ReSuit, a new fit-based, peer-to-peer clothing app, has been launched to revolutionize the way people buy and share clothing.
The app, co-founded by fashion industry veteran Nada Shepherd, who is the company’s CEO, and David Shepherd, who is CTO, allows users to rent, purchase or sell to a community of fashion enthusiasts who share their passion for sustainability.
The concept was founded in May 2019.
“The idea actually had started much prior to 2019 and it’s evolved over the years,” said Nada. “It started with a third party app developer and then the pandemic hit which is interesting for a startup. There’s no playbook . . . Managing several third parties through a pandemic has proven challenging.
“Through that, we decided to, not pivot, but add a few features that were like phase two or three. We brought it in earlier. So that resulted in a delay longer than we anticipated and wanted but here we are. We’re launched and we’re ready to go.
“We’ve got an algorithm that facilitates an easier experience for the user. We’re one of the few apps that allow rental and resale.”
David said one of the biggest problems in the clothing industry is that size labels have become meaningless for both men and women. The app asks people to take some body measurements and then that is matched up with people who have a similar shape and size. When a piece of clothing is listed on the app, people are asked how well it fits. Also, when something is rented people are asked how well it fits.
“We use a bunch of AI (Artificial Intelligence), algorithms and techniques to then highlight to you, the borrower or the buyer, which items we think will fit you best based on your body size and shape regardless of clothing label,” said David.
“It’s all peer-to-peer. We don’t handle inventory. We don’t touch inventory.”
The app is available throughout the country on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
“Like everything it starts with an idea. It started with an idea around the time my daughter was born. So that would be 2012. It actually started before that when I was a clothing designer and when I closed my label in 2011 there was just a few things I walked away with of the industry . . . The model itself is quite dysfunctional. It’s really hard for a designer,” she said.
“It kind of started with this idea that there’s got to be a better way. Is it a clothing library? But that’s inventory. I’d sworn up and down that I would never do another business again related to inventory because when you’re a designer you’re counting buttons and threads. It’s really challenging. It’s tiring.
“I went to business school and kind of parked it and then it was the sustainability (aspect) that really started to connect some dots for me. I learned about TOMS Shoes and all these other models that are good and bad at the same time and there was a few, if you will, stakes in the ground that were important to me. I didn’t want to deal with inventory. I wanted to put something out in the world that was truly beneficial and helpful without creating waste.”
She said part of ReSuit’s ethos is that it’s going to give two per cent of revenue to a ‘Do Good’ fund. Her intention is to put it towards displaced garment workers. It’s a project that will take some time.
“The waste in the industry really got on her,” said David. “The idea of re-commerce and rental without carrying the inventory. Most, if not all, of the other major players in this space have inventory. So this combination of the rental, the resale, plus also the sizing issue, a lot of the waste and friction in e-commerce today is around high returns because of sizing.
“And when an item is returned different companies do different things with it. But most companies usually don’t recycle it back into their retail chain.”
“Loving fashion and wanting to change it are not mutually exclusive. It’s because fashion is such an important part of our lives and cultures that it needs to evolve; in the way it functions and the way it impacts the livelihoods of others. It’s with that deeply felt conviction that ReSuit was created,” said Nada.
Being an ex-designer, Nada understands the pain points for retailers and designers. Part of this app, of putting stakes in the ground and finding solutions, was a goal to make the industry better for designers.
“What if they only did one size run of a collection one time, no sample set and that’s what they used and they rented it out? And that’s all they did. Would they make more money? Would their life be easier? Would they need these big facilities? That’s really the driving force behind rental. I’m curious to see how that model benefits the designer,” said Nada.
“I think there’s so much talent in this country and it doesn’t come to light because of the manufacturing challenges here. So a big part of our partnerships is reaching out to designers but also the cousins to the industry . . . the dry cleaners that are able to dry clean in a cleaner way . . . we’re really looking for partnerships in driving that forward. Stylists and other industry professionals.”
ReSuit currently has a promotion that users upload two items for either resale or rental or both and also purchase or rent an item. If they do that and email ReSuit, they will receive up to $50 in return for their transaction. So if they rented something for $20 for example they receive $20 back. If they bought something for $50, they would receive $50 back. It’s for the first 100 people that meet that criteria.