Image credit: e27

Malaysian startup CLOSETStyles yesterday announced the launch of its “pre-loved” fashion marketplace in its home market. “Pre-loved”, according to the startup, refers to used clothes in good or new-like condition.

The three-month-old startup recently won at 1337 Ventures’ five-day Alpha Startups pre-accelerator programme in Kuala Lumpur, where it received MYR 10,000 (US$2,700).

“[CLOSETStyles] is a social marketplace for ladies to buy and sell pre-loved fashion out of their closets… Based on the listings that we have today, for a used item, it is up to about 70 per cent off the retail price. Let’s say it’s a new piece, it can be up to 50 per cent off,” Fong Kam Ling, the Founder of CLOSETStyles, told e27.

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“People are realising that they can actually save a lot by buying pre-loved items rather than from the retailer itself,” she added.

Buyers who feel they lack great fashion sense will be able to buy entire pre-loved outfits from sellers, removing the design and matching decisions from a purchase — and saving a lot of cash in the process, says the company.

At the same time, the startup is not just targetting buyers with lower purchasing power. The social element of connecting style mates together is part of what makes the platform different and interesting in the country and region.

CLOSETStyles says it is the first local player to combine a social pre-loved fashion marketplace with a payments gateway and door-to-door delivery. While the focus is on the mid-to-high-range, users can buy and sell anything so long as it falls under ‘female fashion’.

To avoid fake goods and scams, buyers will have three days after receiving an item to mark the purchase as satisfactory, at which point the platform will release the funds to the seller.

“I’m looking into more funding as well as key partnerships so that we can move this business faster… For the next half year I’m looking to raise about US$100,000 more,” Fong said.

“Most of the money that I’ll be looking for will be needed for building a better product and expansion plans,” she added.

Versus existing platforms like Singapore-based C2C marketplace Carousell, CLOSETStyles believes its offering is unique and niche enough to do well.

“When you connect to one style mate, [she] may be following another style mate, so it’s actually a circle all together. People who share the same style are shopping from each other,” Fong said.

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The platform will take a 20 per cent cut on all transactions, and while Fong was unable to provide detailed projections or market size the day after launch, she did believe it to be a potentially lucrative multi-million dollar market in Malaysia alone.

Hidden beneath it all is an interesting environmental and social-responsibility angle around recycling your unused fashion. “Textiles waste is the highest contributor to water pollution today,” Fong said.

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