Lifestyle

Threadflip gets more social to sell billions of dollars hiding in women’s closets

American women have $50 billion worth of unworn clothing in their closets. Online thrift store Threadflip released a major update today to help put those forsaken garments to use.

Threadflip is a resale marketplace for women’s clothes. Women list clothes they no longer want on the site and peruse to find and buy items from other women, at far lower than retail costs. The company said engagement is “up and climbing” — more than 40 percent of buyers are becoming repeat buyers, and 60 percent of sellers are becoming repeat sellers. Thirty percent of women who post clothing from their closets purchase from others. Active sellers are making thousands of dollars a month.

As the community grew, so did the need to help women find items that were right for them. The new version puts a much greater emphasis on Threadflip’s social aspect and includes personalization features to help users “cut through the clutter.”

“Commerce is evolving to be focused on people — what we like, what’s important to us — with an experience that is tailored to each of our unique personalities and tastes,” said Anand IyerThreadflip’s head of product to VentureBeat. “For the last couple of months, our team has been working on further developing ways to support the kinds of things women in our community have already been doing naturally — engaging with other users, learning about each other’s tastes and then making purchasing decisions.”

The site now includes a style quiz to match customers up with those who have similar taste in fashion. You can specify brands and designers you love and receive notifications when a seller posts a relevant item. Threadflip 2.0 also features a customized news feed with updates from women you follow. While testing the personalization features, Threadflip saw an average of 6,000 to 8,000 new daily follows. The company said 50,000 follow relationships are created everyday.

Threadflip is at the intersection of a couple major trends happening in the technology world right now. It is part of the “sharing economy,” where people can make money from their underutilized assets and/or time. With this sector, fashion “re-commerce” has taken off as sites like Threadflip, Poshmark, and TheRealReal make it easier (and more fun) to sell used clothing online. This latest update also speaks to a shift toward “social e-commerce,” where your friends and personal preferences are factored into the online shopping experience. Looking for clothing online isn’t just about search anymore. Advancements in social networking and “big data” mean that we can be presented with things we are liable to like, rather than proactively seeking them out.

Mobile commerce is also beginning to take off, and since Threadflip relaunched its mobile app earlier this year, it has seen 600 percent growth in revenue. Mobile now makes up 50 percent of overall revenue and 80 percent of daily new listings are coming from the app.

Threadflip is based in San Francisco. It has raised $8.1 million in seed funding from First Round Capital, Baseline Ventures, with participation from Dave Morin, Forerunner Ventures, Greylock Discovery Fund, and Andreessen Horowitz Seed Fund.

In a blog post titled “The economics of a woman’s closet,” Threadlfip cited statistics from the Bureau of Labor that show that women spend around $3,400 a year on clothing and apparel. The company also ran a survey of its own which round that the average woman has 90 items in her closet, and 50 percent of those items go unworn. My personal closet is a perfect example of this — for every garment I regularly wear, there is an item gathering dust somewhere in the back. I just can’t bring myself to give up that Mickey Mouse sweatshirt.

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