Grief helped dad start sustainable clothes business

How a dad (and entrepreneur) turned a devastating experience into something wonderful for parents and the planet.

cress sustainable clothes platform


Buying your children clothes to attend a grandparent’s funeral is not something anyone wants to think about, but Carl Morris found himself in that situation when his father died last year.

The last thing he wanted to do was go shopping, but the cost of buying outfits his two daughters (Elsie and Autumn) would never wear again was a bitter pill to swallow, in more ways than one.

The whole experience had a profound impact on Morris – he began researching clothes waste and was deeply saddened by the statistics he came across.

In the UK alone, 350,000 tonnes of clothing ends up in landfill each year. Parents spend an average of £526.56 on clothing per child per year and a baby will wear ten sizes in their first year alone. Million of pounds is spent on children’s clothes that will only ever be worn once (with common reasons including beach holidays, weddings, Christmas and fancy dress). An estimated £183m of kids’ clothing is sitting in the back of UK wardrobes

As a father, Morris was unable to let these thoughts rest and when his partner Katherine was diagnosed with cancer, he became even more determined to protect his family’s future.

With his partner undergoing treatment, Morris stepped back from his busy hospitality business to spend time with family and began taking a closer look at the pre-loved clothing industry.

He found that whilst consumer interest in pre-loved fashion is growing, the second-hand clothing market still has huge hurdles to clear – the benefit to the planet is obvious, but for time-starved parents, convenience is missing. The sector has been slow to adapt, with outdated pre-loved platforms requiring users to photograph, upload, sell and post their items themselves. Price negotiations and pick-up arrangements on local groups can also be painful and, as a result, recycling clothing is simply too much of a hassle for a lot of parents.

Morris uncovered a genuine, unmet need for a simple and stress-free way to shop (and sell) pre-loved clothing and, with the help of his business associates and investors, he launched a brand new pre-loved clothing site called Cress.

It’s specifically for parents who want to buy or sell quality pre-loved kid’s clothing and, as well as making it easy for users to navigate their way through various different occasions, the ‘Golden Service’ option enables busy parents to simply send a bag of clothes to Cress – and they will do the rest (photographing, uploading, selling and posting items on their behalf).

“This is just the beginning for Cress, but we’re here to build a strong community that will work together to help families and the world we live in,” says Morris. “Each tonne of new clothing equals 22 tonnes of greenhouse gas. This needs to change. What’s more, the average cost of raising a child in the UK is £11,250 per year. One in three parents can’t afford to have another child and 29% of children are living in poverty. This needs to change too.”

“We estimate that just one bin bag of unwanted clothing could reach £500 and parents can make up to £1000 tax free each year with a second-hand side hustle,” he adds. “The need is great, but there is hope and through Cress, we will continue to look for ways to support families when they need it the most.”

Read more:

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