With 93pc of Irish charity retailers signed up to the site, with a 99pc retention rate, Thriftify is now focusing on the UK and Europe.

Irish online charity platform Thriftify has reported a 79pc increase in online sales since the third lockdown began in December in Ireland.

The company which already employs 16 full-time staff says it plans to hire 20 more people this year.

“Thriftify gives charity shops visibility to millions of shoppers across the world”

Rónán Ó’Dálaigh set up Thriftify in 2018, acting as an all-encompassing online retailer specifically for charity shops.

Since its inception, the company has seen significant growth figures, with 260,000 visitors to the site in 2020. The website acts as a medium between Irish charity shops and customers and sends sold items to buyers using biodegradable packaging.   

Functional fashion

In the past few months, since the third Irish lockdown was introduced, the site has recorded a 79pc increase in online sales from the website with fashion items being the biggest sellers, followed by books.

Thriftify is now preparing to expand into the UK market, which will be one of its largest growth markets, along with Germany and North America. Already some well-known UK charities such as Oxfam Northern Ireland and the Wessex Cancer Trust have signed up to the service, with plans to sign up to 15pc of UK charity retailers this year.

“Thriftify offers retailers a simple way to sell their donations,” said Ó’Dálaigh. “Our software prices up items which have a barcode, and our specialist software ensures everything is appropriately valued.Thriftify also provides a solution for the packaging and sending of sold goods to consumers.

“Our platform is integrated into eBay, Google Shopping, Facebook Marketplace and Amazon, meaning charity shops can simply use one account via Thriftify to sell across all of these other online marketplaces. This way, Thriftify gives charity shops visibility to millions of shoppers across the world.

“Thriftify is also developing online integrations to other leading e-commerce websites such as popular shopping apps and websites like Depop and Poshmark, meaning charity shops can list something on Thriftify and it will then be visible on these sites, which are hugely popular amongst online shoppers and slow fashion advocates who prefer to shop for second hand clothing.”

Exporting a thrifty model

Two men holding a laptop that says Thriftify on the screen.

Timur Negru and Rónán Ó’Dálaigh from Thriftify

Thriftify carried out a soft launch in the UK in 2020 and worked with a handful of UK charities to test out the platform and tweak it for the localised market, with currency and postal integrations needing to be exact before a major launch.

The company is also examining specific country launches in Germany, Austria and North America with active interest in their platform from organisations based there.

“Fashion items are by far the biggest seller on the site,” according to Ó’Dálaigh.

“People are more aware of how damaging the fast fashion industry is now and they are shopping in a more ethical, planet friendly way. Fast fashion accounts for 10pc of all global emissions, major water pollution and human exploitation when it comes to employment. Shopping second-hand cuts down on landfill, carbon emissions and when shopping on Thriftify, you are also contributing to various charities, so it’s a win win.”

Books are also a huge seller on Thriftify, with thousands being sold on the site last year. The site used around 80,000 compostable bags last year to ship items to buyers.   

Ó’Dálaigh says he hopes to see continued growth figures for 2021.

“We hired five new staff members in 2020, and this year we have already hired eight new people. By the end of 2021, we will easily have 20 new people on the team. We’re not just passionate about building a great website and platform to connect charity shops with consumers who care, but we also want to build a really amazing place to work and we have huge demand for the positions here.”

He says he was blown away by the response from applicants for a partner success manager position.

“It was almost impossible to start the recruitment process, we had to add two or three extra steps just to be able to get going. I find that really humbling and also really inspiring, it shows that people want companies to take on the big challenges we face, to operate at the highest ethical and moral standards and to be mission-driven. That’s the future we need”. 

Podcast interview with Rónán Ó’Dálaigh

 

ThinkBusiness.ie · Episode 30 – Rónán Ó Dálaigh

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 3 March 2021

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