If you don’t know about UNItiques let me give you a bit of information. UNItiques is a local way for college students to sell their things, it’s safe, quick, and very easy (I know from experience)! Alex Shadrow, the CEO of UNItiques and a friend of mine, sat down with me to talk about how she started UNItiques, and what it takes to become a badass lady boss, just like her!
Question: When did the idea for UNItiques come to you?
Answer: It was in 2012 at the end of the school year in april or may. I wanted to make money for summer break. All my clothes were winter clothes because I had sold all my LA clothes when I came to Boston, but then I realized Boston wasn’t cold all year round. Buffalo exchange would wouldn’t take anything and they rip off everyone. I started listing things on different schools facebook groups and realized that each school has their own facebook group. UNitiques is a place where all the schools can be under one roof and they can also still shop by their own school.
Q: Where there any struggles that came up when you started launching UNItiqutes?
A: The main struggle was that I didn’t have a technical person on my team. I can’t do coding, so I hired someone from a graphic design company externally. Absolutely don’t do it! I was paying someone by the hour when I should have been paying by the project. I now have someone on my team who does this. It was hard seeing all that money wasted when it could have gone to such better things.
Q: Did you get investors? If so, how?
A: That’s what I’m working on right now. I invested my own money and my dad invested in me, but there wasn’t any other investors.
Q: How did you see UNItiques being different from Ebay and Craigslist?
A: It is absolutely SAFER than Craigslist! You can see names, faces, schools, you’re armed with information. Craigslist gives you no information. Only members within the website can get your personal information, and in order to sign up you need to give that information. You have to sign up using a valid college email address. Hyper local. Try before you buy. No fees like Poshmark has.
Q: Do you personally use UNItiques?
A: I use it like crazy. I’ve made over $3,000 and uploaded 1,000 products to the website. Its how I’ve survived the last 3 years.
Q: How do you balance owning a business and still living your life?
A: Unitiques has become pretty much my entire life. My friends are people who work at unitiques or own business. The people who work with me are the people I hang out with. If I’m working on something then I put my all into it.
Q: What is the best advice someone gave you during the process of launching UNItiques? Who was it and what did they say?
A: To have a co-founder, I did not do that. Starting I had over $100,000 dollars and I was under the impression that money could buy you anything, but I was wrong. I live by the saying it’s better to beg for forgiveness than ask permission. You have to make your own rules. I’ve gotten in trouble sometimes but it’s gotten me a lot further than playing by the rules would have. If starting a business was easy than everyone would do it, expect it to be difficult.
Q: What is something you love most about UNItiques?
A: What I love most is seeing our members be so happy and psyched about getting something they love for so little money. It’s also really great watching girls make money while in school, but they can still live their lives.
Q: Is UNItiques just for college girls?
A: It is mainly aimed at college girls. Anything can be traded on unitiques but we have a motto that we are who our members are and our members are mostly college girls who are using it for fashion.
Q: As a badass lady boss, do you have any advice for other girls looking to start their own businesses?
A: If you’re going to start your own business make sure there is a need for it before you invest yourself into it. I went up to random people on campus, with a bucket of candy and would ask them to listen to me talk about my ideas, and ask them if this is something they would use, in exchange for candy. If you don’t do your research this could be something that is already out there. Don’t be afraid to ask people for help or opinions.
Q: What do you see for the future of UNItiques?
A: Getting and investor and hiring people who are going to be working full time. A mobile app and an online payment system. I would also like to have Unitiques points that you can pay with and then, we will ship it for you.
Q: Would you ever consider doing a UNItiques “warehouse sale” where people can bring things they want to sell and have their own vending stations?
A: We do that now! we call them clothing swaps, and we are planning one now for the end of the semester before everyone goes home!
Q: Did BU help you in any way?
A: I won my office at BU through a competition to find the best startup in boston. BU has been really helpful through the BUZZ lab. They held my hand throughout the whole process of starting my business, but I’m starting to outgrow it now.
Q: What is something you would love to find on UNItiques?
A: I just got some Stuart Weitzman boots which was something I have always looked for and now there is another pair on there too! Currently I’m looking for some bathing suits for spring break and we are working with a store called Almost Naked and they will be listing their bikinis on UNItiques.com/almostnaked.
Check out UNItiques.com, sign up and sell your things that you don’t need! Everyone needs some extra cash for spring break, so why not make some without really even putting in any effort? You can check out what I’m selling right now, here, things will be changing frequently so make a UNItiques account and add me as a friend to keep track of my account! I have been loving UNItiques, and I know you will too, so sign up, you’ve got nothing to loose and a new outfit to gain!