For our first-ever Members in Focus, we talked to Steve Lynam, Managing Director of Preloved Kilo, about sustainability in business, the impact of fashion, and their partnership with Play it Green.
Can you tell us a bit about Preloved Kilo and how you got started?
Preloved Kilo is the U.K.’s leading fully-independent vintage and retro clothing supplier.
We run 100 kilo events a year all around the U.K. plus sell online wholesale, supply Asda, and have fixed shops in South Yorkshire where we are based.
This business started very small, two of us and one van. Over the years, we have formed great relationships with suppliers and customers, which has enabled us to grow.
Why did you choose to make your workforce climate positive with Play it Green?
It was time for us to go further in our pursuit to combat climate change as a business.
We have stopped over 2,000 tonnes of clothing going to landfill; however, doing events each weekend started to make me conscious of our footprint as a business.
It was very important to me that I do something about that, and that is why we have partnered with Play it Green to become climate positive.
How important do you think sustainability should be to businesses nowadays?
It should be at the forefront of everything they do. If we can all make small changes over time, it will make a huge longer-lasting impact.
I think big business is slowly catching on, but I feel that small businesses like ours are helping lead the way. If we shout about it more, then we can really help drive behavioural change in everyone.
You also decided to add tree planting to your products. Why go that extra step?
I attend the majority of our events, and I take time to chat to everyone, and I have seen a real appetite in people wanting to help make a difference.
Offsetting our carbon footprint was important to me, but then I thought, what if we can offset people’s travel to our events too? I had a target in mind, and we have exceeded that by more than 5 times in the first two months.
I will be adding this option to our online sales platforms and exploring this in our partnership with Asda too.
Is it your children, business needs or inner passion that motivates you to do more than most in tackling climate change?
Well, Preloved as a business is a sustainable company by design. However, I’m learning there’s always ways to improve.
Over the years, I have become very passionate about fashion and where we sit in this sector, but also about making positive changes overall. We have a zero-waste policy which drives our push for a circular economy.
Due to how I’m now more focused, my children are growing up to be more conscious of their impact, which is great to see. We have to think about how they will be impacted and how their children will be also.
Fashion is an industry that’s becoming notorious for its negative impact on the environment. Do you think there’s a growing demand for sustainable options?
Yes, 100%. I think the pandemic helped focus people more on this also. I mean, look at our partnership with Asda; we are now bringing vintage clothing to the mainstream.
Selfridges now do Re-Selfridges, and big sports brands are now using sustainable materials in a lot of products. I especially love what Patagonia are doing as a business and the values they strive for.
I feel things are changing for the better even though it’s slow-paced, it is ramping up.
What has the reaction to joining Play it Green been like from your customers?
They love it. I often chat to customers about it. I expect it to grow more when our monthly news letters go out.
Becoming a sustainable business is often a long journey. Do you have anything planned to continue yours?
Yes, electric vehicles which I think will come in 2-3 years’ time, because we travel a lot, but we need the infrastructure to be better in order to make the switch. There are no charging points at a premier inn hotel just yet.
We are also looking at a very exciting partnership with one of the world’s largest companies to help us improve how we clean and care for the garments we sell.
This will be looking at our laundry habits but also how we prolong the life of each garment. More will be revealed soon.
What does the future hold for Pre-Loved Kilo as a business?
An exciting one and one where we continue to make connections in this industry and beyond to help make changes for the good of everyone.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I just want to add that it’s great to see the growth of Play It Green, and I’m very excited to develop our partnership more.
You can visit Preloved Kilo’s forest garden, or the “Preloved Patch”, here. In just four months, they have planted 5560 trees, offsetting 429 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Play it Green business members and their employees receive weekly tips on how to reduce their footprint along with discount codes for related sustainable products.
They also get access to Play it Green’s network of sustainability experts, our Net Zero Framework for businesses, and a whole range of marketing tools to show their social and environmental efforts.