Forewillow helps women shop each other’s closetsBusiness Profiles — By Melanie McIntyre on October 5, 2012 at 8:00 am
Girls swapping clothes as they get ready for a night out is a common occurrence at colleges across the country. During her undergrad years, Christina Moser was no stranger to this ritual, but she often faced the same dilemma: seeing something she loved, but not being able to wear it because its owner wasn’t her size.
She wished she trade with any girl on campus, not just her friends. Now, with her Columbus-based startup Forewillow, she’s helping young women do just that− online.
Forewillow is “a place where girls who love fashion and want to look great, can experiment with new styles and brands without the anxiety of breaking the bank,” says Moser.
The idea is that after wearing something a few times, users can turn around and sell it on Forewillow. They simply create “bundles” to sell to each other, and every time they make a sale, they earn “pins” that can be put toward bundles from other users’ closets.
A bundle comprises all the clothing that can fit into a medium, flat-rate box from the U.S. Postal Service. The boxes are free and, as long as they can be sealed, they ship for a flat fee.
“You might be able to fit two pairs of jeans, several tops and tanks, and a dress in one box,” Moser says. “It makes cleaning out that closet fun, and gives someone else who picks your bundle the chance to get several new-to-them pieces that they love. Plus, they can always relist items into a new bundle.”
Bundles sell for a range of prices depending on brand, quality, season and size, she says. Pins are worth about 10 cents each.
Forewillow is currently in its beta stage, and is being tested by five fashion bloggers and their readers. Moser’s team is also getting feedback from three focus groups made up of female college students.
So far, their comments are helping guide a redesign of the Forewillow website that Moser says will make it more fun and engaging.
While there are already several sites that facilitate clothing swaps, they tend to have a broad audience and sellers don’t get to know each other, she says, adding that Forewillow members can create profiles that help them communicate with each other on a more personal level.
Forewillow also doesn’t require members to participate in a true swap.
“Jamie in California might like to buy from Jill in Ohio, but that doesn’t mean Jill has to buy from Jamie,” Moser explains.
To learn more about Forewillow, visit Forewillow.com.
Melanie McIntyre served as editorial director of The Metropreneur from its launch in August 2010 to May 2013. She is also a featured writer for Columbus Underground and writes about fashion, style and pop culture on her blog, Thoroughly Modern Melly. Melanie is an Ohio State University graduate, lives in the Short North, and enjoys reading and running.
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