One of the best ways to lower our fashion footprint is to extend the lifespan of our clothes. But not all of us know how to mend our favourite tee or vintage trousers. Finding the right tailor and going to the shop just ends up as another chore on our never-ending to-do list. That’s why Josephine Philips made Sojo.
Sojo has been dubbed the Deliveroo of clothing repairs, making it super convenient for anyone to choose to alter, mend and fix their apparel instead of throwing them out. It essentially rids us of all excuses like “there’s no time” or “it’s too difficult”, making the sustainable choice easy.
Deliveroo of alterations
Recent university graduate Phillips came up with the idea on her own sustainable fashion journey. She was selling her preloved items on Depop and falling in love with vintage finds at the secondhand charity store. But many of these items were worn down—some had broken pockets, others were not quite the right size.
Phillips ended up collecting a whole pile of clothes that she wanted to bring to a seamstress, but never quite got round to it. That’s when the young entrepreneur decided to create an app to make repairs easy.
“What I needed was a really easy and hassle-free way for me to get my clothes altered and repaired,” she says. Soon after, Sojo was born. Available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store, the app launched in London back in January 2021, after Sojo graduated from the King’s 20 accelerator program.
How does it work?
Once users have registered on the app, they can select and order what kind of work needs to be done on their clothes—just like ordering a meal on a food delivery platform.
Then, one of Sojo’s bicycle riders will come to collect your clothes within the selected time. The rider drops it off at a local seamstress or tailor to do the repair or alteration. After it’s done, the rider will pick it up and bring it back to you at your designated location and time.
There’s a £3.99 delivery fee that comes with every order, which includes pick-up and drop-off. But Sojo, in line with its conscious branding, says it’s important to cover a reasonable wage for their riders, who get paid £9 per hour. That’s higher than the average food delivery platform, with some riders earning as little as £2 an hour.
Expansion on the horizon
While Sojo is currently only available to London residents within Zone 1 and 2, the startup is planning a “quick and rapid expansion”.
“We want to make sure we’ve worked out the kinks in the process and service first, but once we’ve done that we want to expand throughout the whole of London and then throughout other cities in the UK,” says the company.
Phillips added that she wants Sojo to be more than an app or service. For her, becoming the Deliveroo of clothing repairs is one thing, but she has ambitions to “create a space for discussion and connection”.
The startup hopes to be able to inspire more people to choose circular fashion through putting out educational content, hosting workshops, or in-person clothes swaps. It also wants to promote other fellow female-led and Black-owned businesses.
“We ultimately hope to play a key part in revolutionising people’s relationship with clothing.”
All images courtesy of Sojo.