What do your pets and your kids have in common? So! Much! Stuff!
Their discarded clothes and accessories sit around your house collecting dust. You dig through your basement and find an extra collar, but you can’t give it back to them in a box when they’re in their twenties. What do you do with all that stuff?
That’s where Secondhand Pet Supply comes in, your one-stop shop for all pet necessities and non-necessities, too. The perfect place to donate your used or unwanted items and the perfect place to buy new (to you!) ones. The best part? You save the planet while doing it.
I had the privilege to meet with Michael Santiesteban, the founder of Secondhand Pet Supply, to introduce us to the world of pet thrift stores.
What happens to most unused pet supplies? How big is this problem?
Micheal: Regrettably, unused pet supplies are commonly left in storage or discarded as waste. While a lucky few items might be donated to local shelters, many others exceed these shelters’ capacities, or are simply not accepted, leaving donors to grapple with their disposal. More often than not, these items end up in the trash.
The issue of unused pet supplies is not a small one, contributing significantly to our escalating waste problem. Every year, a vast number of pet products are wasted, adding to the strain on our landfills and the environment at large.
This waste not only squanders valuable resources but also upsets ecological balance and exacerbates the broader issues of waste management. Consequently, providing sustainable solutions for managing unused pet supplies is imperative. It will help reduce our environmental footprint and encourage responsible consumption practices within the pet industry.
What is Secondhand Pet Supply?
Micheal: Secondhand Pet Supply is a curated secondhand pet supply business dedicated to fostering a circular economy within the pet care industry. We source gently used pet products like cat trees, dog crates, harnesses, and more from our local community, meticulously clean and restore them, then resell them at affordable prices. Our mission is to make pet care more sustainable and economical for pet parents, all while reducing waste and fostering a sense of community and environmental responsibility.
We provide an easy and convenient solution for customers and businesses to manage unwanted or unused pet items, whether they’re gently used, overstock, or unused returns. This not only helps to declutter their homes and warehouses but also significantly reduces waste and helps to preserve our environment.
Our commitment to making a positive impact extends to offering free pickups for donations, ensuring a seamless experience for our valued customers. Embracing the ethos of responsible consumption, Secondhand Pet Supply aims to create a community that cares deeply about pets and the environment. Together, we are making a difference, one paw at a time.
What inspired you to start Secondhand Pet Supply?
Micheal: The inspiration behind Secondhand Pet Supply was born out of a conversation with my fiancée, Brittany Sierra. We were discussing my deep-seated desire to make a substantial impact on waste reduction, given my passion for sustainable living. As we brainstormed various ideas, a revelation struck me. I’ve always had a love for pets and a keen interest in curbing waste. So, why not combine the two?
That’s when the idea of a secondhand pet store was conceived. A place where it’s easy and convenient for people to donate their used pet items. A place where these items are thoroughly cleaned and made available at affordable prices. In this way, we’re not just preventing waste in a meaningful way, but also making pet care more economical and sustainable.
What were your biggest goals when starting Secondhand Pet Supply? How did you accomplish those goals?
Micheal: Our goals are simple:
- Save you time
- Save you money
- Save the environment
We achieve these goals by delivering a hassle-free donation and sale process, offering items at a fair price that’s consistently below market value, and ensuring that products are responsibly recycled or upcycled.
Second hand clothing has been super popular lately, have you found that secondhand pet supplies were as well received?
Micheal: Absolutely! The secondhand clothing industry may have spearheaded the resale movement, but secondhand pet supplies are increasingly becoming a part of the trend, driven by both sustainability and economic benefits. But it’s also about fostering a sense of community.
When people donate or buy from Secondhand Pet Supply, they actively participate in a communal effort of responsible pet ownership and contributing to a greener future. This sense of community, in tandem with financial and environmental advantages, has fostered a positive reception for secondhand pet supplies.
Like any emerging market, there are hurdles to navigate. Ensuring sustained positive reception requires adherence to high standards of cleanliness and safety, a diverse product offering, and a smooth customer experience—all of which we proudly uphold. As long as these factors remain our priority, the popularity of secondhand pet supplies will likely keep pace with the broader trend of secondhand shopping.
How does the popularity of secondhand pet supplies impact traditional pet retailers?
Micheal: The increasing popularity of secondhand pet supplies introduces a transformative shift in the pet retail industry. Retailers that choose to embrace this resale can enhance their customer loyalty and expand their customer base. When businesses align themselves with a model like Secondhand Pet Supply, they adopt the principles of a circular economy, demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and waste prevention. This commitment acts as a powerful incentive for customers, attracting those who value environmentally conscious businesses and encouraging loyalty among existing customers.
In an era where corporate social responsibility is paramount, adopting environmentally friendly practices can signal to customers, and the broader public, a commitment to sustainability and responsible consumption. This can set a business apart from its competitors, showing that it cares not just about profit, but also about the community and the environment.
What are some of the positive impacts you’ve seen since starting Secondhand Pet Supply?
Micheal: Beyond diverting thousands of pounds of waste and offering a more affordable choice for pet parents, one incredible impact we’ve had that I didn’t think about when I started the business, is that resale for pet supplies prevents animals from ending up at a shelter. I can’t tell you the number of customers who confide that without an affordable resource like Secondhand Pet Supply, they couldn’t afford to keep their pets.
This isn’t just anecdotal evidence, either. Statistics from the American Pet Products Association (APPA) back up these stories, with 35% of pet owners expressing worry about pet-related expenses, and half even suggesting they might need to give up their pet due to financial constraints.
In this way, Secondhand Pet Supply isn’t just about sustainability and resale —it’s about safeguarding the cherished bonds between people and their pets, ensuring that financial difficulties do not force a heartbreaking separation.
We know Secondhand Pet Supply has a positive impact on the environment and reducing waste, but how does it positively impact the consumer’s experience as compared to a traditional pet supply store?
Micheal: At Secondhand Pet Supply, we’re more than just a business — we’re a thriving community. Our model is not merely about transactions; it’s about fostering strong connections between pet owners in our local area. When customers shop or donate with us, they aren’t simply engaging in a business exchange — they’re participating in a communal effort that champions responsible pet ownership and environmental sustainability.
Our product offerings mirror the diversity of our community. Shopping with Secondhand Pet Supply is akin to embarking on a treasure hunt, where one might stumble upon unique, one-of-a-kind items not typically found in other pet stores. From custom-built dog houses to quirky cat trees and unique bird cages, the array of items available provides a delightful surprise and a testament to the creativity of our community.
Lastly, while we’re enthusiastic about secondhand, we’re uncompromising when it comes to cleanliness and safety. Every item we sell is meticulously cleaned and inspected to ensure it meets our rigorous standards. At Secondhand Pet Supply, we’re proud to offer a unique and enriched consumer experience that goes beyond traditional retail, weaving together community involvement, a diverse range of products, and high safety and cleanliness standards.
What’s one thing people can do to have a positive impact re: pet supply waste?
Micheal: This is kind of cheating, but one simple but significant step individuals can take to positively impact pet supply waste is to participate in the circular economy. This means reusing, sharing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products as much as possible.
This could translate to repairing an item before deciding to replace it. Purchase only what is necessary for your pet’s health and happiness. Avoid impulsive buys and excesses that could lead to waste. Whenever possible, consider buying secondhand pet supplies, and consider donating pet supplies that are no longer needed or used.
What’s next for Secondhand Pet Supply?
Micheal: Our next major milestone is securing a storefront and warehouse space! The support from our community has been tremendous, and to meet this demand, we’re eager to transition from purely online sales to having a physical presence.
We’re also diligently working to broaden our network of local business partnerships, aiming to install more accessible donation boxes and thus, enhancing our community outreach. Finally, in our constant pursuit of sustainability, we’re planning to switch to an all-electric vehicle fleet for donation pickups, furthering our commitment to being as carbon neutral as possible.
Looking for a thrift store for pets?
Secondhand Pet Supply is a revolutionary expansion of the thrifting movement to address the previously unmanaged issue of pet-related items entering landfills. Just as donating your kids’ clothes when they outgrow them instead of throwing them away, donating used pet supplies gives them new life! Participating in the secondhand economy helps the environment, builds community, and provides affordable options to other pet owners.
Check out Secondhand Pet Supply to discover sustainable options for disposing of your used pet items or finding the affordable pet supplies you need!
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Bella Tabor is a writer at Eco-Stylist. She currently studies fashion communication at Iowa State University. Bella will be traveling to Italy this fall to continue her studies across the globe!