In case you haven’t heard, Y Combinator Demo Day is this week’s conference for the latest batch of hot new startups to present their products and try to make their voices heard. Of the 65 businesses that showed on March 27, 99dresses, a clothing swap startup by a 20-year-old founder, is beginning to make rounds.
The concept of 99dresses is simple: Girls (or guys, we’re not discriminating) who have dresses they’ve only worn once and don’t need or want them anymore can upload the pictures to the site. 99dresses will edit and place the pictures in their “infinite closet,” or the online store. When another person buys the item, you will receive Buttons as rewards and can use them to buy someone else’s listed clothes. If you need more Buttons, you can also buy one for a dollar each in case you’re just a few Buttons below the cost of the item you really want. Shipping is not included, but sellers are responsible for their own postage when someone purchases their items. With the sites quickly gaining momentum, new items are added everyday by those who are joining, so expect the range of dresses to be diverse and ready for spring and summer seasons.
Like the name suggests, 99dresses is currently only selling one category of apparel because dresses are easy, one-off pieces that people usually only wear a few times. As the company expands, it hopes to add other types of clothes, such as tops, bottoms, and accessories.
In the infinite closet shopping store, you can filter your search result by size. Most of the dresses are also in a mid-range budget, so don’t expect to find bargain on high fashion, designer pieces on the site. From an initial sorting through the infinite closet, dresses range anywhere between 6 to 150 Buttons. If you buy a dress and it arrives in a different condition than the seller advertised, you can contact 99dresses to get a refund in a Buttons currency, and you can report the seller to get things sorted out. 99dresses is a free service and does not charge any fees or commission.
Nikki Durkin, 99dresses’ young co-founder, aims for the site to appeal to a college female demographic since they are more likely to shop on a budget and are willing to trade in clothes for a somewhat new fashion item. According to Business Insider, the startup first launched in Australia. In its first four months, 4,500 dresses were uploaded and 3,500 were sold through the site. Durkin said her inspiration behind 99dresses came from when she attended an all-girls boarding school where she and her friends often swapped clothes with friends and roommates.
What do you think about this clothing swap idea? It sure seems easier than throwing them on Craigslist or eBay, but perhaps not for those who are looking to just clean out their closets without gaining another item back.
You can check out the promotional video for 99dresses below.