Is the Fashion Space Overcrowded? Online Thrift Store Fashion Project Doesn’t Think So, Raises $1.8 Million


Fashion Project — an online store where women can donate high-end designer items which are then available for re-purchase at marked-down prices, has raised a $1.8 million seed round from Atlas Ventures, High Peak Ventures, Schooner Capital, and others, according to TechCrunch.

Founded by a pair of Harvard Law School graduates — CEO Anna Palmer and COO Christine Rizk — the company donates a majority of sales directly to charity. The idea for the company sprung while the two were waiting in line at Harvard Law School’s 2011 graduation ceremony — they both had an interest in business and dreaded big law. They eventually were accepted to TechStars Boston, and have been grinding ever since.

Talk about serendipity.

High-end items on Fashion Project typically sell for 7 times more than a thrift store price, with 60% of the revenue going directly to charity. Donators choose their charity and track how much money their items pull in via the site’s analytic tools. The site has processed over $250,000 in transactions since launching in November, and currently works with over 50 charities, including Autism Speaks, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

But the question looming over Anna and Christine’s heads: is the fashion market getting overcrowded? Yesterday, BuzzFeed ran a big profile on Baublebar founders Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky, and their startup Baublebar, which sells discounted jewelry. A few things were made clear from the article:

a) Harvard absolutely runs sh*t in the online fashion space — Gilt Groupe, Rent the Runway, and Birchbox all have Harvard-educated founders. Can we get a Stanford gal in there at least?

b) Investors are excited for women-focused e-commerce businesses — especially because women make so many more purchasing decisions online, typically.

c) You don’t need to be a coding expert to start a tech-heavy company — almost none of the founders of the aforementioned fashion brands had computer science experience, but all consider their companies “tech companies” rather than “fashion companies.”