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Stitching Together Sustainability: Green Seam’s Revolutionary Fashion Business Model

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Tulane chapter.

We all have our favorite thrift store. Maybe it is Buffalo Exchange, Goodwill, or a local shop where you can always find the cutest stuff. Perhaps you visit an online vendor like Poshmark or Depop, where clothing items are meticulously organized by brand, color, size, and condition. Shopping secondhand is not only sustainable, but much cheaper than purchasing something brand new. Buying secondhand is fun…but selling secondhand is much harder to navigate. In the current secondhand world, your item has no guarantee of being sold and no guarantee of you getting paid. Even if it does get sold, you may not get the full amount you believed the item was worth.

That’s where companies like GreenSeam come in. Entrepreneur and Tulane alumna Justyna Przytula created GreenSeam, a pioneering sustainable fashion resale company focused on buying and selling high-end brands. I sat down with her to learn how a young, successful, and entrepreneurial woman got her start as the CEO of this innovative startup.

Justyna graduated in the fall of 2020 from Tulane with both a Master’s in Accounting and a Bachelor’s in Finance and Management. When it comes to the classes that helped her most as an entrepreneur, Justyna cites a well-rounded list of accounting, finance, marketing, and legal studies as all important classes and electives that helped her develop her entrepreneurial skills. But her key resource came from a program Tulane offers, known as the “Executive in Residence.” Justyna met with Executive in Residence Chip Register, who put her in contact with the New Orleans Startup Fund and the robust startup community in the city.

It is easy to see why the startup community excitedly jumped at the chance to invest in Justyna’s proposition. What makes GreeSeam special is that the service defies the traditional assumptions of secondhand and consignment shopping. Instead of waiting until an item sells to pay the consignor like traditional consignment shops, GreenSeam pays you upfront within 24 hours of placing your items in the drop-off box. That way, GreenSeam bears the responsibility of making sure the item sells so the company can recoup its cost while already satisfying the client who sold their clothes and accessories to GreenSeam. Students and anyone in surrounding university areas gather any clothes they no longer want, drop them off in compostable bags in Greenseam’s dropboxes, and wait for GreenSeam to do its magic and make them an irrefutable offer for either cash or GreenSeam store credit.

While GreenSeam is in the market for luxury brands like Hermes, Moncler, and LoveShackFancy, GreenSeam will still make offers for any brand of clothing in good condition. The customer then can either choose to accept the offer, donate the clothing, or reject the offer and pick up the clothes or get them shipped to their location for an additional fee.

Justyna’s need for sustainability fuels her mission. Fast fashion is one of the largest polluters in the world. That is another important distinction from traditional consignment models. Regardless of what you decide to do with your clothes once they are dropped off in GreenSeam’s drop-off box, for every item bought by Greenseam or sold on their website results in a tree being planted and keeping GreenSeam a carbon-negative corporation. Initiatives like these carbon-negative goals, compostable bags, planting trees, and reducing the need for resource-intense production of clothing are the cornerstone of revolutionizing the fashion industry.

Operations for the company have just started. GreenSeam’s first drop-off box is in the basement of the student center at Tulane University, but the company hopes to expand to other universities around the nation and other high-traffic locations like upscale supermarkets and shopping malls.

And that vision is certainly in GreenSeam’s future. As a woman in business, Justyna is fighting gender gaps. In 2019, only 2.2% of venture capital funding was awarded to women-founded businesses. But in fashion retail companies, half of the CEOs are female. Despite the challenges, Justyna finds support through her investors and the start-up community. Her advice for college women looking to become their own entrepreneurs?

“Just do it…you’re young, so you have a lot of times to fail” before you find the idea that will change your life.

Make sure to follow @greenseamtulane on Instagram and visit their website, greenseamco.com, to learn more about their initiatives and to check out great steals on your favorite luxury brands! And keep an eye out for trailblazer Justyna’s favorite fashion trends—tiered skirts and pastel colors. Happy (sustainable) shopping!

Hannah Ellis

Tulane '22

Tulane Senior majoring in Latin American Studies and Finance.