What do you do with your children’s shoes when they grow out of them? Some are too beautiful not to keep – especially that first pair. But how to dispose of them sustainably?
Nicola Davenport, co-founder of SW19-based business WhoSki.com, set up the UK’s only peer-to-peer marketplace dedicated to winter sports clothing to solve exactly that problem - but for ski clothes, rather than shoes.
I met Nicola at a business event recently. Once we realised our businesses were basically neighbours, it seemed natural to ask her to tell us a bit more about the ethos behind her start-up.
Nicola explains: “There are definitely parallels between the footwear sector and the ski clothes sector. If you invest in good quality, it will last. With ski clothes – for children they will most probably grow out of them before they wear out. For adults, you’ll probably be ready for a new look before your ski outfit shows any signs of fatigue.
“That’s where WhoSki.com comes in – we are the online platform where you can buy and sell pre-loved ski and snowboard clothing safely and simply. Plus we donate to the teen mental health charity stem4 on every sale.
“Ski clothing is built to last, wind- and water-proofed to ensure it can survive tough conditions and (like most shoes) is made of a combination of materials. This makes it difficult to recycle and means it can last for years – not just in your wardrobe, but also in landfill if that’s where it ends up.
“Sadly, odds are that if you discard them, your ski clothes will not be disposed of sustainably. The vast majority of textiles donated to charity do not sell in their original form and end up being shredded, recycled or exported. Countries like Ghana are drowning under our unwanted clothing; indigenous textile industries have been decimated.
“WhoSki.com is a business driven by sustainability. Our mission is to keep ski and snowboard clothing in active usage for as long as possible. This not only helps the environment by reducing the amount of discarded textiles, in the long term it also reduces the production demand for yet more clothing.
“The corporation which owns The North Face, Timberland and other brands, produces approximately 400 million units of apparel, footwear, accessories and gear a year, for example. Where does it all go?
“By ensuring our clothing is worn more times before it’s discarded, we can all play a role in reducing consumption of the world’s resources, reducing our personal carbon footprint and acting more environmentally responsibly.
“I would love it if you thought of WhoSki.com next time you’re having a ski kit clear out – selling through our marketplace helps the environment and charity, as well as helping making skiing a bit more affordable.”