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1:1 with Pepperlaner Stefanie Johnson

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Stefanie Johnson swapit-video-day-11In our new 1:1 series, we talk to women who are full members in our Pepperlane community about their business and how they use Pepperlane to learn, grow and solve business challenges.

Tell us about your business

SwapIt is a brick and mortar thrift store for women that revolutionizes the way you get dressed - helping you love yourself in your clothes while also reducing textile waste.

By combining second-hand clothing with upscale touches and personal styling services, SwapIt doesn't make you choose between your style, budget and most importantly your values.

I founded SwapIt as an innovative, environmentally friendly alternative to both traditional and thrift retailers - it will help you look and feel great every single day.

 
Have you always owned this business or what made you decide to start it?

Before I started SwapIt, before I was a busy mom, I was an ambitious twenty-something climbing the career ladder of a large social service non-profit in New York City.

In those days, I never cared much about what I wore, but as my responsibilities increased and involved more and more public speaking obligations and interactions with high-level donors, elected officials, and volunteers, I found myself struggling to look put together.

I decided I needed to build a wardrobe that was polished yet affordable on my modest salary.

My first customers and many of my newest ones are from Pepperlane. I love that it is a place for meaningful connection and not just networking. It's not a fly-by-night group with everyone just try to collect business cards and sell. It's about learning from, talking with and seeing familiar faces again and again to create a real meaningful bond.

Meanwhile, my organization selected me to complete a prestigious greening fellowship. I was stunned to learn that discarded clothing is one of the biggest contributors to landfill waste: The average American throws away 70 pounds of textile waste each year, and only 15% of used clothing in the U.S. gets donated or recycled. The rest goes into landfills, giving textiles one of the worst recycling rates of any reusable material.

It was hard to reconcile my need for affordable and professional looking clothes with this new knowledge of how the clothing industry impacts the environment so negatively.

What's a girl to do? The options for environmentally friendly clothing were really limited. Thrift stores are time consuming and I didn’t like the hunt. Sustainable clothing options were often too expensive for me.

We all deserve to feel great in our clothes without guilt or stress!

As a third-generation entrepreneur, I became determined to build a viable business that would help women like me who struggle to balance their values with competing priorities.

And so SwapIt was born.

 
We like to say that everyone has a journey to Pepperlane. How do you use Pepperlane as a female entrepreneur balancing business with motherhood?

Pepperlane has been an amazing resource for me. Our lives have so many moving parts and it's hard to be in charge of them all. Pepperlane has smart, talented women who can help do things I didn't even know were available to people who aren't celebrities. I have had Pepperlaners cook for my family, organize my home, digitalize my photos and more. Then there is the business side of help that you get with Pepperlane.

I have used templates, goal setting materials and of course boosts from Pepperlane.

Boosts have been a place were I test ideas, get ideas and meet other women who can help my business move forward.

My first customers and still many of my new ones are from Pepperlane. I love that it is a place for meaningful connection and not just networking. It's not a fly-by-night group with everyone just try to collect business cards and sell. It's about learning from, talking with and seeing familiar faces again and again to create a real meaningful bond.

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What do you like most about Pepperlane?

Managing everything. As a mom and solo entrepreneur I am in charge of lots of things, everything and it's all important to me. I care about my family and I care about my business and I care about myself. So Pepperlane gives me a community of women who can share and teach ideas of family life balance, how to prioritize and ways to self care. I've hired so many of them :)

 

How can someone best work with you and what is your core product offering?

Our Swap Membership is the way to shop with us. It gives you the wardrobe you want without the compromise! Eliminate the stress of shopping, by experiencing the joy of swapping. Get unlimited one to one swaps. One price tag, unlimited possibilities.

 
Where can clients learn more about you or purchase a package?

Swap Membership. $147 for the year. Only way to access the store and our personal styling services. In store only. Located in Medford, MA.

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Written by Team Pepperlane

The Pepperlane team is a group of women who are leaders, entrepreneurs and mothers.

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