Making second-hand the first choice
The Lithuanian unicorn Vinted has a very big ambition to make second-hand the first choice. In the last 13 years, the company has achieved a great deal and the start-up is the biggest player in many countries, but so much more awaits.
In 2008, Milda Mitkute was moving from Kaunas to Vilnius and realised she had too many clothes to take with her. Justas Janauskas offered to help and built a website to give away her clothes to friends. Now, not only their friends are using the Vinted platform, but so too are 38 million people around the world. Milda Mitkute tells BBQ readers more about working for the start-up, the concept of second-hand as a greener choice in fashion consumption, and her own dilemma of choosing between ethical, lower-quality clothes and long-lasting leather boots.
It is hard to imagine another big Baltic start-up that is so deeply rooted in Germany as Vinted. How did that happen?
Actually, by accident. Me and another co-founder Justas Janauskas were huge fans of CouchSurfing. Once, two German women, Sophie and Suzanne, came to his apartment to stay for a longer period, like one or two weeks. One night at 2 a.m. they came home after a party and Justas was coding. They asked what he was doing. He explained and they said: we need to have that in Germany! We didn’t have the money for that but they didn’t care because they believed it was an absolute must for Germany. So they volunteered to help. This was how we agreed.
Photo: Audrius Solominas
There are many projects that want to be on the market somewhere but only a few of them succeed. What were the reasons that helped Vinted to be so successful in Germany?
I honestly believe that a combination of luck and hard work was the key recipe for our success. The birth of the Lithuanian and German projects was very spontaneous – we expected it to be a hobby project. We never imagined it would grow into something global and SO big. It was a really lucky coincidence that we managed to meet Sophie and Suzanne and they were a perfect match. They were super passionate about this idea, just like us. Sophie and Suzanne didn’t care how many hours they spent on the project. They were so devoted and it was the same story in Lithuania – we were hungry to make an impact and create something big.
But without hard work, Vinted wouldn't exist anymore. I'm very happy to see how many people work at Vinted, how much effort and energy they put into this.