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The global clothing resale industry exploded from a blip in 2009 to a $7-billion market 10 years later and is projected to hit $20 billion this year. In the short term, that bump may have been thanks in part to the pandemic—during which stir-crazy Americans became obsessed with Marie Kondo-ing their homes—but its long-term growth owes more to the rising consumer awareness of climate change, especially since the fashion industry has such a notoriously massive carbon footprint. 

Mercari is one of the key resale marketplaces riding that wave of growth. In this episode, Quartz CEO Zach Seward talks to the company’s US CEO John Lagerling about the nuances of running a business whose positive impact on the environment is a major selling point, but not at the core of what it does. 

Mercari doesn’t talk much about sustainability at all, in fact—its marketing revolves around the emotional impact of letting go of old things, imagining the joy they can bring to others, and making extra cash in the process. 

Mercari’s audience, says Lagerling, already implicitly understands that these activities are good for the planet; he wants to convince them they can be good for the soul, too.

Read more: This Japanese flea market app hopes that Americans will tire of Craigslist

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