurlock. “The industry is becoming more conscious of how waste and excessive consumption have an adverse influence on the environment. 

“By embracing technological advancements and prioritising education, we can address these challenges and transition toward more sustainable practices in production, distribution, and consumption. 

“Education plays a crucial role in driving positive change and this is where we believe the impact of the Swoperz community will have the most impact.”

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