99dresses is a new site out of Sydney, Australia, that’s aiming to change the way women buy, sell and use their clothes.
The brainchild of 18 year old Nikki Durkin, a recent High School graduate, the aim of the site is to help solve the issue that many women face daily – too many clothes in their wardrobe they never wear.
In the past, a way of dealing with this problem was to swap with friends, but that’s limited in the number of potential swap items. Another option would be to take your clothes down to your local 2nd hand clothing store to sell, but chances are you wouldn’t get much money. Same goes with markets or street stalls.
99dresses now gives you another alternative.
So, how does the site work?
You upload pictures of your clothes into the 99dresses “infinite wardrobe”, give them a sale price in “buttons” (99dresses’ virtual currency), and people buy them. You then ship the dress of to the purchaser. In return, you can purchase other dresses with your newly acquired buttons and the cycle goes on.
99dresses is allowing people to buy buttons for $1, which serves as a way of benchmarking the price of clothes (e.g. if you think your dress is worth $30 you put it up for sale at 30 buttons). The idea is that people can supplement their existing buttons from sold items with these bought ones. Of course people could just buy buttons outright (I imagine that will be popular at the start or else no-one will be able to buy anything) but as an ongoing method of accruing buttons Durkin says “that is not really the objective of this project”
You can check out Durkin explaining how the site was started and how it works, in her own words in the video below:
While the site is interesting in its own right, for me there’s an additional reason to like 99dresses.
The site is a great example of the new trend in collaborative consumption. Another example of this is well known Text Book rental service Chegg. Collaborative Consumption is all about addressing the hyper-consumption mentality (“get as much stuff as possible”) that has led to many of the economic problems we’re seeing today and that will continue to plague us as populations grow and more and more people around the world turn into western-style consumers.
In contrast, collaborative consumption is about re-use of finite resources. Sure eBay has been doing the re-use thing for quite some time now, but what we’re starting to see are new and different models that are more tailored to specific markets, rather than the one-size-fits-all eBay approach.
99dresses is one of these.
With that in mind, for me the really interesting thing about 99dresses is that the idea has come from a young tech entrepreneur who sees this as a problem to be solved.
It seems the future might not be so bad after all if this is the type of problem that Durkin and the next generation of tech entrepreneurs are going to be trying to solve.