Online thrift and consignment store & Again was created during lockdown when founder, Wendy Quach, returned home from London and wanted to find a solution to her clothes hoarding problem.

“I'm super lazy when it comes to clearing out my wardrobe! I hoard way too much and promise myself I'll sell it online later, but I never bother. And if I wanted to consign my clothes, most stores didn't accept the brands I had so there was definitely a gap in the market,” says & Again founder Wendy Quach.

“I wanted to create a modern thrifting experience that is accessible to women all across Aotearoa, to break down the barriers and make it easy to recycle! So I combined my passion for fashion, sustainability and technology to create & Again.”

As the youngest founder – Quach is 26 years old – and newest startup in the competition, she says: “I am humbled and grateful to win Rise Up. I nearly didn’t enter so this is testament to giving things a go. I’m totally blown away.”

The Auckland based founder plans to use the $10,000 prize money on sales, marketing, warehousing and hiring staff to help her expand her business.

Audience favourite & Again was also awarded the Amazon Web Services People's Choice award.

The other Rise Up finalists were: Billie Jo Hohepa-Ropiha, founder of BDÉT; Chloe Van Dyke, co-founder of Chia Sisters; Gaelle Thieme, founder of Dust & Glow and Dr Angela Lim, co-founder of Clearhead.

Rise Up was created by Hamilton-based business growth ecosystem, Soda, to encourage, support and celebrate female entrepreneurship in Aotearoa. Five inspirational female entrepreneurs were selected from nearly 100 entrants to pitch their business to a high-profile judging panel and online audience on 23 November 2021.

“Women are heavily underrepresented in entrepreneur statistics – only 20 per cent of high growth startups in Aotearoa have a female founder. Yet every day at Soda we work with incredible female founders and business mentors, so we know first-hand that women have the talent, innovation and grit to become successful entrepreneurs,” says Soda CEO, Erin Wansbrough.

“We created Rise Up to encourage more women to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career, remove some of the barriers to starting their own business and to champion female entrepreneurship in Aotearoa,” she adds.

“All five of our Rise Up finalists have created high-quality businesses that offer sustainable and innovative solutions with the potential for significant impact in Aotearoa and globally. Soda is proud to support them on their entrepreneurial journey and already planning for Rise Up 2022!”

Rise Up is proudly sponsored by Callaghan Innovation, Wintec and Chow:Hill Architects.