2013 October 3
Virtually Chic: Meet Jaclyn Shanfeld of Shop-Hers.com
Courtesy Shop-Hers.com View Gallery
(NEW YORK) What was started as a way to support a wicked shopping addiction, Jaclyn Shanfeld’s online marketplace has turned into so much more. A virtual consignment shop that gives each seller the power to make her own rules, Shop-Hers.com has become the answer not only Jaclyn’s personal resale hang-ups but also those of likeminded women around the globe. Here Jaclyn gives The Daily a personal introduction to her eight-month-old passion project that leaves us ready to head out and turn our own closets into shopping cash tout suite!
BY JULIE ZIGOS
What’s your background in fashion?
Completely unorthodox! I grew up in Los Angeles and I was a total drama nerd in high school, so I thought I would be an actress. I realized nothing about it appealed to me. I started interning for a talent agent, then Ford Models in Chicago. I then came back to work for Ford in Los Angeles. I loved it, but I just wanted to do something else. I wanted to do something of my own.
How did the concept for Shop Hers come about?
After quitting my job, I wanted to figure out a way to support my shopping habit! I thought: I have a lot of money in my closet; I’m going to a consignment store to sell it. That’s when I had the experience of dropping $20,000 worth of clothes off at a consignment store in Beverly Hills and getting back a check for $250 dollars. It was devastating! After recovering from that, I thought I’d try eBay. Then I figured out that to do eBay you have to get a divorce and put your kids up for adoption! There’s nothing fashionable about it. So I again went hunting for something that felt more like me, something I could afford and that was also a way to reboot and refresh my wardrobe. I found Rent the Runway and thought it was pretty perfect. I realized quickly that the five dresses that were aspirational to me were aspirational to everyone else in the country. The wait time was six to seven months out. I can’t plan my life that far in advance. Some online consignment stores were popping up, but it was the exact same experience as the store in Beverly Hills.
How did Shop-Hers.com come about?
The first thing I did was look for a technical co-founder. I found Jenna Stahl, the former creative director of Norstrom.com, who brought this really interesting data as to why women were returning merchandise so frequently. Women shop according to their size as opposed to really understanding the difference between brands and how they cut their merchandise. We created an algorithm, Style Soul Mates, that creates a community of women who share similar aesthetics. There are Style Soul Mates that share the same sizes...or those that just share the same love of handbags.
How many women are already buying and selling on Shop Hers?
We have 75,000 users and they are engaged and they’re buying and selling from one another. The response has just been miraculous.
How do you maintain quality control with a totally virtual marketplace?
It's called Sure Shop. Even if you buy something from someone halfway around the country, it comes to Shop Hers first and we authenticate it and vet it for quality, so you’re never going to get an item that isn’t authenticate or that someone says was worn once but is actually in tatters.
How are the prices?
A seller has her right to price things as she chooses. For the most part, things are priced 50 to 60 percent less than retail prices and sometimes 90 percent less than retail prices. But also for that woman that will only sell for x, there’s still a buyer there too. We see women price things close to retail and think that’s crazy no one is every going to buy that, and they do!
We also heard you recently expanded internationally!
We are international, in 129 countries now. The reception around the world has been insane, from Canada to Australia, from Asia to Europe. We look forward to allowing international selling soon, too. Our current sellers are seeing incredibly fast turnaround at prices close to retail because the international audience that is willing to pay a premium to access merchandise they don’t have access to around the world.
Have you shopped on the site?
Everything I’m wearing is Shop Hers—everything in my closet is Shop Hers. I launched my closet on the site, too. I've sold almost $80,000 out of my closet. It’s a startup so we’re not paying ourselves out yet, so my salary is in my closet.
I bought a Celine bag that I thought I couldn’t live without. I’m kind of over the Celine bag now so I sold mine, made a couple thousand dollars, and I bought a new Hermes Constance. So I’m keeping my closet moving; I’m paying for one item with the sale of another.
What are some other brands that you like to purchase on the site?
I love Hermes, Celine, Lanvin, and Givenchy. Shop Hers is anonymous so women who can’t sell their Birkin because they're presidents of Fortune 500 companies and literally [Hermes'] board members. We see one of a kind Alaia, we see one of a kind McQueen gowns. The site is not just couture. There’s a ton of DVF, Theory, and Vince, too.
What’s the highest sale made on your site?
A $40,000 crocodile Birkin bag...you know what the Birkin craziness is like!
What would you say to someone who has things in her closet to sell, but is scared to let them go?
There's a feature on Shop Hers called Flaunt for this exact reason. When you’re flaunting an item it can mean two things. Either "nah-nah-nah-nah, look what I scored," or "I’m flirting with the idea of selling this, maybe for the right price I would". You’d be surprised how often every day Flaunt turns to Sell. If it’s that valuable to you, it will be that valuable to somebody else.
Amazing. Have you had time to celebrate your success?
No way! Sometimes we celebrate with baked goods in the afternoon! Celebration is so far away. We are just at the beginning of this and the sky is the limit. I can’t give away all of our secrets but a lot is coming in the near future by next year that is pretty revolutionary.
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