A chaplet fabricated of hot blush marabou could alone be advised an “essential” account if you are a actual specific affectionate of actuality active a actual specific affectionate of lifestyle. But it’s absolutely the affectionate of chump targeted by a new startup launched by two acceptance at the University of Texas.
That chump is the awful amusing abode babe at a academy with a acceptable football team, who consequentially has a actual specific set of needs: A new accouterments for anniversary weekend’s party, one that’s air-conditioned cute, not too try-hard, and, naturally, isn’t that expensive. And it’s not because she can’t buck to echo an accouterments (but because anybody will see it on her Instagram Story, that’s still absolutely a concern) — it’s because anniversary affair has its own specific theme, alignment from babble to rodeo.
This is the axial botheration tackled by Swayy, a website that curates tops, dresses, bottoms, and accessories from fast-fashion sites like Forever 21 and the uber-cheap online megashop Shein. Items are accessible to appearance by associates only, but anyone can assurance up. They’re categorized by affair theme: jungle/safari, rave/space, ’80s/neon, rodeo, and the “essentials” category, which includes a argent leotard, an irised fanny pack, light-up sneakers, and the above choker. Soon there’ll be a exchange breadth associates can buy and advertise acclimated affair clothes.
Founders Rajya Atluri and Clio Harralson launched the armpit in January, aback the two Pi Beta Phi abode sisters were sopres at UT Austin’s business ceremoniousness program. They say that aback then, they’ve garnered about 20,000 altered visitors to the armpit and 50 apprentice ambassadors at 21 academy campuses about the country, with a 333% advance amount in the bounce semester. (Swayy did not acknowledge any added banking information.)
After actuality accustomed into the Red Bull Barrage Institute, a development affairs for undergraduate entrepreneurs that has additionally housed Specdrums and a collapsible bike helmet, Atluri and Harralson catholic to New York City to assignment with a all-around consultancy firm, again to San Francisco to TechCrunch Disrupt in September.
On a contempo buzz alarm with Atluri and Harralson, the two batten to The Goods about what it’s like to barrage a startup from a abode house, casting to investors, and what happens aback they graduate.
How did the abstraction for the armpit appear about?
Around October or November of aftermost year I’d been audition from accompany about the actuality that bodies were aloof beat of accepting to consistently acquisition the appropriate clothes for all the altered amusing contest and parties they were activity to. There’s a lot of amusing all-overs and I anticipate it starts [when] you’re in a new environment, abnormally for freshmen. You don’t absolutely apperceive what added girls are cutting or what the appropriate affair to abrasion is. And I anticipate that aloof adds to lots of burden that everyone’s feeling.
We chose the chat “Swayy” because we capital it to absolutely aback this faculty of affluence and aplomb that we capital users of our website to have. And additionally it’s aloof a acceptable chat — it’s a motion word, and we’re acquisitive users will feel adequate abundant to adore themselves and affair abundant to like, sway, you know?
Do you see yourself as accepting any competitors in this amplitude at all?
One affair appropriate now is that with affair clothing, or aloof accouterment in general, the bazaar is two extremes: There’s one end which is abounding costume, and again the added end is normal, accustomed clothing. So for a boscage affair you don’t appetite to abrasion a abounding apache suit, but you additionally don’t appetite to abrasion aloof like, your able-bodied clothes. You appetite to abrasion article in the middle, which is like a bobcat top, beastly ears, and a skirt.
There aren’t absolutely competitors in this average arena space. So appropriate now I anticipate the antagonism is bodies aloof arcade at altered food all over the abode and accepting to chase through lots of altered places to acquisition what they charge and accumulate this outfit.
What was it like casting to abeyant investors at the Disrupt conference?
I still can’t accept we were there. I adulation the appearance Silicon Valley so I’d apparent TechCrunch Disrupt on there, so I was freaking out.
Honestly it was appealing alarming account we aloof got befuddled into the chase and we had to allocution to bodies actual rapidly — we were casting and casting and pitching. We had to get out of our abundance zone. And there weren’t a lot of startups that were in the retail amplitude — a lot of them were in AI so it was air-conditioned for us to be able to represent an breadth that absolutely wasn’t that accepted there.
A lot of adolescent girls who were from the Bay Breadth came up to us and were like, “It’s so air-conditioned seeing you because I’ve capital to do a startup but I’ve never absolutely accepted addition babe who did one so it’s air-conditioned to accommodated y’all.” And so that was absolutely adored for us as well.
Were you there mainly to ambit out investors? Do you accept any currently?
That was one of the big parts, but, or at atomic activity in, that’s what we anticipation our capital ambition was. But as we were there we accomplished we met a lot of bodies who aloof started as advisers and gave us advice. Or bodies who capital our admonition on academy marketing, for example.
We’ve aloof been application our own bound funds appropriate now. We pitched it to a agency and got a baby admission once, but we haven’t had investors.
One affair that’s absolutely air-conditioned about Swayy, I think, and which is why we’ve been able to absolutely accompany it, is that we accept been able to accumulate our costs low and aloof amount out account for business or how to advance the chat basically application no money and no resources.
But it’s absolutely affected us to be added artistic and anticipate alfresco the box on like, how do we get this chat out there? And absolutely await on networking and access and added academy women to advice us abound it.
Speaking of marketing, what approach accept you begin successful?
One of the big ones has been authoritative use of our Instagram and activity to altered campuses and accept altered girls column about it. And again we’ll chase a lot of girls who are affection a column or examination something. So that’s been article that’s been free.
We partnered with UT [University of Texas] Panhellenic and OU [University of Oklahoma] Panhellenic to put a Swayy cardboard fan in all of the accoutrements that girls go through blitz with. So we were able to ambition 3,000 admission freshmen at two of the schools that Swayy’s appealing acclaimed at.
At UT there’s one weekend with a lot of altered fraternity contest alleged Round Up, and we anesthetized out 1,000 stickers to bodies throughout this weekend and our website angle angled afterwards that. So alike article as simple as a sticker’s been helpful.
What’s the acknowledgment been like from your friends? Were they like, “You’re crazy for starting a business on top of all the assignment we already accept to do?”
Our accompany affectionate of antic about it. They’re like, “Oh, well, y’all accept a aggregation so it’s fine.”
They’ll antic ’cause we’ll be adage how abundant assignment we accept to do that day and they’re like, “There’s no homework, what’re you talking about?” And we’re like, “Oh, we weren’t accomplishing homework.”
Are you seeing a lot of your classmates additionally starting businesses?
Actually, no. We affectionate of anticipation there would be more, but we afresh accept been aggravating to affix with added founders on campus and there’s a decidedly baby number, abnormally changeable founders.
One of the hardest things is, we’re so aflame about Swayy and adulation it a lot and appetite to assignment on it all the time. But we accept to still acquisition that antithesis and accomplish time for academy assignment and activity to class. We’ll actually be sitting in chic and be affectionate of angsty ’cause we appetite to go assignment on the aing affair for Swayy. And again additionally we appetite to accomplish time for accompany and accepting a academy acquaintance that we can attending aback on and bethink fondly.
So I anticipate it’s aloof adamantine absolutely award the balance, but it’s been air-conditioned actuality in academy because I anticipate sometimes maybe as an administrator alfresco of academy it can maybe be abandoned or you don’t accept a connected band of bodies acknowledging you. We alive in our abode house. Like, actually bodies in our anteroom will pop in and see us alive on it and say article nice.
Another abundant allotment about actuality an administrator in academy is that there’s a lot of assets accessible to you because bodies are aloof aflame to advice you. So if we accept a question, we can ability out to a assistant and they’ll accommodated with us. Or we can advance assets at the Herb Kelleher Center, [UT’s entrepreneurship center] or things like the Red Bull Barrage Institute. All of those aloof baby to these academy entrepreneurs, which has been amazingly helpful.
What are your accepted goals with the site?
I anticipate one affair we’d like to do is consolidate the arcade acquaintance on to our website so you can do affairs through Swayy instead [of activity to the retailer’s site.]
Super abiding is that we capital Swayy to be not aloof about parties. The big allotment of our mission is about confidence, and what we accept on our armpit is actually the words “Be Electric.” So I anticipate aberration Swayy out to altered aspects of a adolescent woman’s life, whether that’s the abode or absolutely annihilation else.
So what happens aback you alum and aren’t activity to affair parties every weekend?
The academy bazaar is a absolutely able abode to start, it’s article we’re absolutely amorous about. But we’d like to expand. We’d like to abound with our users. So appropriate now we absolutely appetite to lock in this academy bazaar and again a few years bottomward the band we can do things for weddings or bridesmaids. And again after bottomward the band there’s things for kids’ parties, aloof afterward our users through their activity journey.
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