Today we are publishing an interview with Jess Owens, the founder of Greenlist. Greenlist is peer-to-peer delivery service that helps to send the returns directly to the next purchaser, with no extra inconvenience and waiting time for customers. Act'ble team is very excited to meet the projects and talk to like-minded people, who create ideas that solve the problems. Currently Greenlist is focusing on the American market, but we hope for their expansion and possibility to collaborate one day.
Hi Jess, tell us a few words about you (background, working experience) and your startup.
Jess: Prior to launching greenlist, I worked in consulting and marketing. I helped entrepreneurs across many different industries and stages of business. Before that I worked in event planning and recruiting. I’ve always worked in creative fields and love thinking “outside the box”.
How did you come up with the idea of Greenlist?
Jess: I was shopping online when a jacket I was obsessed with sold out in my shopping cart. I called the store and asked if they could connect me to a return of the jacket because I knew it would be returned (40% of clothes bought online are returned!). The store couldn’t connect me to a return, no store does this. I set out to solve my own problem and Greenlist was born.
Did you get the jacket?:)
Jess: No! And I still want it!
Greenlist is helping to get an out-of-stock item directly from the person who wants to return the item. How does it work without a shop itself/package and return quality control?
Jess: To clarify, Greenlist isn’t just for out-of-stock items. All of our retail partners enable Greenlist across all of their products, with the exception of final sale items that cannot be returned.
In our process, we ask returning customers to verify the condition of each return - only “new with tags” merchandise is accepted into our flow. From that point, we ask customers to fold items carefully and ship them within 3 days. We incentivize this step to ensure that the next person will receive the item in perfect condition. We rely on consumers to help us out so we can bypass the shop and we thank people for doing that with our incentives.
Do you aim to change the customer behaviour in general: from consumerism to sustainable and mindful consumption? If yes, what is the plan?
Jess: A typical return is shipped back to one of three places - a store, a warehouse or a landfill. The merchandise is unwrapped, repacked in plastic then sent back out. With Greenlist, the return is instead shipped directly to another person, saving carbon emissions and packaging waste. We are asking customers to accept returns from others which is a new method with a slightly different presentation. This change does ask people to be more mindful and it allows them to actively play a role in reducing waste in the industry.
You were a part of New York Fashion Tech Lab, a premier program for women advancing tech, how was this experience for you?
Jess: NYFTLab was a phenomenal experience for us. We met great contacts at enterprise clients we want to work with in the future and we received tons of feedback on what we are building. I highly recommend the program for women in the fashtech space.
What are your future plans?
Jess: We are about to launch with our first, large-scale client Vestique. They are on Shopify so, after a successful launch, we will onboard many other Shopify clients. We will continue to grow and we will build Greenlist for clients on other e-commerce platforms such as Salesforce.
What can you recommend to startups, inspired people who would love to try to create something meaningful (start a project, test an idea)?
Jess: Surround yourself with smart, supportive people who can help you. Launching a product or testing an idea is hard enough with a team and it is next to impossible to do it alone. And, even if you have a great team and strong network, always continue to reach out to new people and take calls with strangers. You never know who will connect you to the right person to get you out of a slump or lead you to your co-founder. I constantly rely on others and the kindness of the people who have helped me has been an unexpected gift of entrepreneurship.
We are a new innovative company creating the future of dance and movement. Together with design, research, and high-level athletes, we have reinvented the centuries-old pointe shoe for dancers into the act’pointe. A sustainable, functional, and fully customizable pointe shoe that molds to the dancer’s feet to enhance performance. Our mission is to enable dancers to make a difference, elevating their performance, life, and world.