When Kara Kennedy’s 6-year-old daughter needed new tennis shoes, a business name was born.
Little White Sneakers was the label tied to an entrepreneurial endeavour that the Davisviller and her Bloor West cousin, Raegan Kennedy, were putting together in July.
The duo were well-established professionals, Kara a marketing director with Telus and Raegan a corporate lawyer with Torys LLP but while on maternity leave at the same time, they discovered there was limited online shopping for second-hand clothes.
“Most of my shopping was done at 11 at night, once I found out in the morning that we didn’t have an item of clothing,” Raegan Kennedy said, at her cousin’s Davisville East home. “I had no problem buying a piece of clothing that was worn one or two times.”
Armed with the idea to have an online portal so young families in North Toronto and Bloor West can purchase gently used clothing, the Kennedys set out to gauge interest by creating their own survey.
They made some “shocking discoveries,” Kara said.
Close to 90 percent of the almost 200 parents surveyed had never purchased used clothes online, though 80 percent expressed an interest. Of those surveyed 93 percent shop online.
“There is a big opportunity in the market where there are parents that shop online, parents who buy second-hand clothes, but there really wasn’t an option to buy second-hand clothes online,” Kara said.
The duo has taken to social media websites Facebook and Twitter to reach out to the Toronto market, and have an office space where they are storing the gently used clothing from popular brands like Gap, Pop-up Shop, Joah Love as well as from designer houses like Burberry, Armani and Hugo Boss.
They avoid brands that are associated with fast fashion, where the clothes wear out with two to three washes.
Their collection of clothes comes from the other side of their business: pickup.
“There are a few parents out there who have the time and inclination to post things on Facebook but we will go to people’s houses,” Kara said.
They’ll prep the clothes for photos by steaming them.
“I think we’re offering a more sophisticated solution that’s convenient for parents,” Kara said. “Because we’re parents of five kids, we just know the challenges and problems parents face every day.
“Anything that can make parents’ live easier and save them money along the way.”
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