We sat down with Harriet Noy, the founder of Hazaar, a zero-waste marketplace platform aimed at university students who want to rehome unwanted goods.
Why did you set up Hazaar?
I was in my second year at university, and my friends and I found ourselves always Amazon Prime-ing our sports night costumes. We realised this was costing us a fortune, and also harming the environment. But the themes for the teams often rotated from club to club, so what I needed one week, another team had needed the week before, so actually I could just buy the costume from another student.
I realised this went beyond sports night costumes and students faced the same issue for textbooks, household items and also clothes.
When I looked further into it, I found that students were passionate about sustainability but often didn’t behave in the most sustainable way. I found this is because they were constrained by cost, convenience and accessibility. Sustainable alternatives are often expensive and not convenient or easy to get hold of. Hazaar aims to break down these barriers to sustainability, making the most sustainable option the cheapest and most convenient.
What impact has Hazaar made to reducing climate emissions so far and what are your ongoing aims?
So far we have saved upwards of 4,000 items from landfill. This includes clothes, household items, costumes and much more.
Hazaar is a completely no postage marketplace. This means that every sale on Hazaar has a positive impact as there has been no wasteful packaging or travel miles involved with purchases. We hold monthly car boot sales for students to buy & sell their pre-loved items.
We are expanding from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester this year so hoping that expansion will mean our positive environmental impact increases.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
I love building meaningful relationships. I particularly love leading a team of amazing people. Everyone in the team is so motivated and passionate about what we are trying to do at Hazaar- it is amazing. We employ lots of students too, for example we have a Head of Hazaar in each city and a team of ambassadors, and where possible we also work with students for projects. For example, if we need a videographer we try and find film students so that we can give people an opportunity to grow their CV and experience!
What’s your vision for a more sustainable fashion industry in coming next years?
I hope people will look at what they already own before buying new. If people are buying new, we should think ‘will I wear this 30 times’ and if the answer is no, put it down and walk away. I hope there is a shift away from fast fashion and people realise we need to chill out on all of the quick trends and buy well and once.
I think fast fashion industries need to be more heavily regulated too. A lot of the change needs to come from the top in order to create serious change.
Why do you think contributing to the circular economy is so important? Especially for university students?
It’s our planet we’re destroying, we’re silly if we don’t contribute to it. It’s lovely wearing something that's been passed down to you - you’re having fun wearing it and so have a few people before you, what’s wrong with that?!
University students are the future. We have the power to create a positive change but that will only happen if we group together and as a generation inspire that change.
For those buying new clothing, how can they do so sustainably?
Live by the 30 wears rule. Only buy something if you think you will wear it 30 times. If you won’t then it’s a waste. There are so many clothes rental platforms now so if you want a gorgeous dress your birthday night out - look to rent!