Two former entertainment execs want to bring their experience in the creator realm into resale, combining secondhand fashion sales with livestreaming to enable a range of sellers from “bedroom entrepreneurs” to thrift shops to run their own businesses.
Danny Quick, who formerly led product for Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment, and Nathan McCartney, the former senior vice president of commerce for Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, teamed up with Charles Schwab alum Brandon Brisbon to launch fashion resale platform Galaxy in June.
The resale platform will offer vintage and upcycled clothes, jewelry and accessories, and is geared toward young buyers and sellers who express a desire for real-time, fully interactive shopping in a live video marketplace.
The marketplace was born out of the idea that the in-person experience of touching a garment and trying it on is irreplaceable. But with a video component, Galaxy builds out an alternative that capitalizes on the resale craze and enables potential sellers to be content creators in their own right.
“We found that video is an incredible and really expressive medium for secondhand fashion, which isn’t that surprising, because all the pieces are one-of-one unique,” Quick said. “We have a lot of designers on our platform who are making upcycled products, who will spend hours making the piece and want to actually show that pride in the work. We see a lot of times that people are making purchases not just because they love the item, but also because they love the creative, and the maker telling them about it.”
A secondhand shopper himself through marketplaces like Depop and eBay, Quick saw an opportunity to fill another void both platforms (and others) appeared to have. While many major marketplaces and resale platforms rely on search, there weren’t many options for sellers to know who their buyers were.
“This kind of process started from us realizing how bad this is for merchants, and it becomes really hard to build a repeat business,” Quick said. “We found really quickly that so many of these sellers serve as wardrobe curators, personal stylists, and almost friends to the people who bought from them over and over again.”
In developing the merchant side of the Galaxy platform, sellers gain access to buyers’ name and phone number, as well as other customer data so that they interact via text and continue to build a potential relationship.
On the consumer end, the app is powered by machine learning algorithms that are designed to aid shoppers in the product discovery experience. For example, the resale platform’s product recommendation algorithm can build a personalized fashion profile for every shopper.
Since Galaxy doesn’t hold inventory, with all products generally being “one of one,” according to Quick, the company wants to put its own spin on personal shopping to differentiate from Stitch Fix and Amazon Prime Try Before You Buy, which still operate under the traditional product SKU model.
Most companies use a “collaborative filtering” approach to sort products online, meaning that products are often recommended for a user based on similar user tastes. But Quick pointed out that this automated process can often limit the shopper experience in that it doesn’t necessarily promote discovery.
Inspired by YouTube’s video recommendations, Galaxy tied its product recommendation algorithms to computer vision algorithms to extract data from photos and videos of items that would be useful for the discovery process. The company uses three datasets to inform discovery: visuals like color or makeup of the garment (is it a midi dress or a crop top?); more human, subjective datasets like product descriptions and names (is it plus-size pants or a Y2K-themed T-shirt?); and consumer preferences, interests and buying habits.
“We generate most of our user data purely through product usage,” Quick said. “Hey, did you like this item? Did you watch this video? Did you click on this? In using that clickstream data, as well as those other two datasets and fitting them into our model, we’re letting the model make the determination—’Hey, we think this right item for Nathan is the intersection of x and y, or a and b.’”
In July, the company announced $7 million in funding raised from Floodgate, Snap Inc’s Yellow Accelerator, RGH Capital, Turner Novack’s Banana Capital and Homebrew, among others.
Quick told Sourcing Journal that the company will use the new capital to continue growing its team, and make investments in the Galaxy product, particularly in machine learning and our operations. But the company also has hopes for the expansion of its merchant base.
“We’re continuing to expand our merchant footprint across the country, and we’re also looking to work with brands. We’ve had some brands reach out to us,” Quick said. “Obviously, we feel like we’re an important puzzle piece in building what the future of the fashion economy and the larger economy looks like. More traditional brands are also a huge, if not bigger pieces of that puzzle. Finding creative ways that we can work with brands and provide our capabilities—whether it’s technology or community—is definitely something that’s top of mind for us.”
Currently, Galaxy has three primary “personas” that largely make up the company’s seller base: influencers looking to monetize, personal stylists who love vintage and everyday “bedroom entrepreneurs.”
The first archetype could be a high-schooler who has amassed 150,000 followers on Instagram and 200,000 on TikTok who hasn’t found a way to monetize yet, but loves fashion, said McCartney.
“For her the ability to launch a shop on Galaxy, share her favorite clothes and interact directly with her followers gives her that ability to build that relationship from the ground up, and also make money versus getting a job,” McCartney said.
The personal stylist would be a seller like Molly Hayward, who founded the successful NotJustTrash shop on Depop and creates pieces that are upcycled. But when that kind of merchant wants to build a more direct relationship with consumers to launch a long-term business, they would ideally instead opt to sell on Galaxy due to its interactive features, McCartney said.
Finally, the “bedroom entrepreneur” is a merchant who is focused on building a business.
“This is a way better use of my time, because I can build that relationship from the ground up,” McCartney said. “And while I don’t have a social following that’s massive, I know that everyone who’s supporting me right now is essentially a super fan. And I want to be able to continue to build that relationship with them. Because the better I can serve them, the more we can grow together.”