From Used Goods to the Greater Good, with Julie Kearns, Junket: Tossed & Found

Junket: Tossed & Found creates easy access to high-quality used goods.

Julie Kearns, Junket: Tossed & Found

Julie Kearns, Junket: Tossed & Found

Julie Kearns was the mother of a 3-month-old when her husband left. Julie describes the impact, “Between pregnancy weight, not eating, divorce diet, all of that stuff, I lost about 50 pounds in six months.” As the weight fell off, she needed clothing that she could wear to her corporate job. Her little girl was growing and needed new clothes. Not only had she lost weight, but she had also lost half of her household income.

Julie created multiple streams of income. She rented out a room in her home on Airbnb. She picked up her real estate license. She went to the Goodwill outlet and bought clothing by the pound, then took her old clothing to consignment. “It didn’t occur to me,” she says, “that this was the beginning of a business.” One of the shirts that sold at the consignment shop was an item she had purchased from Goodwill. The shirt sold for $10. Her share of the money was $5. Julie realized that, by buying used clothes by the pound, she had only paid 50 cents for the shirt. That was a profit of $4.50, or a 900% return. “That became a glimmer of hope for me. My goal was not to save the world. My goal was to be a mom first.”

That ah-ha moment led her to sell items on eBay, and from her garage. Julie eventually found a way to leave her job in a corporation and to resell used items full-time. This gave her the flexibility to focus on her daughter’s needs. However, about six months into her new life, she began to wonder if there weren’t a greater purpose to her work.

Julie’s work exposed her to the volumes of waste from our consumer economy, fueled by planned obsolescence. She saw how, as a society, we have a flawed understanding of secondhand goods. In a moment, her understanding of her work shifted. “I found myself sitting on the floor of my basement, surrounded by all of these clothes. It was exhausting, and it felt stupid. It was what I thought I wanted. But, I realized, if I don’t find a way to make this meaningful, if I don’t find a way to add value, if all this is, is selling more crap, I can’t do it. I can’t run a business that doesn’t fit with my view of how things should be.”

Julie saw the opportunity to create ease of access for high-quality used goods. She knew that this would be a valuable service for conscious consumers. This work aligned with the greater need to reduce the voluminous waste stream and protect the earth’s precious resources. She committed to growing the business, aligned with a greater need. “I just didn’t realize what it was going to turn into.”

A little more than four years ago, Julie opened a shop, Junket: Tossed & Found. They carry secondhand and vintage items. They also sell unique art created by local artisans from a material that otherwise would have made its way to the landfill. Junket: Tossed & Found is a true social enterprise. They source from non-profits and community organizations. They donate excess inventory to charitable organizations. Julie was a founding member of the Impact Hub, Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP).

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Julie Kearns

“Choosing products that already exist, instead of buying new ones, is a legitimate, concrete solution to climate change.”

“We think of climate change as something that is happening to us. It’s the factories. It’s the trucks. It’s the airplanes. But we are the ones who are driving that demand.”

“I’m not a big fan of cheesy wall art.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Recycling is an industrial process.” @juliejunket, @shopjunket”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“I didn’t know social enterprise existed.” @juliejunket, @shopjunket”]

“It was the gigantic funnel of crap we were throwing away.”

“As a society, we have a flawed understanding of secondhand goods.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“What feeds you is this sense of purpose.” @juliejunket, @shopjunket”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“I’m living in alignment with the world I want to see.” @juliejunket, @shopjunket”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“I had a plan.” @juliejunket, @shopjunket”]

“I got myself ready before the jumping-off point.”

“That made all the difference. That gave me my runway.”

“It has to be something you enjoy enough to start as a side gig.”

“[spp-tweet tweet=”Have a plan. Have a backup plan. And have a plan behind that.” @juliejunket, @shopjunket”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Be optimistic, but be prepared for worst-case scenarios.” @juliejunket, @shopjunket”]

“Be prepared to hustle. Hustle, hustle, hustle.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Seriously consider reuse.” @juliejunket, @shopjunket”]

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

 

About the Author
Tony Loyd is a TEDx speaker, podcast host and the author of Crazy Good Advice: 10 Lessons Learned from 150 Leading Social Entrepreneurs. He is a former Fortune 500 executive with extensive experience in strategic planning, talent management, and leadership development. Tony is the host of the podcast Social Entrepreneur where you can hear the stories of changemakers who are making an impact on the world.

What do you think? Tell me here.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.