In May 2020 we invested in ZUMI, a supply chain company that supports micro-businesses engaged in the Kenyan second-hand clothing sector. By offering cost-saving supply chain services, they increase the net income for these micro-businesses, and hence can improve the quality of life for the entrepreneurs and their families.
Across most African countries second-hand clothing, sold in markets, remains the key source for affordable clothing for a large part of the population. Second-hand clothing represents a $230 million annual market in East Africa, employing 355,000 people, and supporting the livelihoods of 1.4 million people.
ZUMI aggregates the orders of small, second-hand clothing retailers to ensure better prices from suppliers, and reduce the cost of same-day delivery. As a result, their clients enjoy discounted merchandise, free delivery, and save approximately 1 day per week normally spent in transit to and from supply markets. Initial research shows that by providing price discounts and free delivery, ZUMI can increase retailers’ monthly net income by 28%.
ZUMI also contributes to the circular economy. Increasing garment lifetimes is one of the most effective means of reducing their environmental footprint. Extending the life of clothing by an extra nine months could reduce carbon, waste and water footprints by around 20–30% each.
We are excited to work closely with ZUMI and support them in extending their impact for the micro-businesses in the sector, and further explore how they can deepen their contribution to the circular economy.