Middlebury

A network of microphilanthropy that supports Middlebury students.

Share to Wear is a peer-to-peer clothing rental platform that allows women to rent high-end dresses from one another and make a profit off of their dresses that are just hanging in their closets. We aim to foster a community of inclusivity and sustainability one transaction at a time. Our service not only creates an environment of women supporting women but it promotes the sustainable fashion movement.

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Funding Details

Deadline: Sep 30, 2018
Total needed: $5,000

People

Project Participants:

Rachael Salerno, 2018.5, Economics, Princeton NJ

Greta Hulleberg, 2019, Neuroscience, Norwich VT

Charlotte Reider-Smith, 2019, Studio Art, San Fransisco CA

Project Description: 

Share to Wear is a peer to platform clothing rental service that allows Middlebury College women to rent high-end dresses from one another, and make a profit off of their rented dresses. We aim to foster community, inclusivity, and sustainability one transaction at a time. We are a group of women supporting women by promoting the positive body image movement. We create an environment of women picking each other up where so often we find them tearing each other down. Our shop allows for women to try on clothing they would never have felt comfortable trying on before, in a safe space of only encouragement. We also know that our business offers increased accessibility into high-end fashion by making it much more affordable, even to college students on a budget. This aspect breaks through socio-economic divisions that pull our community apart. Finally, our members are also passionate about preserving the environment. We know that the fashion industry is extremely costly to the environment, but our business model offers a solution to improve the sustainability of fashion. By renting clothing rather than buying, you keep clothing out of landfills and slow the incessant production of fabric. Clothing production pollutes billions of gallons of water, its emissions contribute to climate change, and the chemical byproducts are exceptionally dangerous. Americans throw away over 14 millions tons of textiles a year. Over 99% of the clothing thrown away in the US can be recycled or removed, but sadly more than 85% ends up in landfills. Even in a landfill, these materials don’t just go away- certain popular fabrics take up to 200 years to biodegrade (like polyester), all the while emitting gases that deteriorate our atmosphere.

How will MiddSTART help you achieve your goal?: 

MiddStart funding would help us to prepare and launch our first franchise in Burlington. As mentioned, we see Burlington as a great area to kick-off the first non-Middlebury branch of our business because of its size and location (50 mins away). Our current thinking is that we will use this as an opportunity to test our franchise packet, where we will manage the ‘franchise’ ourselves, allowing us to ideate, before we jump into a bigger market such as Boston. In order for this to work for us, we need a fair amount of funding. Our costs will include rent (for retail location), interior design, technological needs for the shop (square, scan, etc.), labor and maybe more. Additionally, we believe that having a strong software package is important to our franchise packet, and ensuring the loyalty of our franchisees. Thus, we may need to invest some money into truly building out the website to top performance and functionality – currently we have a student building it. And, along with the website, having an app developed that allows customers to access our collection in IOS form (this could be more long-term).

What is the inspiration for your project?: 

Share to Wear stems from the idea ‘what if we could borrow clothes from every Middlebury student on campus?’ Share to Wear’s founders, Linley Shaw ’17 and Charlotte Reider-Smith ’19, had both encountered the dilemma of not knowing what to wear for their upcoming formal event- despite having a closet full of dresses. They each developed this idea as their MiddCORE innovation challenge and brought it to life at Middlebury in September 2016. Our team is passionate about our mission of creating one large, accessible, fashionable, and affordable closet. We each see the power our business has to empower women and improve the environmental impacts of the fashion industry. We are passionate about bringing this message to schools and cities across the nation; to revolutionize the norms of the fashion industry by transitioning to renting from purchasing and to sharing from producing. The fashion industry is the third largest polluting industry in the world, and it’s time for a healthier, more responsible system.


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