How Moo Like a Monkey’s conscious co-founders are creating a more circular economy

Naveed and Charlotte Khan

Sustainable childrenswear independent Moo Like a Monkey has introduced a new pre-loved clothing initiative to help bolster its greener retailing efforts. Shoppers can exchange outgrown children’s clothes from the retailer’s approved list of brands – even if they weren’t purchased there – in return for store credit. The clothing is then being merchandised in a dedicated room at its Canterbury store and sold on to shoppers for affordable price points. Here co-owner Charlotte Khan reveals how the MooCycle scheme works and why she thinks it might help increase in-store footfall…

What is MooCycle and how does it work?

MooCycle is a circular initiative recently launched by Moo Like a Monkey. We take back past purchases from our customers in exchange for store credit once their children have outgrown them. We sell these pre-loved items at an affordable price alongside our new clothes, books, and toys. 

Why is creating a more circular fashion economy important to you as a business owner?

Our business focuses on showcasing brands that offer quality kids’ products without harming the planet. We prioritise stocking items designed to last for years, child after child. By facilitating the circular aspect of slow fashion, we practice what we preach and uphold our promise to stock durable items. We’ve always been mindful of the impact of our inventory and advocate for how slow fashion benefits everyone, as well as the planet.

Inside Moo Like a Monkey

What about for the wider world? Do you hope to see this idea replicated elsewhere?

 Absolutely. It’s encouraging to witness other shops and brands implementing their own recycling, repair, or buyback initiatives; it’s becoming the norm in retail, and the more, the better.

How have your customers reacted to MooCycle so far?

The response has been excellent; our customers have always been loyal, but this adds a sense of community. We feel we’re building a relationship based on trust and collaboration with our core customer base. People can now effectively ‘rent’ clothes as their children grow. They can purchase new items from us, knowing that in a few months or years, they can earn store credit to update their wardrobe as their children grow. Alternatively, we offer a great selection of low-priced, high-quality clothes that are constantly changing. We’ve carefully curated the shop since 2018, and people have come to trust in our choices. As MooCycle is a buyback scheme, it continues that curation into our pre-loved offerings by taking back brands we’ve stocked in the past or simply brands we love. 

What sort of pre-loved pieces can shoppers find at the store?

Shoppers can find any item from every brand we’ve stocked since opening in 2018, whether it’s been purchased from us or not, along with some other high-quality brands we love. Everything is ethically made from organic fabric, bright, colourful, and free from gender stereotypes. We have clothes for newborns up to 14-year-olds. Soon, we hope to start buying back and selling toys and other items too.

Do you sell them online too?

Not yet, we’re keeping it simple for now. 

Naveed and Charlotte with their children

What has been your main motivation for launching MooCycle, and how do you hope it will grow in the future?

Our business survived the pandemic and the years following by evolving and responding quickly to what customers need. We know our retail model needs to be nuanced and proactive. Spending is down, and everything costs more. We hope MooCycle will bring in additional footfall without the need to spend cash on launching a new range with new stock. We wanted to reach a wider customer base; everyone loves great quality organic kids’ clothes, but not everyone can afford to pay the full price. I’m not sure how the future of MooCycle will look. It has a life of its own, as we don’t have control over how much stock we’ll have available to sell at any point. It may remain as a small, affordable offering alongside our main retail model, or it could expand and become a larger part of what we do.