Launched last June, shopping app Piktina specialises in secondhand clothing and accessories, connecting buyers and sellers to free up closets with ease while advocating for a circular economy in Vietnam.
As increasingly conscious consumers seek sustainable and affordable options, secondhand fashion is expected to grow 127 percent by 2026, potentially growing into a USD 218 billion market by then, according to a ThredUp report. In the U.S., online marketplaces are driving its growth – and in tech-savvy markets such as Southeast Asia, resale platforms like Carousell and fashion-focused Vestiaire Collective are making secondhand shopping ever more accessible.
Co-founded by chief executive officer Phuong Nguyen and chief growth officer Huyen Trinh-Thanh, Piktina, which last year secured a USD 1 million investment from venture capital firm Touchstone Partners, pledges to lead the fashion recommerce revolution in Vietnam, where the value of secondhand fashion items that can be recirculated until 2026 is estimated to be around USD 5 billion.
The app’s crisp, punchy layout, coupled with a user-friendly interface and integrated delivery, in-app payment, and customer support functions, is designed for an efficient experience for both customers and sellers.
Here, Retail in Asia speaks with Phuong Nguyen on Piktina’s mission.
RiA: In a nutshell, what is Piktina?
Nguyen: Piktina is a fashion recommerce platform that aims to connect sellers and buyers to make selling and buying secondhand fashion easy and convenient. Our goal at the end of the day is to extend fashion’s life cycle and embrace a more sustainable fashion consumption habit in Asia.
RiA: What was the impetus behind Piktina?
Nguyen: I have worked in the fashion industry for many years, so fashion has always been an important part of my life. A few years back, I co-founded a tech startup in Vietnam (ride-hailing and fintech company Be Group) and that experience has shown me what technology can do to increase efficiency and scale in retail. I wanted to combine my passion for retail fashion and technology to create something substantial and scalable. Resale is the most resource-efficient and scalable idea when it comes to sustainable fashion.
RiA: Why did you think this was an important endeavour?
Nguyen: Every year we produce over 100 billion new pieces of clothes, and 80 percent of them will end up in landfills. Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world and climate activists blame this on fast fashion brands and social media. The truth of the matter is we are all responsible for this, and we can use our purchasing power to change this. I want to use Piktina as a playground and platform for people to do that.
RiA: What have been some key milestones for the app?
Nguyen: Eight months since Piktina’s official launch in Vietnam, we have onboarded 350,000 customers and listed 200,000 items from 30,000 sellers. So far we have moved 10 tonnes of secondhand clothes, helped save 200 million litres of water and 250 tonnes of CO2. Our educational campaigns have reached millions of people with over 110 million views online and dozens of thousand participants offline. This month we have also reached first position in the shopping app category on App store.
RiA: Fashion recommerce is becoming a hot topic in the industry. Where do you see Piktina in five years?
Nguyen: I think that is because after Covid pandemic, we now realise we are a lot more connected than we thought and what we do to the environment will affect our lives sooner than later. Fashion itself is a global industry and we aim to take our solution outside of Vietnam, build the largest community in Asia to embrace sustainable fashion together and hopefully change how we design, make, purchase and use fashion. In five years? I hope Piktina will reach 100 million users by then.
RiA: How has the Vietnam market received Piktina?
Nguyen: I think the numbers speak for themselves. Beside community members, we have been very fortunate to be able to build partnerships with multiple local fashion brands, resale platforms, universities, media agencies, NGOs, and corporations to spread the idea faster. The Vietnamese government has also been very vocal about its focus on achieving net-zero by 2050, which also helps us with public awareness and adoption.
RiA: Do you have any plans to expand further into Asia?
Nguyen: Absolutely, but 2023 is the time we still want to focus on Vietnam’s market. This year we focus on product, community and partnership building.