Kita: Building A World That Shops Sustainably

Sunway alumni and Kita founder, Teoh Wei Ean, said that the idea for Kita came to her when he stumbled on a thrift store on Instagram.

“I saw a cute shirt. I want it so I clicked on it, only to be boldly greeted by the caption that says ‘Sold Out’. I continued to scroll, click, ‘Sold Out.’ Oh cute! Only available size XS. Cute shirt! Please be available, please. Sold Out.”

Wei Ean then went to work to find out if everyone had the same issue.

“I created up a simple qualitative Google Form and sent it out. In just one week, I had received 76 responses, filling my heart with joy.”

The responses ranged from “I’ve been dreaming about an app like this” to ““Your concept is something the Malaysia thrifting scene definitely needs! Sustainable fashion is currently a big trend in Malaysia and I honestly feel like it will only get bigger over the years thus your idea and your platform would be of great help to sellers as well as thrift lovers to ease and enhance the whole shopping experience!” to “Love the concept of this idea! I believe this platform can encourage and educate people to advocate slow & sustainable fashion!”

“It was evident to me that the sellers deserve a streamlined e-commerce platform. Preloved fashion should be as easily accessible as fast fashion and everyone in the community deserves a special, tailored platform, made especially for them as fashion should not be at the expense of our planet.”

With the mission to embark on this adventure to make Kita come true, Wei Ean started his hunt to assemble the right team. He had pitched Kita to people around him.

“When I see that the idea ignites something in them, I know that they’re the right people,” he said.

Kita aims to be a social commerce platform for sustainable fashion and reduce fabric waste.

Every one of Kita’s members has their own traits and skills that they bring to the table. Davin Lee works with Wei Ean to work on the business side of things, while Un Kai Wen and Tan Jiajun focuses on the tech side of things.

Wei Ean explained, “I come from an e-commerce background, and have started dabbling in Instagram commerce, since I was 13. I started participating in the sustainable fashion community since two years ago, and is passionate about making an impact in this community.

“Kai Wen is a driven computer science graduate. A quick learner, he is fast at picking up things, and he is always ready to look for solutions and act on them when anything arises.”

“Davin also has an e-commerce background too, specifically in the sneaker industry. He understands the workings of ecommerce well, straightforward with things, and speaks up about anything that doesn’t feel right.”

“Jiajun is a skilled computer science graduate too. He thinks thoroughly and holistically about our approaches and makes sure we are on the right track for tech. Jiajun loves pistachio ice cream.”

So here’s Kami. Nice to meet Kamu,” he quipped.

The team at Kita said that the LaunchX experience had helped propel Kita to the next level.

“We were privileged to receive honest and constructive feedback from our mentor, DHL Express Malaysia Head of Business Transformation, Liew HunNi. Her profound wisdom and extensive experience in the industry helped us gain different perspectives for our case, and gave us thoughts to chew on for us to work our ideas to an higher level.”

“Besides Ms HunNi, I would say the whole LaunchX experience iLabs Foundry’s Jia Qi, Hui Yan, and Karen are the MVPs for putting this together. They have opened up so many doors of opportunities for us and created an ecosystem of young entrepreneurs so that we can inspire each other, support each other, and grow together. I can’t wait to see other teams alongside Kita – Opack, Hypollect, Greenbox, Homies, make a positive impact in this world.”

“Kita wouldn’t have been where Kita is without Jessie Chong. Since Day-0, Jessie has been by Kita’s side giving us her benevolent support each step along our way.”

“She is a superwoman who believes in the impossible. Everything is possible if we put our minds and hearts to it. It is her entrepreneurial spirit that she carries everywhere with her that has ignited inspiration in so many, and is is her faith in us that encourages us to brave through challenges and make our vision a reality.”

Jiajun said that the team would love to work with “everyone’s favourite mall,” Sunway Pyramid, to hold an annual thrifting festival.

“It will be a great opportunity to hold annual thrifting festivals in Malaysian’s favourite mall – Sunway Pyramid! The goal will be to bring light to the issues that fast fashion brings, as well as celebrate the wonderful community who loves fashion and sustainability.”

Ultimately, the team at Kita aims to see a world that shops for fashion sustainably.

“I would like to see a world that shops sustainably as their first choice. Fast fashion is harming and wearing out the Earth, fast. The scariest part is, we are not completely aware of how much damage it has done. It is time we stop and think about our clothes, where it comes from, and where it goes,” said Jiajun.

“Preloved clothes are not as abundant and accessible as fast fashion yet. I hope Kita is able to change this, to close the gap in the market, to catalyse the growth in this secondhand fashion sector, to cultivate a community, and eventually an entire population, a mindful population that shops preloved, as the norm.

For other students aspiring to be entrepreneurs, Wei An says, “Go for it. 9 out of 10 startups fail. But 10 out of 10 you fail yourself right now if you don’t go for it.”

Kita is still taking baby steps towards our first step into the world. In a years’ time, we see Kita making its first few marks in the world, serving as a platform to help secondhand clothing get re-loved, providing convenience to sellers and accessibility to buyers, and saving secondhand clothing out from the landfills, one piece at a time. In five years, we hope that all Malaysians will be using Kita to shop for their clothing and that shopping for preloved clothes will be as common as shopping for fast fashion.”

The team is looking to collaborate fashion labels to recoup their off-season fabric to be upcycled into new, unique pieces to be re-loved. They are will also be looking for investors in their courageous venture.

“We hope that investors will see investing in us as investing in the future – a future which has sustainable fashion in it. A future of fashion that does not cost the Earth.”


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