By Maggie Freleng
Being a 20-something is difficult -- even more difficult when you’re a business owner trying to take down consumer culture.
“It is a lot harder than you think,” says 27-year-old Sari Bibliowicz, co-founder of “Bib + Tuck,” a fashion website for “shopping without spending.”
The 1-year-old business is also celebrating its anniversary this week with the launch of their new iPhone app on Nov. 20.
“Starting a business is extremely difficult so make sure it's what you want and you're ready to commit,” she says. “From my experience, I also recommend doing it with someone else. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for my business partner,” referring to Sari Azout, 26.
Sari A and Sari B, as they charmingly call themselves, have known each other since preschool.
Both born in Colombia, their paths crossed again in New York where they lived together and naturally shared clothes.
Loving fashion, but also being in their 20s, Bibliowicz and Azout didn’t want to spend their limited resources on haute couture.
“Society encourages consumer behavior in the fashion industry,” Bibliowicz says. “It is very unsustainable for normal women.”
Trying to solve the problem for themselves -- how to be economically conscious while looking good -- they decided if this was a problem they had, other young women must have the same problem.
Queue Bib + Tuck.
“The whole concept came about from our trying to solve our own issue of refreshing our wardrobes without spending more money and buying more stuff,” she said.
The online marketplace and community for creative people who love fashion currently has about 25,000 members. Women in their 20s in urban cities --New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami --are the predominant users.
The Bib + Tuck mission, includes consumer education and philanthropy surrounding sustainability--and is also part of their appeal.
“It’s not only about sharing and creating community, but being more conscious and sustainable when consuming, ” Bibliowicz says. “We want to change the way women consume fashion.”
To bring light to one specific issue, Bib + Tuck will donate $1 to Charity water for every trade made. Seven hundred gallons of water are used to produce one T-shirt while 800 million people across the globe live without water.
Commencing the donations about three weeks ago Bibliowicz says, “It’s been really great a way for us to give back to the community and do more innovative things and really promote the message of being more sustainable in the way we consume fashion.”
According to studies, about 99 percent of clothing that is thrown away can be recycled.
The way this high-fashion recycling process works is through “bucks,” Bib + Tuck currency.
Say you have a Chloe sweater (one of the brands listed among other high-end designers as being accepted by the site) and you list it for $100; this translates to 100 bucks. If you sell this sweater, you now have 100 bucks to shop someone elses closet. No real money is needed unless you want to actually buy bucks if you are short a few for those much-needed Vera Wang shoes.
Shopping on Bib + Tuck doesn't feels like it is used stuff. Everything is presented as new clothing would be.
Bib + Tuck also features aesthetically pleasing, sexy, curated, and interesting second-hand clothing thanks to another young woman, Ilana Savdie, 27, the original and official creative director.
“As a company our challenge has been been changing the way people perceive second-hand clothing and finding a way to make it look attractive and appealing while making the process fun and easy,” Bibliowicz says. “We're trying to bridge the gap between buying used and buying new.”
However, challenges aside, these young entrepreneurs have certainly succeeded in their mission.
“Many times, you don't know the limits of what you're capable of achieving,” Bibliowicz says. “It takes a lot of dedication, hard work, and trust in yourself to make it happen.”
Not new advice, but it's successful, just like Bib + Tuck.