Startup Tradesy is trying to solve a problem other fashion resale marketplaces have long been trying to tackle: helping women easily sell clothes they don’t wear anymore, and giving them a place to buy quality secondhand goods. The startup launched today to provide an alternative to selling at consignment stores or on online platforms like eBay. As part of today’s launch, the company is also announcing that it has raised $1.5 million in Series A funding from investors including Rincon Venture Partners, 500 Startups founder Dave McClure, and DailyCandy founder Dany Levy.
Tradesy founder Tracy DiNunzio is also the founder of RecycledBride, which has been used by over six million brides. DiNunzio said she founded RecycledBride with the goal of extending it to all women’s fashion categories, and it was inspired by the idea that the average woman wears 20 percent of her clothing 80 percent of the time, something DiNunzio experienced personally.
There are a variety of other startups tackling the fashion resale space, from infinite closet 99 Dresses, which lets women trade their clothes using the site’s virtual currency, to Twice’s consignment marketplace, which lets women send in all the clothes they don’t want, with Twice taking care of photographing, posting, and selling the items, with a percentage going to the seller. Not to mention sites like eBay, HipSwap, Copious and Craigslist that aren’t solely focused on women’s fashion.
DiNunzio said they’re looking to differentiate in four key areas. “What we learned with RecycledBride is that there are four major pain points for online fashion marketplaces,” DiNunzio said, namely listing, shipping, returning items, and trust. She said Tradesy’s listing process takes less than a minute, since users can snap 1-4 photos of the item using the iPhone app, and add details including designer, size, original price, selling price, and condition. Then Tradesy cleans up the images, taking out the background and resizing them so they have a more professional feel than marketplaces like eBay.
When someone purchases an item, Tradesy holds the funds, and through a partnership with USPS sends the seller a shipping kit in the mail, which has a prepaid envelope with the buyer’s address. Shipping costs are included in each listing, so buyers know up front how much they’ll pay for an item. Tradesy takes nine percent commission from each sale – in comparison, Twice pays out 25-35 percent of an item’s value to sellers up front, and HipSwap charges a 3.5 percent transaction fee.
When it comes to returning items, if it’s due to the fact that it didn’t fit or the buyer just changed their mind, Tradesy accepts returns rather than sending items back to the seller. The buyer gets a Tradesy credit which they can use towards future purchases, and the item is put back into the marketplace. If the item was damaged or misrepresented, buyers get a full refund, and Tradesy deals directly with sellers, either getting the money back or eating the cost of the return. In terms of making sure items are represented correctly, the site will be launching a set of seller verification features, including ratings and reviews and verification via social networks.
DiNunzio was accepted to startup accelerator Launchpad LA, and said she will be using the funding to scale the team to 15 people. Though there are a lot of competitors in the space, DiNunzio has traction with a successful bridal resale marketplace under her belt, a company that was profitable in its first year. Apart from key differentiators like how they process returns and ship items, DiNunzio also said they’ll take a different approach to populating the marketplace, focusing on individuals rather than power sellers or merchants. “We are vehemently focused on serving the needs of the individual woman, because we believe that’s the key to solving the real problem that exists.”