Meet the woman changing the way we shop for kid's clothes. Here, she talks about managing a start up, her time, her wardrobe and her life as a mother of two.
With over a decade of working for the likes of Lane Crawford, Shanghai Tang and LVMH under her belt, Sarah Garner knows luxury fashion better than most. And now, with her new business, Retykle, up and running full speed ahead, she's also an expert when it comes to pre-loved luxury clothes for children.
"I was inspired to start the business when a friend gave me a few large bags of luxury hand me downs when I was pregnant with my son. I felt indebted to her for her generosity and gave her gift cards for what I felt was the equivalent resale value so that she could use the money towards buying bigger sizes for her children. From there, I decided I wanted to create a new retail model that would improve life for parents like myself in Hong Kong. I also wanted to do something that married well with my life as a new mother."
Retykle is a clever buying and re-selling platform for parents with children and babies. It gives families access to beautiful designs from all the most coveted baby brands at accessible prices – all while doing a little bit of good for the planet by extending the lifecycle of quality kid's clothes. For Sarah, getting it off the ground was in a large part down to her ability to connect with a wider community of entrepreneurs and learn off them. "The best advice I can give women looking to start their own businesses is that there have been so many great lessons along the way. Too many to list, but I managed to avoid a lot of mistakes with the help of a generous community of contacts and friends, paired with loads of research. Soak up the wisdom of others and then try to pay it forward once you have your own kernels to share." She's also adamant that it's not something you can do solo - even at beginnng, boot-strapped stages. "Getting from idea stage to launch is the hardest part. It takes a village, so be sure that your village is there to support you. Start a team from day one. At the very least, hire an ambitious intern so that you can free up some of your precious time to focus on the things that matter to your business growth. It's easy to get caught in a spiral of doing it all and not getting anywhere at all."
Keeping it balanced is all about routine in Sarah's life both at home and work as she juggles Retykle with being a mother of two. "My tips for work-life balance are sticking to a routine. That helps everyone in my family feel at ease. I leave and return at virtually the same time every day so that the rhythm of the day feels predictable to my kids. I do my very best to spend focused time with them in the morning and before bed so I leave my distracting phone out of reach. I aim to have on and off time in both zones. I'm not productive if I'm partially working or partially with the kids so I build borders to protect both." Here, she talks us through her life lessons, style tips and kernals of career advice.
I worked in luxury fashion for more than a decade and wanted to use that experience for something that felt more fulfilling and purpose driven than the churn of the traditional fashion cycle. I also wanted to do something that married well with my life as a new mother.
It's never going to be static. That's the beauty and the challenge of a virtual shop vs a physical shop. It's not 'right' the first time. You need to prepare to iterate from the beginning. It's important to build up your team and resources to allow for changes to be made often in response to data and customer feedback. Listening to both will help guide good decision making when it comes to site changes. Visitors speak to you in clicks rather than comments so you need to pay very close attention to what they're saying about their experience.
If you don't have a founder community, seek wisdom from founders who share their stories publicly. There are incredible podcasts out there which are never ending fountains of inspiration and advice - How I Built This, Masters of Scale and many many more!
the paste-free wallpaper we bought from Anthropologie for our son Henry's bedroom and for our entryway. It's easy to remove: it just peels off when you're ready to move, which makes it perfect for rental units.
Traditional lists. I have a personal and a work to-do list running at all times in order of priority. They live in my cloud notes so that they're always on hand. Otherwise, I just make sure to keep my calendar up to date. Nothing fancy, just the basics.
that it is the first online luxury consignment shop for kids in Asia. The beauty of the curation is that the parents who sell at Retykle shop the best brands from here and around the world and then share them with other families. We have the largest assortment of high end kids brands available in Hong Kong at the lowest prices coupled with the benefit of a lighter environmental footprint. My favourite pieces on Retykle right now are all things girl, because I've just had a baby girl. On my wish list is a blue Stella McCartney coat, white Chloe dress, pink Burberry jacket and pale pink Bonton top.
a strong Marc Jacobs collection dress that has taken me to a few important meetings. I always wear black structured pieces. I think the clothes you wear convey a message about how you want to be perceived and that dress makes me feel in step with how I wish to be seen.
Muji black mesh bags in different sizes to keep everything organised. And Bliss' Triple Oxygen Instant Energising Foaming Mask. I wouldn’t normally bring a large size product in my toiletries, but this one makes the cut because it works so well for rejuvenating tired skin.
an Otis Batterbee eye mask. I haven't slept a night without one since my husband first gifted it to me three years ago. They're filled with lavender and seem to help with getting a good night sleep.
Nay Palad (formerly Dedon Island Resort), in the Philippines. It was an exquisite experience from start to finish. It felt like a home you never wanted to leave. The staff were wonderful with our son and though not overtly marketed to families, they made sure that it was a relaxing stay for us and fun and welcoming for our son at every turn.
Joseph Li. He custom-designed my wedding dress, which I will forever cherish and be grateful for. There are also plenty of incredible homegrown luxury kids brands here in Hong Kong. I particularly love Velveteen, Atelier Child and Little Mercerie.
these sneakers by Veja. They'd be great for every day, and very comfortable, too.