Just yesterday we brought you the story of a new social e-commerce platform centered around the newest and latest fashions. With Ann Arbor startup HangTrend you can see the latest styles, talk about them with your friends and even purchase them direct from the designer. HangTrend is about the hot new clothes.
NY startup ClosetDash is about the buying, selling and swapping of gently used clothes. Face it there are tons of clothes in most people’s closets that they’ll never actually wear out in public again. For whatever reason, that great dress, or pair of slacks is hanging in the closet .Wouldn’t it be great if you could easily sell them, or swap them?
What if you’re looking for a way to affordably outfit a new wardrobe. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could go through someone else’s closet and find your next great outfit? Well with ClosetDash you can.
ClosetDash was created by Jennifer Lee, for exactly those things. The concept sounds a lot like Australian Y-Combinator startup 99dresses sans the virtual currency model (which in most cases is actually better).
Jennifer Lee goes into detail about how ClosetDash works in the interview below, but it’s basically this, you upload your closet and open it up to the ClosetDash community. You can sell clothes, swap clothes and buy clothes to put in your virtual ClosetDash closet and your actual closet at home.
Check out our interview with Lee below:
What is ClosetDash?
ClosetDash is the social way to sell, swap or donate your stuff! Create a Closet, fill it with photos, and start trading! ClosetDash puts the fun back into second-hand markets by making it easy to list your items, showcase them and get offers. Features like Graffiti (similar to FB Newsfeed), comments on items, and “Wants” encourage users to interact with each other while also promoting their items. ClosetDash also features a Donation section where users can donate their items to one of our non-profit partners.
Following the success of ClosetDash’s swap parties held around NYC, we’ve recently created a spinoff company called ClosetDash Shop which focuses purely on shopping and swapping brand-name women’s apparel, bags and shoes. People can find our spinoff at closetdashshop.com and starting on 9/15 a brick and mortar shop in the heart of Union Square, dedicated solely to shopping and swapping!
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
ClosetDash was founded by Jennifer Lee who worked for 7+ years in the financial services industry within research, sales and trading. Most recently the Emerging Markets Asia Rates Trader at a large bulge-bracket firm with P&L averaging $2mm per annum. She has a BA from UC Berkeley and MBA from Columbia Business School where she received the Heffernan Award for Service
Where are you based?
ClosetDash is based out of New York City, with a brand new office and shop located in the heart of Union Square
What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?
There’s a reason NYC has been called Silicon Valley East; it’s one of the most supportive and collaborative places to have a startup. Everyone is supportive here, from the government (Bloomberg’s administration has gone out of their way to help out the tech entrepreneurs) to the various and diverse industries all found here (finance, retail, advertising, food, etc). No matter what sector a tech entrepreneur is looking to tackle, they will be able to find the best of the best in that industry right here in NYC to collaborate with, find mentors with, or partner with.
How did you come up with the idea for ClosetDash?
ClosetDash came out of my frustration when after each move I had (I’m a vet now after 7 moves in 2 years), I always faced the inevitable question of What to do with all that extra stuff I didn’t need?? Like everyone else, I always defaulted to Craigslist or eBay to try to get rid of my stuff but found the chance of finding a cool, reliable buyer was 50/50 (kind of like the chances of a great first date!). I also hated the fact that my listings got buried in the piles of listings out there. So I began asking people I knew if they needed my stuff and to my surprise found tons of positive responses. A total win win because I got rid of my stuff while making my friends and acquaintances happy! So I thought why isn’t there a more interactive resale site out there that lets me share items with my friends and networks? And that’s when ClosetDash was born..
What problem does ClosetDash solve?
ClosetDash fills the holes that eBay and Craigslist have currently, while solving a lot of the pains people have with both sites. When I created ClosetDash I wanted one word to be the driver of the site…simplicity. Everything from adding items to your closet, searching for items, and donating items are all made as simple and easy as possible. I also wanted the site to have a more neighborly feel versus eBay and Craigslist, with a nicer UX.
ClosetDash Shop takes the thrifting experience one step further by letting people swap and shop the items they love in a classy environment. The ClosetDash Shopper loves to swap, loves bargins, and loves quality items.
What’s your secret sauce?
Listen to your customers and follow what their demands are. Move quickly and efficiently. Find amazing people to work with you who you know you can trust.
What’s one dilemma you’ve encountered in the startup process?
Lacking the tech knowledge, it’s been a difficult process finding a good CTO, and in general good technical talent. There are, unfortunately, some scam artists out there preying on hopeful entrepreneurs within the tech world with little tech knowledge. When I was looking for a technical cofounder, I met someone at a meetup who seemed to be genuine and onboard with my idea. Turned out he was working on 6 other projects and ended up offloading my project onto an offshore team, leaving me to do much of the coordination and project management (and staying up all night for weeks!). He made off with a significant amount of my money without doing much work. Luckily since then I found a great tech lead who has led the charge on all technical aspects of the site. I’ve also beefed up on my own programming skills and built out ClosetDash Shop (with the help of Shopify) on my own.
What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?
Being from the finance world, I needed to dive in to the tech world quickly and efficiently in order to get ClosetDash off the ground. It was a lot of networking and learning in the beginning in order to assemble a team that could help me develop ClosetDash. I went to every roundtable and meetup possible to learn more about the tech world in NYC. I also started to learn basic coding (HTML/Java) in order to understand somewhat what was going on and how not to sound like a moron speaking to my tech guys. It was a fun and exciting process, but tiring!
What’s the first thing you would do for ClosetDash with a one million dollar investment?
Revamp ClosetDash Shop to incorporate a flash-sale type application where people can create and hold their own swap parties online. We’d also expand our brick and mortar shop to a bigger location.
What’s next for ClosetDash?
I can picture us pivoting towards the ClosetDash Shop model where people can come to our store and shop and swap their items. People will be able to continue the fun online through our shop, where we eventually want to develop a flash-sale type application where people can create and hold their own swap parties online
Check out ClosetDash here
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