Clothes site one out of the box

KELSEY WILKIE
Last updated 12:00 17/06/2014

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A Palmerston North couple are hoping to change the way New Zealanders buy, sell and swap clothes online.

Warren and Corina Cheethan of Palmerston North, along with a couple from Auckland, have created an online marketplace where New Zealanders and Australians can sell clothing and housewares internationally.

Warren Cheethan says FashionBox is not an auction site.

"Being a fashion-only site we can target our site features and style to provide a shopping experience that is more in line with the high street."

He said it had similar features to Trade Me, though there were significant differences.

"I think it's the branding, really. If you sort of compare this to the traditional world, places like Trade Me would be more like a supermarket - we are more like a high street store.

"With us, someone can sell fashion and not have it sitting alongside some non-fashion items, which can devalue their brand."

They have engineered the site to have a familiar e-commerce feel, with features such as a shopping cart that supports combined shipping discounts and instant payments through PayPal.

Features include a platform where shops can build a list of followers and post news about upcoming events or products.

The site has been running for three months and already had more than 5000 listings for sale.

The Cheethans now have the challenge of attracting buyers to the site.

"I think it is a critical mass that we have to reach for it to be profitable and the way we need to tackle that is through advertising but we're up for the challenge."

They are yet to advertise but plan to use social media to spread the word.

The idea for the site came while the couple were living in the United Kingdom.

Corina Cheethan was working for an art gallery in London and Warren Cheethan was working as a web developer for a bank.

"There are a lot of sites like this overseas," Warren Cheethan said.

They discovered a site in Denmark that was getting a lot of traffic and found there wasn't anything similar to it on offer in New Zealand.

With no exit plan, Warren Cheethan hopes to take the business as far as possible.

"I know that's something we should think of; at this stage we're just looking at growing.

"Getting it to market and getting it over the line is the biggest challenge."

He said they would be looking at different funding options but would love to get private investors.

Corina Cheethan, along with Trent Marshall and Cheriene Brown of Auckland, work fulltime on the site.

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- Manawatu Standard

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