Last week, we wrapped our 2022 Everyday Economy Accelerator program. We had the honor of working with an extremely talented group of founders, and the pleasure of getting to know the exceptional companies they are currently building. From ESG data collection to re-commerce fashion to animal-free protein… from pre-pregnancy wellness to influencer e-commerce operations to creative consumer marketplaces… from 1st party data collection for e-commerce brands to payment infrastructure for the subscription economy, we are incredibly proud of the progress these teams have made and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for all of them.
As a reminder, here at NextView, we do not adhere to the traditional “demo day” accelerator model, but rather, choose to focus on real goal setting as it pertains to each individual founder and company. To celebrate this cohort’s graduation from the program, we will be spotlighting each team on the NextView blog over the course of the next few weeks.
These interviews were conducted halfway through the 12-week program; they provide a human snapshot into the minds of our driven, dedicated, determined accelerator founders. Real people, building real companies, which are really redesigning the Everyday Economy. So without further ado, let’s jump right in and meet the teams, shall we?
Founder: Aisling Byrne
“We have been deep believers in the re-commerce market since seeding one of the earliest pioneers in this space in ThredUp. We believe that Nuw represents a huge leap in this market by enabling a near frictionless peer-to-peer model that their early customers absolutely love!”
– Rob Go
Get to know the business
Rachel Hodes (RH): What problem exists in the market that your business is trying to solve?
Aisling Byrne (AB): The secondhand market is booming! But it’s only booming for certain kinds of clothes. Ever tried to resell an H&M dress? It’s hard….. Impossibly hard.
Nuw started with a key insight: Perceived value is the biggest barrier to recirculating mass-market fashion – resell for too low, it’s not appealing – resell for too high, it’s not worth it. Time for a new way to value clothes.
RH: How is your company planning to solve this problem?
AB: We created Nuw, the marketplace where clothes are your currency. Trade the clothes you don’t want for ones you do. Users upload an item of clothing and earn 1 coin for each item. A silver coin if the item is high-street and a gold-coin for mid-market and designer brands. Users can then spend their coin to ‘buy’ another piece on the platform – pay just a minimal ‘exchange fee’ of £1 to Nuw and the cost of postage. It’s resale…. Without the sale – a gamified fashion experience using what you have to build a whole nuw wardrobe and reduce fashion pollution.
Spoiler alert – when you take item price away, everyone wants highstreet brands and ‘sell-through rate’ goes from 10% (across thrift stores) – to 83% (on Nuw).
RH: Who are your customers?
AB: GenZ and Millenial women are the main Nuw users but our platform welcomes all sustainable fashion lovers. We’re live in the UK and Ireland with a US launch coming soon.
RH: And last but not least, why should the world care about this problem and how you’re solving it? Feel free to speak to the potential economic impacts, environmental impacts, social/political impacts, etc.
AB: While mid-market and designer items see successful recirculation through rental and resale platforms, only 10% of mass-market / fast-fashion is resold through traditional channels eg. resale apps, charity shops, thrift stores. This is because mass-market fashion is sold first-hand at a low value. It then needs to be resold at close to first-hand price to be economically viable at resale. Customers are not willing to pay this and the result is 64 billion items of clothing going to landfill each year (33% within 12 months of purchase), the majority of which are high-street and fast-fashion.
In short, we are sailing a sinking ship if we continue to ignore the rate at which fast-fashion is bought and disposed. As a society, and as businesses, a focus on the recirculation of mid-market and designer fashion will not make a dent in the mountain of waste generated per year by the billions of consumers buying affordable fashion.
In order to divert clothing from landfill on a mass-scale it is essential to adopt a new system for valuing and recirculating our clothing. One that is affordable, enjoyable, frictionless.
Get to know the founders
RH: Founders, please introduce yourselves.
AB: Aisling, originally from Dublin, Ireland, now living in London, UK.
RH: What’s your favorite thing about being an early-stage founder? And your least?
AB: Favourite thing: When a user emails with really long feedback on your product and you just stop for a second and think ‘someone has taken a chunk of time out of their day to write to you about how to make the product that you invented better’. That’s when you realise something you dreamed up is now out there in the world and people really want it to work.
Least favourite thing: The constant emotional rollercoaster of having things go amazing and things go terribly. Sometimes your best moment and worst moment are in the same day (or the same hour).
RH: What show are you watching right now/what book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?
AB: Show I’m watching: Desperate Housewives. I spend most of my time as a founder being 10 years ahead of the curve so I decided to come 20 years late to the party when it comes to TV, only now binging Desperate Housewives on Disney+.
RH: What are you hoping to learn/get out of your time in the NextView Everyday Economy Accelerator?
AB: We’re using the NextView accelerator and support to get ready to launch Nuw in the US this fall. It’s giving us time on the ground in the US, connections to experts in the pre-loved fashion space, and a fresh look at how to scale our business model.
RH: Close your eyes and imagine where your business will be in five years. What’s the same and what’s different?
AB: Same old, same old: Daily sharing of memes on Slack, obsession over KPIs, little celebratory dance everytime an item is exchanged and given a new home, and strong female energy building Nuw.
Something… Nuw: half a billion items of clothing running through the platform each year (no app crashing!), Nuw team members across the US and Europe, Nuw normalised as the place for your wardrobe to get a second life.