One day Justine Stinvil decided that she wanted to make the switch to a more sustainable and conscious wardrobe.
While in the process of getting rid of some clothes she knew she could make some money back on, she decided to search for a consignment store that could resell her pieces but couldn’t find one. Justine saw an opportunity and thus, Effortless was born.
Effortless aims to minimize textile waste and inspire other fashion lovers to make the switch without breaking the bank. Effortless is about the people – the people who want to make a change, make the effort to declutter their wardrobe and be more conscious consumers. We sat down with Justine to learn more about the Effortless journey.
How and when did you get started?
I got started February of 2019, so it’s been about a year and a half. While doing some research I noticed how many people were actually feeling overwhelmed and discouraged to make the switch to a more sustainable and conscious wardrobe like I was, so I decided to offer my help with a pick-up service and give a second chance to these unwanted clothes, reselling them online.
Tell us in more detail how COVID-19 has changed your business?
Actually, it was really good at the very beginning because a lot of people began making a lot of impulsive purchases. People were frantic over the fact that they could no longer shop in store, so I began to get a lot of business. Also, the most recent Black Lives Matter movement sent a lot of customers my way who were looking to support Black businesses. Since stores have opened back up, business has slowed a little bit.
Since COVID-19 what has been the most difficult obstacle to overcome?
It’s more difficult now to organize events because I usually participate in the Evergreen Brick Works events where a lot of entrepreneurs like me or other organizations will try to raise awareness around more sustainable ways to handle items such as clothes, books or furniture. Due to COVID-19 the events have been cancelled so I don’t have that opportunity to promote my business anymore in that avenue.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself (or your business) in light of what’s happening?
Because everything was closed I couldn’t do the usual pickups and I had more time to actually connect with my clients and grow the Effortless community. I also realized that I need to spend more time focusing on the online shop and create a better balance between that and the pick-up service.
Is the aesthetic of the types of clothing that Effortless sells inspired by your own personal style?
Yes, it is. I’m French. I moved here four years ago, and second-hand fashion is sort of a huge thing in France. There’s a lot of luxury brands and people always looking for like a Chanel bag or Louis Vuitton bag at a cheaper price so buying second hand is definitely a big thing, it’s something that you do on a regular basis. My style has European influences and that’s something I would like to share with my clients and through Effortless.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business, especially being a person in the Black community?
If you have a passion just keep working on it and share your passion with everyone. You’ll definitely find people who will be amazed by your passion and how much you’re driven to actually make it work.
What, if any adversities did you have to conquer?
It was difficult to change people’s behaviour, especially here in the big city of Toronto, to have them see that second-hand fashion is the future. People shouldn’t think that just because clothing is second hand that it’s either trash or less valuable than brand new clothes that you’d buy in like an H&M store or a Zara store.
Is there anything else you’d like our Notable readers to know about Effortless?
One of the goals of Effortless is to leave a very minimal environmental footprint. I use the better packaging company for my packaging so all the packages are reusable. I’m currently having a summer sale on the website and I’m also looking for fall and winter clothing.