Tracy DiNunzio, who founded Recycled Bride, is launching her latest venture, Tradesy, today. The site offers women a way to maximize and profit from their wardrobes in a simplified format. DiNunzio was inspired to found the peer-to-peer resale site, she explained, because “we’re all being advertised to, and we’re all traipsing to the mall and opening our wallet. Yet the average woman wears 20% of her wardrobe. We’re overspending to compete, when we should be coordinating with each other and celebrating each others’ style.”
Of course, engineering that coordination is easier said than done, so what DiNunzio set out to do was create a web and mobile platform that makes it possible to list an item for sale in less than a minute, for free. (The site takes a 9% commission when something is actually sold.) Shipping is simple, because the cost is included in every sale, and Tradesy sends a prepaid shipping kit to sellers. Furthermore, Tradesy is the only peer-to-peer online marketplace that accepts returns.
DiNunzio herself is a notably successful entrepreneur in a crowded field. She founded Recycled Bride two and a half years ago, which is when she wanted to start Tradesy — “but because I had no tech experience, I had to prove myself first, and that was easier launching into a niche with Recycled Bride.” The site was profitable within a year.
DiNunzio taught herself both coding and SEO. When asked what it’s like to be a woman in the male-dominated start-up field, she says, “It’s been interesting. I didn’t start in any particular world, I started on my own. The first two years were me and my laptop seven days a week. I didn’t have a sense of what it would be like trying to raise money and talking about technology. I built so much traction before I ever went out and started meeting with industry people. There were so many meetings where I was the only woman there. But by the time I got in those rooms, with potential investors, I already had a profitable business, which is a rarity.”
With an inherent eco-friendly side (“whether they care about it or not, by using the site, customers are doing something sustainable,” DiNunzio points out) and $1.5 million in Series A funding from backers like Rincon Venture Partners and 500 Startups (co-founded by Dany Levy, who started DailyCandy) Tradesy could upend eBay in the arena of online fashion resale. Just to start, there’s better quality control. The screening process is fairly stringent: “With certain designers, whom we know have labels with identifying details, we ask you to photograph them to demonstrate authenticity. Interns are constantly manually policing the site. It’s not so much that there are things you can’t list, but all items have to be honestly represented by sellers. If anything is damaged, it has to be stated. If there are returns based on misrepresentation, that seller is typically banned,” DiNunzio explains.
Perhaps even more important than easy shipping and a simplified listing process, the prices are accurate. A selling algorithm that updates in real time provides potential sellers with suggested prices for their items, based on how other products, price points, colors, and seasons are selling. DiNunzio also notes that the data the algorithm culls will be useful to see which items from a woman’s closet, in general, are assets. Meanwhile, though it won’t be featured until about a week after the launch, Tradesy will offer functions that let members “follow” other women who share their sizes and/or taste.
With a dual focus on simplicity and customer service, Tradesy could be the site that alleviates the cliche of the overstuffed closet with “nothing to wear.” DiNunzio’s goal probably speaks to most consumers, particularly at this point in time: “I would rather see other women get fashion that makes them feel confident without having to go into debt.”