Free Online Fashion Trading Platform
Young Kiwi Entrepreneur Launches Free Online Fashion Trading Platform
31 January 2017 – The latest New Zealand buy and sell online trading platform, for all things fashion, is poised to become an international success literally just weeks after its soft launch. Fashbae is a website that allows users to buy and sell pre-loved clothing for men, women, children and babies without incurring a listing or success fee. Founded by New Zealander Bridget Thackwray, she says her focus was initially creating the platform exclusively for Kiwis, but it has potential for country-specific sites to be rolled out internationally.
The unique aspect of the site is that it is aimed at tackling the risks and hassles often encountered when buying and selling on other platforms, such as scamming, social media bullying, issues around payment, and problems with usability. Thackwray says Fashbae allows members to purchase with confidence thanks to Safepay, while sellers know their payment will be received immediately.
“The site is ideal for anyone who is looking to clear their closet for some new purchases, wanting to make some extra cash, create their own business selling online, or for those who simply don’t have time to head out to the shops. Members can browse a wide range of categories from sports gear, designer items, baby clothes and wedding dresses to cologne and jewellery. The site doesn’t take a commission on sales, nor does it charge a listing fee.”
With her focus and drive it's no surprise that at only 23 years of age, Thackwray backpacked across the globe while spending time living in London for over four years, all whilst working remotely on her website development business.
"Supporting myself financially since I left home at 17, I totally understand the importance of budgeting and how to survive in the modern world. The reality is selling clothes is a great way to make some extra cash or support your shopping habits."
Knowing the importance of networking and commercial experience, she convinced prominent New Zealand businessman Eric Watson to mentor her.
“I did know Eric but that almost made it harder to present to him and his team in London as the last time he’d seen me I was a young dorky teenager living in Northland. It was important to me to present a solid business case that would ensure I could learn from his business and entrepreneurial experience and particularly his understanding of fashion through his involvement with Bendon.”
Thackwray says she was confident she was onto something with Fashbae but achieving 30,000 active users, within a few weeks of it going live, was proof she’d found a gap in the market.
“Eric taught me the importance of focusing on what the end user actually wants. Research was vital as it confirmed my hunch that buying and selling on certain online platforms came with risks. Specifically, the research showed that buyers and sellers were worried about not receiving items following payment, or sales falling through if buyers weren’t serious about making the purchase or worse still bullying. To succeed Fashbae had to be a site that would eliminate these issues and importantly had a zero tolerance for online bullying.”
Mentoring is something Watson highly recommends, describing it as a win-win.
“It was evident from that first presentation that Bridget was highly knowledgeable, motivated and passionate about Fashbae but what surprised me was just how much I would learn from her particularly about millennial buying habits. That’s when I decided to also become an investor.” But Watson says it was Thackwray’s understanding of site-usability that blew him away.
“Because of her knowledge, Bridget’s actually developed a platform that has huge applications, which is why I asked Petrina Advisors to become involved. So, what’s started out for Bridget as an exclusively New Zealand offering will now become global. She’s is a great example of how hard work and perseverance pays off.”
Sam Watson, Business Development Analyst and Associate Director at Petrina Advisors in New York, a company that works closely with Cullen Investments and other family offices, is working with Fashbae to raise additional capital and take the company to the next level.
“We are constantly looking for technology investments that have the potential to be scaled globally. Bridget has developed a platform that has significant capability particularly across different retail sectors. We are currently undergoing a capital raise. In total, we are looking to raise US$1 million, and not surprisingly the initial response has been very positive with US $500k already confirmed. My goal is to make Fashbae the primary trading platform for fashion within New Zealand, and then internationally.”
Fashbae is now live, with membership increasing by the day. With such strong pickup in the New Zealand market, Fashbae is poised to take its next step globally.