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Q&A: Maven’s co-founder Jane McNamara says second-hand is not second choice

by | Aug 13, 2021

Maven, the second-hand clothing brand which launched almost two years ago, has grown into a much-loved source of gently-worn clothes. Founders Jane McNamara and Teri-Fay Macduff aim to educate and inspire consumers that second-hand is not second choice. “There are thousands upon thousands of pieces of clothes which are sitting unworn, taking up space in people’s cupboards. We do not need to produce more clothing.”  Maven’s goal is to get these pieces into circulation, worn and enjoyed again.

We sent Jane (on the left of the image above) a few questions.

What do you think about fashion?

I have always loved fashion and enjoy creating different looks and styles.  For me, it is a source of creativity, allowing people to express themselves.

Initially your plan was for Maven to be a rental service. What changed your minds?

Initially we were looking at creating a rental offering but due to the complex logistics behind the rental model we chose to begin with selling a curated collection of proudly not-new clothes online.

How do you source your garments?

All of our clothes are sourced privately from people’s wardrobes. The pieces need to be in excellent condition and have something special about them. We love to find vintage pieces or unique finds from boutique brands which are unavailable ordinarily in South Africa.

Tell us about your partnership with The Clothing Bank.

Maven is a curated collection of second-hand clothes for which we pay upfront.  But many people are looking for a complete wardrobe cleanse and we find ourselves with bags of clothes. The Clothing Bank was an obvious fit for us.  It is an amazing organisation that mentors women over a two-year period to run micro-businesses. It sources clothes for the mentees to sell.

How does Maven address and reduce hyper-consumption?

I do not believe shopping second-hand encourages hyper-consumption. While shopping second-hand in South Africa is no longer a taboo and should be encouraged, we still have a way to go to completely break down the stigma of shopping second-hand. Most of our customers choose to buy second-hand as they are conscious consumers.  Also, in South Africa where we are limited in our choices, shopping second-hand gives you more options. We all need to understand the benefits of shopping second-hand.  Cheap new clothes will not last while quality second-hand pieces live on. Second-hand encourages individuality and creativity while being better for the planet and your purse.

Do you have a return policy?

Yes!  Any items can be returned should they not fit or if they are found to be not in the condition they were described.  Customers have seven days to lodge a return through the site.

Top 3 tips for making a successful online second-hand fashion purchase?

Firstly, read the description carefully.  We make an effort to describe the size and fit.  Secondly, if you know you are a size 10, don’t buy a size 8. (No, you are not going to fit into it.)  Know your size and stick with it.  Lastly, don’t delay – we only have once off pieces so if it sells we cannot find you another!  Often customers become upset because something they like sells.

What is your personal best and worst second-hand purchases?

My personal best was a long beige coat with fur trim bought at Second Time Around on Long Street years ago.  I felt like a diva from another time. My worst was a pleated twin set skirt and top.  I was pleat crazy at the time but it had way too many pleats!

Whose style do you most admire?

Jackie Burger.  Her style is effortless and only gets better with age.


  • Image credits: Supplied by Maven
  • Shop second-hand at Maven here
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