Every day we're bowled over by the innovation of the UK's startups. One such startup is Twicely. Founders Helen Walker and Adam Walker recognised that selling your stuff online can be a bit of a hassle - so they decided to make it simple. You send your premium pre-loved clothes to them, they're sold for a percentage of the original price, and you get money in return. Easy. Twicely are supported by our delivery partners BBV. Let's find out more!
We choose one Virgin StartUp company to be featured on Virginstartup.org each week. We ask our startups of the week to deliver the ultimate elevator pitch. What would they say if they had one minute in a lift with Sir Richard Branson? Please answer the questions below, keeping each answer to five sentences max.
Ground to floor 1 – Explain what your business does
Twicely is a ‘like-new’ shopping experience for quality, on-trend, second-hand fashion. We hand pick premium branded clothing from the items sent into us by our sellers who want a convenient, hassle-free way to sell their pre-owned fashion. Then we sell them online at up to 80% off the original retail prices. Next day deliveries, free returns and excellent customer service make shopping on Twicely feel like buying new, but at a fraction of the cost.
Floor 1 to 2 - Where are you based?
In March we moved into our first business premises, just around the corner from our home in Ramsbottom (near Manchester). It used to be an exercise studio and the open-plan layout is just perfect for us.
Floor 2 to 3 – What’s the business model?
Twicely is a hybrid between traditional online retailers like Amazon and peer-to-peer marketplaces like eBay. We buy like-new, branded clothes from people who want a convenient, super easy way to cash in their wardrobes; and then sell them online heavily discounted from the original price. Sending clothes to Twicely via courier is free and we payout a percentage of the expected selling price. We then inspect, photograph, and list each item ensuring that we only sell current, branded, clothes that are in like-new, and often actually new, condition.
Floor 3 to 4 – Who are your competitors?
We have a wide range of competitors, from traditional high street dress agencies to eBay. There are some great US examples of startups in this area and some new dedicated fashion marketplaces in the UK. What makes Twicely unique is that we hold all of the stock we sell. This means that we can offer excellent customer service, fast delivery, and free no-quibble returns.
Floor 4 to 5 – What’s your USP?
We’ve made the process of buying and selling quality, pre-owned fashion items easy and hassle-free. If you're shopping, it feels like buying new. You shop the brands that you love and pay up to 80% less than the original prices safe in the knowledge that everything we sell has been hand-selected and certified for quality. If you are selling, Twicely is a convenient, super easy way to cash-in your quality wardrobe items and they get paid immediately - so no waiting for auctions to finish or chasing up payment.
Floor 5 to 6 – Where did the idea come from?
Most auction and classified web sites basically look, and work, the same way. There isn’t really very much choice. Either you do all the work and sell it yourself... or you don’t and eventually donate your stuff to a charity shop. As busy parents we wondered how we might simplify the process of buying and selling the things we own, and the end result was Twicely.
Floor 6 to 7 – How much funding did you receive from Virgin StartUp?
Floor 7 to 8 – How are you going to use it to grow your business?
We can now complete a planned move to a larger warehouse, and buy the racking and equipment needed to manage the increased volume of clothing that we are receiving into the business. A portion of the funding is earmarked for the purchase of an automated photography solution which will allow us to create product listings on our website much quicker. The balance of the funding will be used to purchase more quality items, and in turn increase our turnover and growth.
Floor 8 to 9 – What’s your workspace like?
After running out of space in the family home, we took a short-term lease on a unit that used to be home to an exercise studio. We’ve put in some temporary desking and racking and it feels fantastic to have everything together for the first time. Our workspace is basically one long shoebox, but it allows us to create areas for all the clothes at the different stages of processing - from assessing through preparation and photography, to wrapping and storage.
Floor 9 to 10 – where will your business be in 12 month’s time?
In 12 months time we want to be processing several hundred orders per day in our new warehouse. Our aspiration is to create the first pre-owned fashion brand. We want to make Twicely a by word for second-hand quality and excellent customer service - a shop where you can come and load up your basket with all the premium brands you know and love without breaking the bank.