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Meet Kara Richardson of Create + Restore in South Oak Cliff

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kara Richardson.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have come to realize that although my mom and I founded Create + Restore in 2013, it has taken six years to develop into the business that it’s becoming today. Amazing, isn’t it? The idea for C+R came in 2013 while redecorating my son’s room. We had lots of vision, but with a small budget, we had to use some creativity. I added a fresh coat of paint, re-purposed furniture we already had, and shopped for both new and second-hand pieces at local thrift stores. What we created was a great room with great style that didn’t break the bank. We decided that was something everyone deserved.

Create + Restore started as a home decorating service, so the transition to selling vintage happened naturally. Truthfully, I was finding more cool vintage pieces that we were getting decorating clients! During my shopping trips, I started to become more conscious of how much excess our culture lives with. After all, going to estate sales and thrift stores every week will allow you see how much stuff people hold on to. And unfortunately, not all of those items end up sold. It was then that I decided that C+R needed to be a part of a solution that allowed great used items to get a second life instead of ending up in landfills and negatively affecting our environment. We started off selling vintage home décor, then moved into selling vintage clothing and accessories. Now, we up-cycle items, recycle fabrics to make new pieces and create beautifully hand-sketched artwork.

Has it been a smooth road?
Nothing worth doing is ever smooth or easy. When I started Create + Restore, I went into it with rose-colored glasses on. I thought, “I’m going make tons of money,” and that was not the case. Truthfully, it would be so much easier to work for someone else. But experience has taught me that a successful entrepreneur sets up a business that’s filled with both passion and purpose and that can make a sustainable profit. That urge to do something that would make a difference in the world was what kept me in business! I took a lot of time away from C+R to discover our ‘why’. I stopped trying to do too much and I quit taking on assignments that were unfulfilling. I discovered my passion point when I started reading about how much textile waste the fashion industry produces and the plight of the garment worker. And I recreated our business model, choosing to focus on ways to make every element of C+R something that would benefit the world and the people living in it.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Create + Restore story. Tell us more about the business.
Did you know:
– The clothing industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, #2 only to the oil industry.
– The fashion industry generates 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse emissions every year, more than the amount created by international flights and maritime shipping combined.
– Eleven million tons of clothing are thrown away every year, mostly non-biodegradable items. One garbage truck’s worth of textile waste is dumped or incinerated every second.

Create + Restore sells vintage, handmade and up-cycled clothing, accessories and home décor. We find opportunities to connect style, sustainability, and affordability through reuse, recycling and carefully sourcing the materials we use. We also use blog posts, social media, and pop-up events to empower women and their families to curate wardrobes and homes that give back to their environments.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
There has always been a market for secondhand goods and over the next five years, the market is expected to see 2x’s growth. More and more people are questioning their consumption and how their items are being produced. There is an increasing number of businesses that are focusing on sustainability and making sure that what is being created is produced fairly and ethically. And I don’t see that ending. The more we become aware of how waste affects us, the more we will strive to improve the conditions in which our goods are made. Create + Restore is prepping to be a part of the growth of sustainability in the fashion industry, with our continued focus on reuse and our fabric recycling program, which will allow people to donate some of our more polluting pieces, like jeans and synthetic fabrics, for discounts on our site. We are also developing an apprenticeship program that will help local women (and eventually the world) learn skills like sewing and design using our recycled fabrics, all while building their experiences with us.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Tarae Maye

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