5 Questions With Eliza Batten
1. Can you tell us what inspired you to launch The Cirkel?
I started selling clothes at university, and have sold over 2400 items on Depop. I am also an avid second-hand shopper, always hunting out the next best thing across an array of platforms. Despite managing to buy and sell in the current market, I felt there was a big gap for an elevated, hassle-free platform. I wanted to create a service that made selling completely seamless and easy, and second-hand shopping feel fun and fresh. In order to convert more people to shopping second-hand, it is imperative that we improve the online consumer experience to feel like that of shopping new! Hence, The Cirkel. We use models and professional photography to make our website easy to browse, so you can see how the pieces fit, and we also offer a fully managed service for selling, where we do all the work for you, from collecting to listing, to photographing, to storing, to selling.
2. As a female founder what key pieces of advice would you like to offer fellow female entrepreneurs, and what are the most valuable lessons you have learnt?
Don't wait until your product, or your website, or your social media, is perfect. Get it out onto the market and try and test, try and test! Without over-stereotyping, female founders are typically more cautious whilst male founders are more gung-ho. Your product will never be perfect, but you can make better decisions and more efficient adaptations after actively testing it on the market. This was something I definitely struggled with at the beginning, as I am a bit of a perfectionist.
One of the most valuable lessons I have learnt, that infiltrates both my business and personal life, is 'if you don't ask, you don't get'!
3. If you could invest in three things to update your wardrobe this season, what would they be?
For autumn winter, I focus on outerwear and accessories (as they are what most people will see)! A good quality investment coat is something I am keeping my eye out for - preferably something quite oversized on the shoulders and long in length. A comfortable pair of winter boots. I am really hoping someone sends in The Row zip-up black boots in my size...! They are SO comfy and go with every outfit, but ideally I would get them second-hand to take the edge off the price tag. Lastly, a fun bag. I think accessories like bags offer the perfect opportunity to inject a pop of colour, or a point of interest into an outfit. Also, a good bag will be worn every day for years to come, so as cost per wears go, they are definitely worth investing in.
4. What makes Iris a perfect fit for a partnership with the Cirkel?
Firstly, there is a real synergy in brands that we both stock. On The Cirkel, Sea, Ba&sh, Isabel Marant and also By Iris itself are some of our big sellers. The great thing about that is that Iris customers will be able to access their favourite brands on our platform. Secondly, by hosting drop-off events within the Iris stores across London (where customers can come and drop off pieces they are hoping to sell), we make selling easier and more accessible! Partnerships such as Iris x Cirkel help make resale more mainstream, more accessible and more elevated. There is nothing cooler than brands supporting circularity and we are so excited to be working with Iris to further extend the lifespan of clothes!
5. Why is the circular fashion movement so important right now, and how do you see it growing even more so?
Fashion and its supply chain is the third largest polluting industry, emitting 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions last year. There is a vast quantity of good quality clothing sitting unworn in people's wardrobes, and by making selling easy and accessible, we can alleviate some of the barriers to this untapped supply. It is imperative to be more responsible when consuming fashion! With the help of brands like Iris who pioneer circularity, and by having more platforms like ours at The Cirkel, it is now much easier for customers to make more considered decisions.
Circular fashion is BOOMING which is so exciting, though as a market it is still very much in its infancy. I think tech will play a big part in scaling the world of resale. To put simply, second-hand platforms currently have quite labour intensive models, and by automating as many processes as possible, scaling will become much easier! Combining the advancement of tech with the societal shift towards more responsible shopping, we can hope to see second-hand become everyone's first choice.