thredUP, one of the world's largest online resale platforms for women’s and kids’ apparel, shoes, and accessories, went public at the end of March 2021, putting its commitment to helping consumers save money, while protecting the environment, front and center in the deal.
For years, the fashion industry’s “take, make and dispose” model has made it one of the dirtiest industries. It is responsible for more greenhouse gas and waste in terms of water, labor, landfill and materials than most other industries.1 thredUP aims to change that.
Our team wakes up every day working hard to deliver a compelling consumer experience in a sustainable way. Not only are we inspired to build a great business, but we are doing good in the world.
James Reinhart, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, thredUP
By making it easy to buy and sell secondhand, thredUP inspires consumers to “think secondhand first”, offering top brands at significantly reduced prices through its marketplace.
thredUP’s custom-built logistics, visual recognition capabilities, millions of data points and sophisticated algorithms work together to create a cost-effective and streamlined process for quality control, inventory management and pricing. Its proprietary technology also enables the company to continue growing its operations efficiently.
The positive impact thredUP has in terms of sustainability is undeniable when consumers switch from buying new to buying secondhand, with remarkable savings in emissions, energy and water. And that’s on top of saving buyers $3.3 billion off of estimated retail prices.2
thredUP’s environmental impact
Source: thredUP company records
Note: Estimates based on consumers switching from buying new to buying secondhand from thredUP.
The thredUP management team decided the best way to further scale the company’s mission would be to go public. It began a search for like-minded investment banking partners who deeply understood thredUP’s sustainable business model and potential trajectory for future growth.
Empowering thredUP’s sustainable growth
Barclays was well positioned to support thredUP’s initial public offering (IPO). Barclays’ Sustainable & Impact Banking team, launched in 2017, focuses exclusively on providing strategic advice and financing solutions for sustainable companies and investors, while its Technology Banking team provides deep expertise in scaling digitally-led business models like thredUP’s.
To demonstrate how deeply thredUP’s commitment to sustainability runs, the company worked with Barclays to include a dedicated section in its IPO offering document about its environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts. thredUP is the first US company to do this3, which sent a strong signal to potential investors.
Having a standalone ESG section within its IPO offering document proves that sustainability is in the company’s DNA. Its inclusion demonstrates how thredUP is ushering in a more sustainable future for the fashion industry. ESG goals and measurement are fundamental to thredUP’s business and corporate purpose.
Jed Lynch, Head of Americas, Sustainable & Impact Banking
In the ESG section of its IPO prospectus, thredUP clearly outlined how it is fighting fashion waste and its commitment to operating sustainably, including:
Saving, on average, 17.4 pounds of CO2 emissions, 122.5 Mj of energy and 77.4 gallons of water for each item sold through the marketplace.4
Responsible reporting of direct and indirect emissions from its own facilities or within its value chain.
Actively seeking out opportunities to decrease its environmental impact while also improving operations and lowering operating expenses.
Allocating $500,000 from the proceeds of the IPO to start a policy arm that helps curb the disposable fashion crisis.
thredUP plans to use a portion of its IPO proceeds to expand its purpose-built warehouses and grow into new categories. thredUP will also make its Resale-as-a-Service® (RaaS®) technology available to additional big-brand, global fashion retailers to allow them to offer resale services to their own customers. Through initiatives like these, thredUP hopes to change how consumers shop and usher in a more sustainable future for the fashion industry.
1 Source: Company Form S-1 filed with the US SEC on 3 March 2021
2 Source: thredUP company estimates
3 Source: SEC Filings, Dealogic. Note: U.S. SEC Registered IPOs ($100mm+) between 1/1/16 and 3/17/21; excludes SPACs/BCC and CLEFs