While shopping online one day, Hannah Le realized the need for a platform that allows transactions between upcycled fashion designers and shoppers looking for unique, sustainable pieces.
Le created RE.STATEMENT, an online shopping marketplace for upcycled clothing. Before RE.STATEMENT, designers were limited to Etsy, which focused on handmade pieces, or Poshmark and Depop, which was dedicated to secondhand finds. Upcycling fashion designers didn’t have a unique platform to sell to, and shoppers were dispersed as well.
“These marketplaces are really good for what they do,” Le says on this week’s episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast, “but whenever I think of someone looking for something unique and sustainable, it’s hard for me to imagine finding it in these marketplaces.”
Platform soft launched in December, with 25 upcycling designers and more than 1,200 buyers on the company’s waiting list for nearly nine months. Now that the site is live, Le hopes to provide both buyers and sellers with quick access to transactions.
“Most designers give up if they don’t sell a product within three months,” Le explains. “This is something RE.STATEMENT has dedicated its business model to – enabling products to sell faster and at a higher value than any other marketplace.”
Le says it starts with buyers to see exactly what they are looking for, then seeks out designers who want to sell their pieces, and the current platform is dynamic and flexible according to the needs of users in its community.
“Even today, it changes every day depending on how users interact with the website and what sellers say they need – really communicating with buyers and sellers is how the market evolves,” he says.
RE.STATEMENT’s ability to evolve quickly stems from its early stage, Le explains on the show. It has yet to receive corporate funding or hire anyone other than technical support. He says this allows users to quickly make changes or try new things.
“For me, there’s a lot of things I want to prove to myself before involving others,” she says. “Initially, new opportunities are emerging for buyers to interact with the website so we can continue to learn from them.”
Le has already proven himself some success. Last year, she took home one of three awards given at the city’s Liftoff Houston competition. Providing field practice and mentorship to Houston entrepreneurs, the competition awarded RE.STATEMENT $10,000 to the winners in the product category.
“I wanted to see how far I could go,” Le says of the competition, where he introduced his work to Mayor Sylvester Turner and a whole new audience. “I’ve shot before but this was my first time on stage and I felt like I belonged there.”
Le shares more about her vision for RE.STATEMENT and the key role Houston played in the series’ success.