Let’s talk about.. Sustainability with Siopaella

Back in 2011 Siopaella arrived in Ireland and turned fashion retail on it’s head. The concept – Recycle your wardrobe. Buy less, buy better and don’t waste. 

We sit down with Ella De Guzman of Siopaella is talk about why sustainability is at the forefront of her business. “We are a designer resale store that buys, sells and trades designer accessories, clothing and homeswares”, says Ella, but as we found out, they’re SO much more.

So what is Siopaella?

Siopaella started in 2011. “I had moved over here from Vancouver bc Canada and noticed a gap in the market place where locals could buy, sell and trade pieces from their closets. I opened Siopaella in the heart of Temple Bar in January 2011 then over the course of 6 years expanded to 3 more locations.” They now have three stores in Temple bar specializing in vintage, high street and homewares. A forth store on Wicklow street opened last year and specialises in the high end bags and clothing. All this and a strong online presence. 

Tell us about that process and why you choose to do retail this way

“To date we have sold over 60,000 items – everything from Chanel bags to Topshop dresses. It’s been amazing meeting Consignors from all over the country who come to our stores and clear out their wardrobes. I think people are now starting to see the whole buying process differently since we opened up.” Siopaella resell clothing, as long as it’s in tip top shape they provide a way for the environmentally conscious to fall in love with shopping again. 

What is the reason for re-selling and vintage selling

“I have always loved vintage and have been buying and selling vintage since I was 12 years old. So it’s something that I’ve always been familiar with. I always hated paying full retail price for anything and loved the whole uniqueness that comes with vintage buying.”

Spoiled carry their own lines too, how does that work if people want to resell?

“We have started carrying our own lines of brands we source around the world called the Siopaedit. We will always buy and recycle the clothes back once customers are finished with them. Siopaella cares about the environment and lessening fashions impact.

Why is it so important to have these values at the forefront for the brand?

“Shopping at Siopaella not only means you’ll save money but you’re saving the environment. 90% of our inventory is pre-owned and recycled.  We encourage customers to mind the things they buy from us so that once they have tired of them they can resell them and continue the recycling process. We only buy in what we consider premium high street. We don’t take items in from Penneys or Dunnes Stores as we believe they are so inexpensive already, and tend to be cheaply made and not last.”

“The problem is the way we view fashion as being disposable. So many people that I know will wear things once or twice only. Then there’s clothing you can buy for less than the price of a load of laundry. “

Can you see there being a change in the shopping habits we see today?

“I think a lot of our own customers at Siopaella are starting to shop smarter. They are buying better quality labels that they know they will be able to resell once they are tired of wearing them. It’s happening – slowly but surely. I think more and more people are educating themselves and thinking more about the people who are behind the clothes they are buying.” We always encourage swapping and recycling with our customers and to take care of their things.

What areas of the industry do you see a problem with?

“I think all the high street stores are pricing their items way too cheaply and an environmental tax should be placed on all brand new items. Second hand items should not be taxed as consumers have already paid the tax on them.”Consumers need to start thinking more about who is making the clothes that they buy for €4 each. If we all tried to reduce our consumption a little bit it would be better than doing nothing at all. 

What’s next for Siopaella

“We are trying to expand our online store at the moment as we have no plans to open any more locations, Four is enough! We are trying to find more eco friendly brands and Irish brands to partner up with. We have recently started stocking Beyond Retro’s own label of handbags and backpacks that are made out of recycled materials so that’s been exciting.”

There’s more!

“We are also holding swap events throughout the summer whereby our customers can trade their wardrobes for something new! Our last event was a huge success with over 200 pieces being traded in a few short hours”   Image – Brid O’Donovan for STELLAR Magazine 2017

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