To test their resale model, Kuyichi offered customers the opportunity to return unworn Kuyichi denim products—jeans, jackets and shirts, for example—in exchange for a discount code on their next purchase. Customers could return their garments directly via retailers or postal. Although the take-back programme was marketed across Europe, the majority of garments came from the Netherlands and only included jeans, giving Kuyichi a clear geographical and product scope for their pilot launching in 2021.
Kuyichi's pilot was launched in September 2021 in GreenUp Utrecht - the largest sustainable department store in the Netherlands. In a dedicated section of the store, the brand collects, upcycles and sells its reworked denim collection. The store takes back used Kuyichi jeans from customers, but also accepts defect items from the warehouse stocks. The collected items are reworked by Petra van de Laar from Indigo Ravens, into a variety of unique items, from patchwork jackets to bucket hats or even made-to-measure items, which are then sold in the GreenUp store. The price points vary depending on the work that has been done - some with repairs are sold at a lower retail price than the originals, while upcycled items have a premium price due to the handwork and time they require.
One of Kuyichi's main challenges is to scale their product take-back and renewal, due to logistical pressures on their team and the warehouse they work with. Thus, the brand realised it needs to find an external partner with the capacity and specialised knowledge to support them. In the upcoming year, Kuyichi is planning to collaborate with Responsible, which will provide a tool that will enable Kuyichi to buy back worn products from their customers in return for store credit in their webshop. Responsible will then repair and renew the items, reselling them on their platform for the next wearer to enjoy. The collaboration will first launch for the brand’s main European markets, but they hope to spread the initiative across Europe over time.
”Logistics is underrated. You have to work with a proper logistics partner, especially if you are a small brand, because it’s quite time intensive. It’s almost like building your own new company. Find the right partner. Find a partner that has that in-house knowledge you need or is willing to build it,” says Zoé Daemen, CR Manager at Kuyichi