“You built this site just so you could shop on it.” said Elise Whang’s husband while her and her sister Emily, both co-founders of SNOBSWAP, launched the website. “There’s nothing wrong with that,” she tells me over the phone with a laugh. And there isn’t anything wrong that – who wouldn’t want to build a unique online shopping destination that they themselves obsessively shop on?
SNOBSWAP is one of the latest online start-up resale communities that allows their members to trade-in or “swap” their used designer clothing items with other members on the site. Each member has his or her own “closet” where all the items they’ve listed are housed and members can peruse others closets to see what they would like to trade. The concept is great for those who love to get a good deal on luxury items and like to get most of their shopping done online. Members have listed designer items from Gucci, Chanel, Tory Burch, Yves Saint Laurent and more, and the amount of closets on the site is constantly growing as the sister-duo continues to build their site up to be your favorite online place to get a bargain on designer.
We recently had a chat with co-founder Elise Whang all about how SNOBSWAP was started, the future of resale, and what the two have planned for the future.
StyleBlazer: What is SNOBSWAP? How does the site work?
Elise Whang: SNOBSWAP is what we call the ultimate destination for you to shop the best closets and also the best consignment boutiques that we’ve curated online. We’re having fun building this community where people appreciate fashion and sharing closets and these higher qualities clothing and accessories, they can have 2 or 3 life cycles so they can be used and worn by and enjoyed by somebody else. We’ve started to be known as that one place to go to shop consignment boutiques around the nation so we have consignment boutiques in New York, Miami, and DC.
SB: How did you guys partner with different consignment boutiques?
EW: We offer them a landing page and we give them exclusive features when they launch. Then, we do sales for them or incorporate them into marketing campaigns to highlight the wonderful things that they’re already posting online. Stores love it because they get an instant online boutique with their brick and mortar stores which is hard for them to do. We make it as easy as possible for them.
SB: Have you two always been bargain hunters?
EW: We would have a sister day and go consignment shopping, make a day out of it, and it became addicting. [It was also] out of necessity because we both went to grad school. I was a former lawyer, and Emily went to business school. Our student loans are crazy so we’re always looking for the best deals, we discovered consignment and thrifting and it became addictive. A lot of the high end pieces are timeless so it’s always nice to feel like you’ve saved 90% off of a Louis Vuitton bag or Gucci bag.
SB: What inspired you guys to start SnobSwap?
EW: We are best friends and we would swap clothes a lot, but then we moved into different cities and got busier with our jobs so we wished there was a virtual site where we could continue our shopping addiction. It’s basically inspired from that and on the site you can swap with other people – as long as you post something to swap. We try to capture the fun of thrifting and consignment shopping by, of course, inviting the store partners to sell their inventory online. We carry up to 2000 brands because we want to appeal to every shopper.
SB: There is a stigma with buying second-hand clothing, even when its designer, how do you get around that stigma? Is there a system that you use to check that these are quality items?
EW: We usually say if you’re embarrassed to give the dress to a friend because it has a stain on it then that would not be a desirable item to sell, but we do scour the listings also. People have become more savvy shoppers, especially with the recession. And the milennials were born into the recession so they’re really good at looking for good deals. And as they move into higher positions in the work force their appreciation for designer goods is growing and we can thank eBay for establishing the second-hand market.
SB: What are some of the best things you’ve swapped on the site? And what are some of your best thrifting finds in general?
EW: I’m one of the top shoppers on the site, my husband is like “You built this site just so you could shop on it.” Emily had a really cool swap recently. She swapped Isabel Marant sneakers, they’re $1300 sneakers, and they were listed for $800. She really wanted those sneakers, so she swapped her Missoni scarf and bundled it with $300 cash. You can actually add cash to a swap offer as well to balance the difference in value. My best thrift finds? I purchased nude patent Christian Louboutin shoes that were new they were just too small for the seller and those I saved 75% off. That was a real score!
SB: Any future SNOBSWAP projects in the works?
EW: Yes! We are working on an app so people can quickly list their items in less than 60 seconds. And we’re working on a cool event in New York for Spring. It’s basically going to be a warehouse sale for designer consignment boutiques all in one place. Stay tuned for that!