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Cher Horowitz earned the envy of women everywhere in the opening scene of “Clueless” when she opened up her (massive) closet, and pieced together that famous yellow plaid ensemble from her digital wardrobe program.
Garbshare, touted as a “cloud closet,” will make Cher’s digital closet a reality not just for the privileged few, but for everyone, a value demonstrated through the St. Louis-based company’s unlikely origin story.
A divorced dad who was frustrated with his daughter losing and leaving her clothes everywhere, Cofounder and CEO Daniel Evans created a system of taking pictures of her clothes and marking them when she took them places. Turns out, he wasn’t alone.
“I talked to other divorced parents and they’d all had the same problem and essentially had created the same hacks,” said Evans. “So it started out as a way for parents to track what was going back and forth, and to let kids could wear what they wanted to wear whenever.”
Of course kids aren’t the only ones who could benefit from a clothing management app, everyone from college students, mothers, fathers, stylists and young professionals fits in Garbshare’s demographic, so making the process stress-free was key.
“The vision and the way that this is built is that this needs to be a part of your everyday life,” says Kasper Woldtveldt, community engagement manager at Garbshare. “You add items and the data, and you’ll see how you’re using your clothes as far as investment goes. You’ll see how they exist, so you can start creating outfits. If I have a top I bought for $75, but I know it exists in 20 outfits and I’m able to wear this during two seasons, buying quality pieces isn’t such a bad thing anymore—it’s incredibly helpful.”
Users find the clothes currently hanging in their closet by searching through a database of more than 40 million items spanning the last five seasons. If the item is incredibly unique, homemade or vintage, they can take a photo and upload it, adding as much information about it as they want.
“For us it was about creating a utilitarian infrastructure that’s focused on functionality,” says Woldtveldt. “It’s not focused on where you’re shopping. We don’t care if it’s Neiman’s or Walmart, we just want you to be able to keep track of it, manage it and have fun with it.”
The fun aspect comes in with Garbshare’s social aspect, allowing friends access to each other’s closets and the ability to style outfits for each other.
“You can search your friends and have one-to-one relationships with them,”says Woldtveldt. “So I can go into their closet, I can look at what they have and I can say, “Oh my God can I borrow that?” It’s going to allow you to keep track of what you’ve loaned and what your friends might have that could work for you.”
Though there are a few similarly-minded apps available, like Polyvore, or StyleBook, Garbshare separates from the pack with their low cost (read: free), their cloud-based organizational tools that keep the app from sucking up all of your phone’s storage space and their universal appeal.
After a successful Series A, Evans moved himself from Belleville, IL to Downtown St. Louis and Garbshare into Industrious, anticipating company growth as they ready for their launch. The modern and amenity-rich Downtown space came with the added benefit of helpful coworking neighbors, with companies like Town Coopers and Snapshot Interactive available for Garbshare to explore collaborations.
“The space really fits the growth dynamic for us,” says Woldtveldt. “And you have more people as part of your team without even asking for it. With us, because we are so small and so focused, it’s nice to have closer people around that are as invested as us, they want to see us succeed.”
Garbshare launches this month to friends and family, then to their beta group in December. Starting out with a simple platform so users aren’t overwhelmed, Evans and the team already have added features ready to go in the upcoming months like multiple closets and a calendar function. Follow the Garbshare team this week at Web Summit in Dublin!