With curated e-commerce markets popping up in the digital space right and left since the dawn of Craigslist, there has yet to be one that reigns supreme over big time shopping sites like eBay and Amazon. But there's a new site in town ready to tackle luxury consignment — this time with über-trendy closets and content.
Material Wrld launched in late August as a curated online fashion community, giving access to cool personal closets from around the world — but unlike most sites that are based in only a “buy or sell” set up, users can engage with one another through “liking,” commenting, and sharing photos, much like Pinterest board.
The site, founded by Harvard Business School grads and friends Rie Yano and Jie Zheng (who have both worked in the fashion industry previously), approaches the content first, then the commerce — a much different tactic than its predecessors.
The goal is to encourage the documentation and sharing the full lifecycle of shopping, says cofounder Yano. The person selling a product shows it off on his or her profile page, then someone sees it and buys it, then uploads it to their page to share with their followers.
For bloggers, this seems like this sharing, selling, buying, and sharing again process is a natural progression from the typical transaction-based e-commerce sites. You can “humble-brag about your purchases” as you would on social sharing sites, and customize your closet page to express your own style. This element of “interaction” is what is missing from current e-commerce sites; instead, Material Wrld is a cool place to hang out, see beautiful things, and spend time.
So, how can you optimize Material Wrld as a blogger?
Anyone in the United States can currently submit their finds to Material Wrld to be held into consideration to host a closet page. (The submissions are screened to preserve quality standard, notes Yano.)
Once you become a part of the community, you can post photos of things you like in general, even if they aren't for sale, to gain influence and exposure within the community — this, theoretically, will eventually help with selling your items.
The platform itself allows you to mold it to your brand and taste, and you can connect it to your blog so that the items in your closet are constantly being refreshed. The selling aspect, furthermore, is made easy with a streamlined single page listing, optional “box-to-the-door” services, and a one-click feature to list favorite items for sale.
Furthermore, any follower who has “liked” or commented on your photos will get a notification that item is switched to a “sale” item, resulting in a built in group of potential buyers, making the liquidity issue less apparent.
What does the future hold for Material Wrld?
Eventually, the platform hopes to incorporate integration with Instagram, develop a mobile app, as well as a “private bid” option where buyers can make an offer on items that may not originally be for sale. They also hope to soon include groups, where users with similar obsessions can congregate (think: “Louboutin shoes”).
Currently, the site has 5,700 registered users after being live via a beta site for 3 weeks, and includes featured tastemakers such as the DANNIJO sisters, Nicole Loher, Steven Alan and Samantha Lim.