Stash it or trash it: Sydney startup Stashd gamifies clothes shopping

- April 23, 2014 3 MIN READ

There are many conveniences that online shopping affords, but navigating through an ecommerce website can be as overwhelming as digging through piles of clothes in a department store. Built in the spirit of StumbleUpon, a Sydney-based startup Stashd has simplified – and even gamified – shopping with its mobile discovery engine for fashion enthusiasts.

The iPhone application, founded by two residents of Fishburners, Pete Neill and Jessica Wilson, presents users with one clothing item at a time, prompting them to either stash it or trash it.

Stashd utilises the addictive swiping motion made famous by Tinder, making it one of the stand-out functionalities of the app. Love it? ‘Stash it’ by swiping right. Hate it? ‘Trash it’ by swiping left. Users can return to their virtual wardrobe or ‘stash’ at any time to review, edit, share or purchase.

“While scrolling works fantastically on desktop and tablet devices, we love that the tactile nature of mobile devices allows people to interact with content in new ways and so we worked hard to apply an addictive swiping motion to luxury fashion content,” the co-founders said.

Stashd was initially a side project of Neill’s. Following a serendipitous meeting at Fishburners, the co-founders ended up bonding over a shared passion to find innovative ways to connect fashion and technology. But it wasn’t until they noticed users downloading the app from various countries, that they considered Stashd to be a viable business option.

Since launching in November last year, Stashd has expanded virtually, with a user base from over 80 countries around the world. It’s also been featured as one of Apples Best New Apps on the iTunes homepage for the months of December and January.

Over 3 millions items have been seen by users to date, and over 400,000 items stashed. Stashd is affiliated with top tier online stores such as Net-a-Porter, Mr Porter, ssense.com and Farfetch; and features luxury fashion items from Marc Jacobs totes to Elle Saab gowns.

“Over time we aim to build our portfolio of garments to be as diverse as our user base, to allow anyone to stash a collection of items as individual as they are,” the co-founders said.

Stashd has been bootstrapped to date, but the co-founders do intend on raising funds later in the year.

“We’re really driven to push this as far as we can ourselves. The more validation we can have around our assumptions the easier that process [of raising capital] is going to be,” said Wilson.

The business model behind the app is fairly simple, with Stashd receiving a commission on items purchased via the app. Wilson, however, foresees other opportunities for monetisation.

“We ultimately believe there’s an opportunity to build a data product that can involve users more in the design and production decisions made my retailers, brands and designers,” she said.

The proudest moment for the co-founders thus far has been seeing their 100,000th garment stashed.

“The idea that something can come from your imagination and end up being used by people all over the world is a super exciting one. We’re really looking forward to throwing a party when we add another zero to that figure,” said Wilson.

Although it hasn’t been a tumultuous journey for the co-founders, there have been challenges to overcome. Wilson said focusing on your strengths “can be a mental challenge”; and it’s been hard for the co-founders to remain undaunted by other people’s resources.

“Any consumer app coming out of the US is likely to have already raised massive sums of money, which is a very different situation to our self-funded two-person operation,” Wilson said.

“Sometimes that difference can make it all feel a little futile, but it’s important (and sometimes hard) to remember that it’ll be our innovation and ingenuity that’ll determine our success, not our bank balance.”

Another challenge for the co-founders is standing out of the crowd. Wilson admitted there are many fashion apps in the marketplace competing for consumer attention.

“You need to make your offering really obvious and unambiguous otherwise people will simple tune out,” she said.

The co-founders certainly have their game face on; they plan on spending time in the US to establish strategic partnerships and gain more traction with US-based users.

“I’ve spent some time working New York Fashion Week seasons with international designers and PR companies so hopefully that can be a great point of leverage!” said Wilson.

Stashd can be downloaded via iTunes.