Publisher's Note: We first published this interview in April 2019. Anne continues to support affordable options for children's clothing. In honor of #secondhandseptember, we are republishing for our local readers.
"I want to make shopping second-hand just as easy as buying from the high street." - Anne Anthony
I am meeting Anne at "The Hub", a co-working and event space in Palma's Calle Caro, on one of those glorious Mallorcan spring afternoons that are among the reasons why we Expats love this island. The sun is bathing the large front room with its all-glass façade in a golden light as she blows in from the street like a spring breeze – petite, dynamic and all smiles.
May I introduce … #
Anne Anthony is the founder of Halo Preloved, a retail business for second-hand kids' clothes offering top quality, pre-loved children's clothes and accessories at a fraction of their original prices.
How did the idea for your business come about?
As a mum of three I was often frustrated that there wasn't a more sustainable and economical way to buy and sell my children's quality clothes other than the time consuming and often disappointing process of selling and purchasing of individual items via sites such as eBay or similar. Somehow, I always waited for someone to come up with a business like this, but it never happened...
And so you did it yourself?
[Laughs] Yes. In November 2018, I launched the Halo Preloved website with the aim to make shopping for second-hand clothes as easy and as pleasurable as purchasing from your usual outlets at a fraction of the original prices whilst also providing an assurance that each item has been individually checked for condition and quality. I take great care to make sure all the clothing we sell is clearly categorised and any small defects highlighted on the sale page.
Halo Preloved is not only about money, though…
No. Sustainability is also a key factor that drives us. We feel being part of a circular economy is an important part to acting more responsibly for our children. This circular motive is one of the reason I chose "halo" as a company name [smiles].
We all need to think more about the concept of using less. It’s amazing to think about how many of us get swept away in the environmentally damaging allure of fast fashion which contributes to making the fashion industry the second biggest industry polluter in the world! Extending the life of an individual item of clothing by nine months reduces its carbon and water footprint by twenty to thirty percent! So, it's something we should all aim to do as much as possible. We have to lower our carbon footprint. For me, living in an eco-friendly way is all about the little steps that work in your everyday life – that will make a real difference! Your children see what you are doing and pass it on…
Forgive me if I play the devil's advocate here – doesn't selling second-hand kids' clothes take away from young parents what would normally have been passed on for free from friends or family?
No, not at all. I'm not trying to take away from people to pass on things to their friends or family– or to charity shops. I reach out to parents who have a collection of clothes and accessories outgrown by their children they would like to pass on to a new family but also make some return on their initial investment, at the same time avoiding the time-consuming and often frustrating experience of selling individual items independently online.
One of my future plans is, if we grow enough, to create a charity section within the website to collect children's things from people who don't need the money and to donate the proceeds to a good cause. We do this in a very limited way already on our website. Click "Halo Love" and you'll see.
Is the internet your only retail platform, Anne?
No. Of course, the Halo Preloved web shop is an important sales outlet, but once a month I also set up a pop-up shop. Flash retailing is something you see a lot of places like London or LA, or Berlin, but that's still missing on Mallorca - to use locations available for a limited amount of time – anything from a day to a month – to open a temporary retail space. It's a wonderful, affordable alternative to selling your clothes online. People want to walk into a shop and feel they walk into a shop. Especially when it comes to second-hand, people have to see and feel the quality! For me this is a key in educating the public.
What I personally find a bit off-putting with second-hand is the way it is presented - I feel overwhelmed sometimes when there are too many things offered in too tight a space …
It's true, you might easily feel turned-off if too much is on offer. What's important is to sort out the clothes by season and go for the key pieces to showcase them. And the presentation should be as pure and clean as possible. I take care to always use a white background when taking the photographs for the web shop. And in my pop-up shops, for example, I put everything on identical white hangers to create a sense of uniformity.
To come back to the aspect of sustainability, one more question, Anne: Around the globe, young people have started a massive wave of protest against the ongoing destruction of world climate following the example of 16-year old Greta Thunberg from Sweden…
Yes, it's incredible! To me, this is the obvious way of going on about it. Sometimes I think the young must educate the grown-ups! My children are real environmentalists. They are concerned about the state of our planets. For example, they recently saw at school a documentary regarding the effect of Palm Oil cultivation, particularly on the lives of orangutans. Since then have insisted that we shop for items, where possible, that don’t use Palm Oil in their production, they were even prepared to give up their favorite weekend treat of Nutella!
Who is the woman behind Halo Preloved?
[Laughs] She's very much a mum – trying to do the balance. My husband and I had just got married when he received his job offer at TUI and we decided to go on this adventure and make the move to Mallorca. When we arrived on the island I was six months pregnant with my first child, so I didn't go on working. Then, after 12 years of being a full-time Mum I was ready to get back into work. However, it was important to me that it didn’t overly effect my time with my children which is very precious. My old work at a creative agency in London that specialised in the entertainment industry was very exciting and one I loved but at the same time was very demanding time wise. I wanted to start something new on the island that would allow me flexibility as well as being challenging and fulfilling. With Halo I am working a lot of hours a day but I can fit them around my children and their many activities which suits us all.
May I ask where are you from originally
From Scotland. (Laughs) Although you don't hear it from my accent. I have lived in London for many years.
And in Mallorca? How did you find "your place" here on the island?
We live in Santa Maria. Initially, we wanted to rent a property, then driving around looking for the right place we saw this house to buy and fell in love with it. It was central, the school was down the road. Santa Maria is a lovely town! We were actually quite lucky. It works very well as a location. People are lovely here. There was only one thing, maybe. [Laughs] As a young mum, when I went down to the playground, I found myself among all the grandparents who were there with the children. All the Spanish mums were at work. That was a bit hard in the beginning.
Over the years Mallorca has become something long-term, it's about good friends, about having a support network. I find that so special, there is no family here, but the community you build up is what makes this island a very special place. I would be devastated if I had to go back now. [Smiles] But on the other hand it would also upset me if I'd never be able to leave as there is always a bit of my heart back in Scotland.
And in business? How did you get started?
I had toyed for a long time with my idea for the selling and buying of quality second-hand clothes and then last summer I decided to just sit down and do it so I began to create the website. Once that was completed to get me started back in the business world again after a long time away I found it was important to reach out for help. I first booked a few workshops at the Hub and went to meetings there. I also met Chloe of Pink Flamingo Marketing who works closely with small businesses – she was a very valuable contact for me here in Mallorca and one that I would highly recommend. There are also great groups such as MyMuyBueno Women in Business and Girl Gone International that all look to support women starting their own businesses on the island.
Speaking of which - what is your most memorable experience on the Island?
[Thinks for a while] There are so many things … Maybe it's this: A really good friend from University – we had almost lost contact for a while… Well, he got cancer, and for the last five years he has been coming over every summer. He loves the island so much, and for me, seeing it all through his eyes, that is so special. As much as I love Scotland – the grey skies can bring the spirit down. In Mallorca the sky is almost always blue, and that really helps to regenerate.
Is there a message you want to give to other people who are thinking of moving here?
It all depends on what stage of life different people are in. Pre-children, Mallorca must be fabulous with all the sports and nightlife and city culture it offers. If you have young children it might be difficult in the beginning, although today the social media make it much easier. You just have to join a Facebook group saying "I'm a young mum. I'm new on the island" - and you, get invited in.
Definitely, Mallorca is a different culture though. It is an island after all. It's their heritage, their life, and has been for generations and generations – it's hard to fully become a part of that. The language, the culture, things are different – but once you are here, you want to stay.
And here comes my last special question for you: What is your spirit animal?
[Laughs] A dolphin. As a child I competed nationally as a diver, and also, I'm a bit of a speed junkie. To fly through the water …. I love water, and I love the agility of dolphins.
Name: Anne Anthony
Nationality: (Born in) Scottish
Lives in: Santa Maria
Profession: Sustainability Kids' Fashion Entrepreneur
Signature phrase: Reuse, Recycle, Relove!
Por Ulla Rahn-Huber
18 septiembre, 2020