Here’s a story of two Saris. Their claim to fame? The toothsome twosome invented shopping without spending via their e-commerce site, bibandtuck.com. While this sounds like an impossible feat, 26-year-old Miami-based Sari Azout (pictured on right) and her New York-based partner, Sari Bibliowicz (pictured on left), created an online platform that does just that. “Our site and iPhone app allows users to buy and sell designer and vintage clothes. You can list an item in your closet for sale in less than 60 seconds, and use the proceeds of your sale to fund your next fashion find, or just make some money and live your wildest dreams,” Azout says.
Like most love stories, Azout and Bibliowicz share a common bond: A fervent love for fashion. “We met in preschool, where we bonded over identical Petit Bateau undershirts. We like to think that from the beginning, our history was defined by a closeness of closets,” Azout says. Twenty years later, fate found both Saris studying at Brown University living in the same building in New York. As the economy took a nosedive, the duo began sharing clothes as a way to save time, space and money. With small budgets, and even smaller spaces, access to each other’s closets multiplied their fashion selections. “One day it dawned on us: What if there were a thousand more Saris? A whole city’s worth of closets to share? Four hundred cups of coffee, 200 packs of Post-Its, and 100 sleepless nights later, Bib + Tuck was born,” Azout says of the site’s genesis.
Launched in November 2012, the site is a meticulously curated community of shoppable personal closets. The name, Bib + Tuck, is derived from an old English aristocratic phrase where women were told to wear their best Bib and Tucker, meaning to wear their finest outfit. “We’re still a very young company and we have a long way to go, but I think when you create a brand people can relate to that solves a problem — as in a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear! — the product spreads virally and organically,” Azout says of the site’s staying power.
How does the site work, exactly? Users list their items from their closet they’re ready to part ways with for free. Once items are sold, users accumulate currency called, “bucks.” Users ship their sales with a pre-paid shipping label and can use their bucks to “tuck,” or purchase any other goods on Bib+ Tuck. The site profits by charging a commission on every sale and also generates revenue from brand partnerships.
Naturally, the Saris have hit rough patches along the way. The biggest hurdle in the e-commerce realm? “Trying to get too many things right. We are laser focused on building a brand with a strong voice that appeals to a niche audience, and have built a loyal following by being focused,” Azout says. The best advice Azout can offer budding e-entrepreneurs? “Make sure you know what makes you different and have a value proposition from day one. It’s a competitive world out there with Amazon setting the rules of the game,” she adds.
And online closet swapping is now trending. Sites such as PoshMark, Swapdom, MaterialWrld, HipSwap and ClosetSwap are startups changing the way one shops and also make it easier to sell and share ones clothes online. “I like to think that there’s a movement underway where people are shifting their attitudes and willing to pay more for clothing that honors craftsmanship and uniqueness over fast fashion. Being able to easily sell your clothes online is a game changer. Now, when you purchase a garment, you can buy pieces that are more valuable and higher quality because you’ll be able to trade them in for something else or get a return on it,” Azout says. Essentially, clothes sharing lengthens the lifetime of a garment.
Luckily, this tale of two Saris has a happy finish. Both its protagonists have never experienced the all-too familiar “I have nothing to wear” syndrome ever again.