In our 4th blog post of our Women Entrepreneurs in Sustainable Fashion, we wanted to put the spot light on a second hand business here in Amsterdam: Carlarobe.
Carlarobe has a stand of beautiful and unique pre-loved piece in the boutique Uhmah on Admiraal de Ruijterweg 67. There you can find affordable, high-quality, second-hand pieces with a great variety of sizes, between 32 to 50! We love to see size inclusivity even in second hand shops!
We have worked with Carla during our last photoshoot, to create some looks merging new Atalyé garments with second hand clothes. It was such a pleasure working together. Carla has an undeniable eye that can pick flattering and timeless pieces for her customers. We definitely recommend going to visit her at Uhmah and also sometimes at Ten Kate market, and on her instagram account at @carlarobe_amsterdam.
Thank you Carla for taking the time to answer our questions and share your experience and vision on fashion. Once again, we love to see a women entrepreneur dedicating her time to make others feel good about themselves and in a sustainable way!
What is the name of the business you have started and what is it?
Carlarobe pre-loved fashion is the name of my local one woman business. It’s my label for which I handpick contemporary second-hand clothes for women. I offer my colorful collection at Uhmah Fashion & Design on Admiraal de Ruijterweg 67 in Amsterdam West and occasionally at the vivid Ten Kate market, also in Amsterdam West.
What made you want to start this business?
I worked as a copywriter for a big fashion company. It opened my eyes to the mainstream fashion making process and its devastating effects on the planet and unfortunately also on people in many cases. I loved working in fashion, because it has always been my passion. As a child I used to play ‘fashion store’ with my sisters. They were the customers shopping with my help out of the closets that we used to have in the corridor upstairs… and as a teenager I spent every single Saturday with my girlfriends putting new outfits together with all of our clothes that we threw on a heap… So working in fashion: yes, but not in the traditional way. That’s when the idea was born to start a business in second-hand clothes; better for the world and better for your wallet too.
What problem is your business solving today?
More than one. I think (well, to be honest I know) that a lot of women love clothes and like to buy something new for themselves quite often. Through fashion, they celebrate and express themselves. But women also become more and more conscious; they want to make sustainable choices that support other people and are friendly for our planet. At Carlarobe, women can buy and also sell their contemporary second hand and vintage clothes, which expands the life of clothes. My business provides a good alternative for buying new clothes, it helps the circular economy and is therefore a very sustainable choice. My card says it this way:
What sticks in your closet may well be someone else’s favourite garment. And vice versa. Would you like to give your quality clothes a new life? Or discover the available pre-loved items? You really can make a personal positive impact on the fashion industry.
💛 For the love of fashion… ♻️ and the world we live in.
Another problem that my business solves is the financial poverty that many people are in. My second hand clothes are a lot cheaper than new clothes. And the clothes that I don’t sell in the store, I take to the Ten Kate market where people with a really small budget can find nice fashion items. What’s left after that, I donate to HVO Querido, an organization that helps homeless people in Amsterdam.
What I also would like to mention is that I sell in a ‘regular’ fashion store where the owner Chantal sells new clothes. This way I can also introduce pre-loved and vintage to customers who would not easily enter a second-hand store. I show them all the fun possibilities of mixing new and pre-loved and I inspire them to build a more sustainable wardrobe.
How do you create novelty in a sustainable way in your brand?
I am constantly looking for new items locally, so with hardly any transport. The pre-loved and vintage selection at Uhmah fashion are constantly changing because, of course, there is only one piece of every garment. That's what makes second hand shopping here so much fun. It’s not dictated by fashion trends, but it invites customers to find pieces that match their personality and their own unique style.
If you were to give your 20 year old self advice, what would it be?
Follow the path of your enthusiasm. By doing what you love you can be the best version of yourself. The version who can also lift others.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
There are many local sustainable initiatives and businesses and they all inspire me. I love to see how there is no competition in this community of sustainable fashion entrepreneurs but just friendship and support because of our common ideas and goals. What also inspires me are my very different customers, city life, street fashion, magazines and instagram.
What makes you smile?
A good day in the shop or at the market with many happy customers. Other than that my 12 year-old girl and my crazy friends ;-)
👉 You’re a woman entrepreneur working sustainable fashion and would like to be featured in our blog? Don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com ! 🌸