Got a bunch of stuff hanging in your closet you’re no longer thrilled with? Well, the Los Angeles-based marketplace Tradesy wants to help you out–and the company has just raised a $1.5 million round to do just that. Participants include Rincon Venture Partners, 500 Startups’ Dave McClure, DailyCandy founder Dany Levy, Daher Capital, Bee Partners, Double M Capital and Launchpad LA.
The site is the second project from Tracy DiNunzio, who previously started RecycledBride, a marketplace for wedding-related resale. But she wanted to do something broader all along, she told Betabeat.
About three years ago, Ms. DiNunzio explained, she looked at her and her friends’ closets and thought what a waste it was everyone was wearing just a slice of their wardrobe and shelling out too much money for new clothing, when someone else would likely be happy to take it off their hands.
Nowadays, Tradesy isn’t the only marketplace attempting to crack fashion resale. Here in New York, for example, there’s Material World and The Cools, just to name two. But at the time, she didn’t find her resale options particularly exciting. “Ebay was very complicated and confusing,” she said, noting that women make 85 percent of consumer purchases online and yet constitute only 47 percent of Ebay users. (Her team has since done studies suggesting it takes the average woman something like 35 minutes to create an Ebay account and post their first listing on the auction site.) Hauling one’s unwanted clothing to a consignment shop is even less appealing, especially given the minuscule payout.
Hence, the idea of a peer-to-peer clothing resale marketplace.
That was a bit broad for Ms. DiNunzio’s capabilities, however: “I had no background in technology, I had no experience–I was actually an artist,” she explained. “The only thing I knew how to do was write an email.” Advisors suggested she test the waters by launching a niche vertical first, so she built RecycledBride, which Ms. DiNunzio says is now the world’s largest wedding marketplace.
With the site up, she was able to collect the data and feedback to build Tradesy and get it funded.
Asked about the challenges of building the general interest Tradesy versus the niche RecycledBride, Ms. DiNunzio laughed and admitted, “Honestly, it’s much easier because I have a team and money now.” But she also granted that, “The woman who’s selling or buying a wedding dress is willing to invest more time and effort in the process.”
“In the fashion space, this is really about creating convenience,” she added. Hence her team’s biggest challenge is taking what they’ve build for RecycledBride and “improving upon it for speed, ease and trust and security.”
That’s far from the team’s only challenge, however. Tradesy also aims to provide Zappos-like customer service, including handling all shipping and fulfillment–meaning scaling is likely to be a bit tricky. Perhaps that’s why Ms. DiNunzio is so delighted to have the new advisors:
“The money’s great, but it’s also the value of the experience and the advice that we’re getting from all these investors that’s really exciting,” she said.