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.
For Kuyichi, prototyping their circular business model confirmed that a combination of upcycling and resale is the way to go. Kuyichi have been around for over 20 years, so there are plenty of Kuyichi products in circulation that can be taken back. However, they do not expect to collect or sell large volumes in the beginning. Knowing this, they decided to start with a resale model that is focused on upcycling used garments to create unique one-off items.
Being a small company with a fast-paced culture, the circular innovation process gave Kuyichi the opportunity to slow down, create structure and dive deep into the topic. Throughout the process, they also learned that things don’t have to be perfect in order to start and that it was more important to find people that can think outside of the box and believe in the success of such a project.
Kuyichi will launch their pilot during the summer of 2021 and begin by rolling out their take-back programme. At the same time they will drop a first collection of upcycled denim, built in collaboration with their partner, Re-bell. This first collection will be made using pre-consumer ‘seconds’ and customer returns. Kuyichi hope that it will give their customers a good impression of what will happen with their old garments and act as an incentive for the take-back programme.