Sarah Garner founded Retykle to help busy parents and reduce textile waste. Check out the secrets to her success and how her passion to create a greener future keeps her motivated.
We love entrepreneurs and small business owners at Honeycombers, which is why we’ve created Launchpad, a comprehensive digital networking platform (with IRL benefits, too) that encourages connection, business support and community. It is a privilege and pleasure to learn from so many talented and inspiring folks, so we’ve decided to share the love by interviewing some of the lovely Launchpad members. Looking for inspiration? Check out how Sarah Garner, founder of circular fashion brand, Retykle, gets it done like a boss.
How I get it done: Sarah Garner
How and why did you decide to launch your business?
I spent over 10 years climbing the corporate ladder in luxury fashion. After I became a mom, my whole perspective on my role within the industry, and my desired career path, changed. As soon as my son was a few months old, I saw how quickly everything he used became obsolete but was perfectly good to be used by another family. At the time, widespread participation in shopping secondhand was extremely low and I wanted to make it accessible, easy, and desirable. I wanted to apply my experience in the fashion industry to solving textile waste rather than perpetuating consumption.
My goal was to normalise buying secondhand by making it feel as good as shopping new, while also providing benefits to families and the environment. I’m extremely passionate about doing our part to resolve fashion-waste resulting from temporarily used items.
What’s the secret to your success?
I have a stubborn determination and I believe in my ability to tackle challenges. I firmly believe in the purpose behind our mission which keeps me highly motivated.
What’s been the biggest challenge on your journey so far?
I have successfully fundraised for Retykle and beginning the fundraising journey was quite a steep learning curve. I felt that Retykle was initially stigmatised as a ‘project’ despite our traction in the marketplace. Being a woman in the kids’ fashion industry, I had to fight against the bias of a mom starting a business as being a ‘hobby’. The more female founders share their stories, the more we perpetuate the success of female entrepreneurs and normalise the fact that a woman can be both a mother and the owner of a successful business.
What is your proudest achievement?
I feel proud of having taken an idea to fruition. And, also, that Retykle serves a larger purpose beyond the pursuit of profit and business success. Looking back at starting the company from home as a one-woman band, to having a team and community that support our mission towards achieving circularity, I feel immensely proud of all that we have accomplished together.
Launching in Singapore has been a great milestone this year, and we look forward to growing the Retykle community in Singapore and new regions over the coming years.
What does the Launchpad community mean to you?
Entrepreneurship requires a constant state of learning, and community is the lifeblood of advancing access to knowledge, network, and opportunities. I’m thrilled to join this platform as I know that this experience will be curated with content and connectivity, which will cut to the heart of what entrepreneurs need to advance their journey.
Communities are what catapult businesses and allow for knowledge and network transfers. Entrepreneurs know the hardships of each stage and have many shared experiences and learnings and can share shortcuts with others. We all share a pay-it-forward camaraderie since so many have helped each and every one of us along the way.
What’s the one thing you cannot live without?
Bedtime snuggles with my kids, which puts everything into proper perspective.
How I get it done: Lightning round
On a typical morning:
- 6:45 am – Wake up, hustle the kids to get dressed for school, and eat breakfast.
- 7:20 am – Take the kids to the bus stop for pick up.
- 7:20 to 7:50 am – Go for a run or walk by the waterfront near my place, and call a friend or family member in Canada, or listen to a podcast.
- 7:50 to 8:00 am – Have coffee and a catch up with my husband.
- 8:00 to 8:45 am – Catch up on emails and set priorities for myself, and the team, for the day ahead.
- 8:45 to 9:15 am – Get ready to go to the office.
- 9:30 am – Arrive at our Retykle Hong Kong office to start the workday.
On dealing with self-doubt and criticism: First and foremost, you need to believe in yourself to start a business – to get it off the ground and to sustain yourself in the process. To endure the ups and downs, I think it’s important to have a purpose that guides you and your business so that it feels larger than you and feels like a disservice to others if you were to give up. With purpose at the core, you will always have the guiding force of serving others. This enables you to continue putting one foot in front of the other and continue building for others.
On the hardest part about the job: There are always hundreds of competing balls in the air on any given day; sequencing time and attention to the highest priorities is an ongoing challenge.
On keeping stress levels low: If I start my day with exercise, my stress level always feels more in check. Sleeping well and exercise help to maintain and restore balance and perspective.
On staying motivated and energised: Our community of Retyklers are highly engaged and motivated to participate in circularity with us, as well as furthering their personal sustainability goals. They are enthusiastic proponents of what we do and propel us forward to do more to fulfill our mission by building the company with us through their engagement and feedback. The encouragement we get from others is what drives me and the team.
On winding down in the evening: I find putting my phone aside when I walk in the door and spending quality time with the kids the easiest way to pause the workday. I normally boot up again after they’ve gone to bed, but the pause in between is a good wind down.
On the advice you’d give your younger self: Take every opportunity to work and learn in different settings. Life is short so choose to work with good people (as you spend a lot of time at work), and choose a company that is rooted in values that align with yours.
Catch Sarah Garner at our panel discussion!
Want to learn more about building a sustainable and ethical brand that does good in the world? Join the Launchpad panel discussion on 9 February where Sarah Garner will be sharing more about her entrepreneurial journey, along with Julia Washbourne, Anushka Purohit, and Rohaan Sajnani. And we’ve got a special deal for Honeycombers’ readers! Although it normally costs $580 to register to attend a Launchpad event for non-members, the first 30 Honeycombers readers can join the panel discussion for FREE with the discount code readytolaunch. Register now!
Launchpad is a comprehensive digital networking platform (with IRL benefits, too) that encourages connection, business support and community. It is designed to make the entrepreneurial journey not only easier, and more successful, but also a whole lot more fun. The platform offers almost daily activities for members to connect, along with regular masterclasses, member networking roulette, small-business mentoring and media profiles on Honeycombers.