U of I student runs clothes swap business

Local News

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — A student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is running an environmentally-friendly clothing business that has a lot to offer.

Mona Fang is the CEO and founder of Karma Trade. She is a junior majoring in aerospace engineering and a certified yoga instructor.

According to Mona, Karma Trade is a circular clothes swap platform that allows people to trade clothing items using a digital currency called “karma points.” It currently has an in-person location in downtown Urbana. At the moment, there are about 17,000 clothing items in stock. 

People can come to the store and buy secondhand clothes at an inexpensive price like other thrift stores. On top of that, customers who bring in used clothing items to trade can receive points, allowing them to deduct an amount of money from the price of the items that they want to purchase from Karma Trade. Each karma point equals $1.

Mona said when she was a kid, she had to clean out her closets very often because she moved to different cities every year. The process of constantly having to get rid of old clothes in order to get new ones has inspired Mona to start a clothing business where people can trade clothing items with one another. Hence, Karma Trade was born. 

The idea is to keep old clothing items in circulation, allowing fewer pieces to become waste.

“We really need this as a global solution,” said Mona.

“This creates a circular economy based on secondhand clothes consumer exchanges, enabling us to not have to produce and dispose of the items that we consume.”

When talking about some advice that she can give to other youngsters who want to start their local businesses, Mona stated, “You don’t necessarily need to look at what is going on currently, what is nearby or what you see is happening, as the model, because you can also create things that never existed before. Everyone has the power to do that.”

“If you really believe in the mission and the vision of something that you really want to build, you should hold onto it,” said Mona. “I think no challenge is too great to surpass.”

People can check out the products and services that Karma Trade has at their store at 129 North Race Street or on their website. Anyone interested in getting involved with the business can send a message to Karma Trade’s Facebook page.

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