Antonia Timpanys aim was to change the way consumers shop long before sustainability became a buzzword in the fashion industry. By attempting to make recycling fashionable since 2009, her company Timpanys an online pre-loved designer site, has grown from strength to strength.
So how did she come up with the idea? “It all started when I started thinking about how we could democratise luxury fashion. I had friends who had tired of their designer purchases and weren’t sure what to do with them and I thought one man’s trash could be another’s treasure.” she says with a smile. Although at the time, she wasn’t aware of the extent in which the fashion industry affects the environment, “I’m delighted that I chose to start a company that benefits both the consumer and the environment.” For Antonia, the environmental factor has now become a passion. “We want to encourage consumers to change their ways, whether through extending the life cycle of items through selling with us or by purchasing true investment pieces.”
Starting a business had always been a plan of Antonia’s – “I’d always been business motivated” – and her degree in Economics from Bath University helped her immensely in the start-up process. “I did everything myself in the beginning, working from home day and night to make it work.” Now, the company also has a shop located in Sunningdale and three full time employees as well as herself.
When asked about why people should consider buying pre-loved, she explains: “Now, with the current environmental situation there has never been more reasons to buy pre-loved.” And she’s right of course, with 105 million tonnes of clothing going to landfill each year, the problem has never been clearer. “We are advocates of slow fashion and encourage consumers to join our movement.”
Timpanys only stocks designer brands, with each item checked scrupulously to guarantee authenticity, “I made a decision to only sell pre-loved designer because of the quality as well as the price point.” Where a high street item may not last the test of time, designer items often do. “The craftsmanship and quality of material used by designers is what sets them apart, and means even though you’re buying pre-owned the quality is still there. We also will only sell items in good or very good condition to ensure customer satisfaction.” Not only does pre-loved often ensure high quality, it’s the price point aspect that appeals to many, “I wanted to make designer items more accessible through lowering the price as they have been pre-owned.” Whilst a brand new Chanel 2.55 bag will set you back £3,500 plus, Timpanys sells them at between £2,000 to £2,500. “Buying pre-loved is also a great opportunity to buy an out of season bag you’d been coveting and missed out on, or get your hands on a rare item for a more reasonable price.”
It’s not only bags that Timpanys sell but also clothing, shoes and accessories including sunglasses, purses and jewellery. “We started off just with bags as there is a undeniably a huge market for designer bags, but our customers kept saying we should expand and it was the right decision.” How do they acquire the items to sell? Through advertising in the local area, word of mouth and now, the exciting expansion into a London office. “We’re seeing such a steady demand for pre-loved items currently and as we rely on women in the surrounding areas wanting to sell, our stock could not keep up with demand. The new London office will mean we can be based there two days a week, hopefully gaining more items to sell from women who live in London.” The expansion in to a new area will mean Timpanys will be able to offer a wider and more varied range of product to sell, whilst also increasing clientele who wish to buy from them.
If you’re considering purchasing a pre-loved item, she recommends: “If it’s a big ticket item such as a bag, really think about it first and consider how often you’d wear it. Even though there are a few well known online only pre-loved sites, it really helps if you can see the bag first and try it on.” If it’s a timeless Chanel or Hermes you’re after, “I recommend going with a neutral colour such as black, cream, grey or nude. Although, if this is one of many designer bags, it can be fun to add a pop of colour and the bright Chanel’s are highly sought after.” Make sure that you trust the website you’re buying with, “it’s still a large amount of money to spend so ensure the item has been properly authenticated or comes with its authentication certificate.” Finally, “just because the item may be more reasonable, don’t let price sway you, it’s an investment so ensure you really love it.”
Antonia can often be found in their Sunningdale store, ready to help with assistance and advice. “There is something special about finding a pre-loved item you adore, giving something a new lease of life all whilst helping the sustainability cause.” It’s clear the pride she has for her company and the slow-fashion movement they’re championing, “I like to call it guilt free shopping,” she laughs.
Timpanys can be located at 1a-2 Broomfield Hall, Sunningdale, Ascot, SL5 0DP or online at timpanys.com.