Helen Elfer, Founder at Stork: An Online Marketplace For Pre-Loved Kids’ Clothes

Stork is an online pre-loved marketplace that makes it easy for people to buy and sell their kids’ outgrown things directly to each other.

It’s perfect for eco-conscious families who want to reduce waste by prolonging the lifespan of clothes, toys and equipment, support other parents instead of big business, and buy beautiful things for much cheaper than they’d be brand new. Sellers can sign up and list their kids’ outgrown things in a matter of minutes – it’s completely free to list and sell items. Buyers can browse the stock or use the filters to search for anything they need, simply and quickly. It’s a no-brainer really!

 
 

 

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

 

I started shopping second-hand myself when I was pregnant with my first child, because I didn’t like a lot of the maternity clothes on the high street, and was reluctant to spend a lot on things I was only going to wear a few times. I found there was so much more choice buying pre-loved, and of course it was much cheaper. I felt really good about shopping in a way that didn’t have a negative impact on the environment too.

And most of all I loved chatting to the mums I was buying from! Then when I had my daughter, I found I actually preferred her to have clothes and toys that came preloaded with stories, love and memories, whether that was from friends passing on their children’s outgrown things, or buying pre-loved from other parents. But it wasn’t always easy to get exactly what I was looking for – the existing platforms were either awkward to use or very impersonal, so I decided to launch Stork for parents in the same position as me.

Turns out there are a lot of us! It’s been amazing to see it grow since then – a lovely community has sprung up on the site and it’s developing into a really exciting movement. People are starting to care so much more about buying sustainably, and are increasingly mindful about how and where they spend their money, so it’s fantastic to be providing a platform that supports this new wave of positivity.

 

 

What advice would you give to other aspiring female entrepreneurs?

 

There are a lot of people in the same boat at the moment – particularly women – who are juggling childcare and business-building, often on tight budgets. It can feel quite isolating in the absence of office friends, or other work networks during these strange times. Firstly I’d suggest taking advantage of the many supportive online communities out there for female entrepreneurs, there are heaps of people keen to chat and offer support and perspective.

The second is to just take a break sometimes and do something you enjoy. It’s so important to recharge, boost your creativity and get your sense of self back. I know it often seems impossible to find downtime, and for lots of us, might even come at the expense of sleep, but it’s still worth it!

 

What can we hope to see from Stork in the future?

 

We’re growing so fast as word gets out, with new sellers constantly signing up and adding new products, so the choice for parents is expanding all the time. We’re also going to be adding more chat functionality for users to discuss products and share advice, posting articles and features on everything from kids’ storage to sustainable shopping advice, and making it easier for people to donate to baby banks and other charities.

We’ll also be supporting our new members with lots of tips for selling their items. For regular updates, sign up for our newsletter using the form at the bottom of the homepage.