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Startup in Sunnyvale helps designers refine fashion offerings
Friday, 20 November 2009 00:00

UsTrendy Inc. operates an online business that combines a place for aspiring fashion designers to see how the public reacts to their work and a place for them to sell and promote their products. Designers can upload their designs on the UsTrendy Web site for other users to view and vote for their favorites. The top-rated clothing is then produced and promoted by UsTrendy. In a year, the site has had more than 300,000 designs loaded. In addition, the site has hosted several large fashion design competitions garnering hundreds of thousands of votes per competition. UsTrendy lists thousands of items available for sale in its e-commerce marketplace.

HOW IT MAKES MONEY: Two ways. One is commissions on transactions in the e-commerce marketplace, which carries limited clothing produced by UsTrendy as well as thousands of clothing items uploaded to the marketplace by indie designers. The second is from fashion marketers and retailers who contract to use the Web site as a platform to engage with potential consumers and receive customer feedback. UsTrendy was recently named as one of the five top fashion sites fashion marketers should know by Ad Age.

BUSINESS, TECHNOLOGY IT COULD DISRUPT: By going direct to consumers to find out what they want, the guesswork is removed from the fashion buying process each season. Inventory costs are reduced because retailers are able to make more informed decisions.

MANAGEMENT TEAM: CEO Sam Sisakhti worked in marketing and business development for Citigroup Investment Bank, Fidelity Investments and Mellon Financial. Chief Operating Officer Philip Smith spent the past 10 years on the management team at venture-backed startups, following a career with public technology companies. Among the companies he helped to take public were UPEK Inc. and Moai Technologies Inc. He has raised more than $80 million in venture funding and taken two startups from scratch to filing IPOs.

MONEY BEING SOUGHT: $500,000 to $1 million.

PARTNERSHIPS: The company says it is negotiating contracts and opportunities with several large retailers. UsTrendy also partners with several large fashion weeks in the world as well as fashion schools. An upcoming example is London Fashion Week where UsTrendy will have its own runway show in February 2010.

POTENTIAL MARKET SIZE: A piece of the $2 billion fashion industry.

LIKELY COMPETITORS: Etsy Inc., a Web site where people buy and sell handmade items.

 

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