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Little Renters: Sustainable clothing for the next generation

As part of the celebration marking 100 years in the Australian market, BASF partnered with homegrown entrepreneurial community ‘One Roof’ to offer three scholarships to women looking to change the world with science or building businesses with a positive environmental impact.

In this article, we catch up with Kathrin Baumann, owner and founder of Little Renters, an innovative subscription-based rental platform for children’s clothing based in Melbourne, Victoria.

Little Renters is reshaping how we consume children's fashion by advocating for circular fashion principles. 

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Kathrin Baumann had been working in the retail tech and ecommerce industry, and learnt how much textile waste was generated by the traditional approach to buying and selling clothes, especially when it comes to kids’ clothing, as children really do grow up so fast. "It's astonishing," Kathrin begins, "to know that Australia ranks second globally in per capita clothing consumption, with an average Australian purchasing nearly 15 kg or around 56 new clothing items every year, as reported by the Australian Fashion Council! And while that sinks in, consider this: most children go through about seven clothing sizes in just their first two years. So it was apparent there has to be a more sustainable and cost-efficient approach to dressing our little ones."


This insight and seeing other successful circular business models overseas was the spark behind the concept of Little Renters, an innovative clothing rental subscription service that provides access to quality and budget-friendly children’s clothing. Parents can either sell their ‘like new’ quality children’s clothes earning money through a profit-sharing model or rent a stylish clothing bundle via a monthly subscription. Kathrin shares, “A lot of the times we receive clothing from parents that is barely worn or still has price tags on. It shows that children’s clothes are only worn a few times and proves that their live span can be extended by sharing it with other families. We accept quality brands from a ‘preferred’ list from size newborn to 5 years. We do get some limited ‘fast fashion’ brands in our offerings that are ‘like new’ and we try to ensure that they are used as long as possible. Our focus in 2024 is to partner with Australian brands to get access to their obsolete stock from previous seasons. This will create a win-win-win situation for the brands (they can still earn some revenue whilst reducing textile waste), Little Renter’s parent community (they get access to new quality clothes at affordable prices) and the planet (the obsolete stock is being re-used and doesn’t go to landfill).”


“We are very stringent when it comes to the quality, cleanliness and overall condition of the clothes we receive. Slightly more worn clothes may be earmarked as ‘playwear’, but for clothes that have reached their end-of-life, we pass them on to one of the textile recyclers who reuse, repurpose, or recycle the clothes into new useful products. This means that we’re always ensuring there is a circularity to our textiles. Our focus on sustainability goes beyond giving our children’s clothes a lifespan as long as possible. We’re really committed to ensuring sustainable operations and circularity across the board. For example, we source second-hand clothes hangers from our community, use recycled cardboard for our packaging and compostable shipping labels.” 

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Little Renters’ innovative rental model received warm reception from the parent community, yet Kathrin still deals with a range of solopreneur challenges, including navigating limited financial resources, building inventory and partnerships, evolving technology and managing day-to-day operations. She mentions, “I am juggling many roles focusing on customer service, marketing, partnerships, inventory management and technology, amongst others, it’s not easy to balance all of the demands of a small outfit like this. As a solopreneur, I am very grateful that I’ve been able to tap into the One Roof network thanks to the BASF scholarship as I’ve gotten tremendous support. Working and collaborating with experts on packaging solutions, branding, website design and SEO which I’ve incorporated into Little Renters.”

In the immediate horizon, Kathrin looks to continue elevating her brand awareness, expanding inventory and growing customers. She is also looking to branch out into other related offerings that can provide parents with sustainable and cost-effective solutions such as rental of maternity wear and occasional outfits. At this point there’s also a subscription gifting feature, which is the ideal gift for young parents, offering a thoughtful and practical solution to their ever-changing baby clothing needs. Instead of gifting just one clothing item, you can treat them to a whole wardrobe of quality clothes.

“It really brings me joy to see parents find out how easy it is to rent quality, budget-friendly and sustainable children’s clothes that matches their little ones’ needs. One great success story we’ve had was when a customer needed winter clothing for her toddler as the family was travelling to Europe for a month. Little Renters was able to provide the perfect set of clothing that would otherwise have only been used for that one month. She also had the opportunity to choose the colours and prints that perfectly complimented her little one. Better for the family, and also better for our planet!” Kathrin concludes with a smile.

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For more information on Little Renters and the services that they provide, please visit the Little Renters official website, Facebook page, Instagram page or LinkedIn page.