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Alyssa Mariano, Co-Founder of Bazaara, was able to spot new and emerging trends in sustainability and implement them in an online fashion reselling marketplace

By Nisthula Nagarajan

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Published: Thu 24 Jun 2021, 9:48 PM

It was 2019 when a lightbulb lit up in Alyssa Mariano's head; she was rummaging through what seemed to be endless piles of her barely-used clothing and wondered why there wasn't an online marketplace dedicated to buying and selling pre-loved clothing in the UAE. 

Being someone who is extremely passionate about the environment and climate change and likes to have control over her items being sold, she wondered if others felt the same. With no adequate options for resale or upcycling clothing, many potentially throw gently-used clothing items away. Recent research states that one piece of clothing can take the equivalent of between 2,000 to 2,500 litres of water to produce; a statistic that surely is not sustainable.  

Thus, Bazaara was born. It is a peer-to-peer social marketplace app for buying and selling preloved clothing, accessories and home goods in the UAE to decrease the impact the fashion industry has on the environment by providing a seamless experience for users to buy, sell and trade pre-loved and vintage treasures. 

How it works for sellers: Users simply download the Bazaara app and create a profile. To list an item for sale, simply click the camera icon and upload a few images and/or videos, choose the price on the listing (the courier charge and Bazaara fee is automatically added on top of that to equal the total list price), and describe and categorise the item. Sellers can choose if they want to allow negotiations and returns on their listings. Once a buyer submits a sales request to purchase an item, and after the seller accepts it, the courier is automatically dispatched to pick up the item from the seller's location and drop it at the buyer's. After the item is delivered, the funds are automatically transferred into the seller's Bazaara account, after which they can withdraw to their own bank account.   

How it works for buyers: Buyers have the option of browsing within categories, searching and even filtering listings by size and colour. Once a buyer selects an item, they can either purchase the item at full price to submit a sales request or make an offer (if the seller allows for offers on that listing). Once the seller approves the sale, the courier will be automatically dispatched to deliver the item to the buyer within two days. 

To build a seamless, tech-based community for people to trade their gently-used clothing, Mariano and her co-founder thought of ways to enhance Bazaara's user experience, from the moment users create an account to the full sales process. This included the integration of payments and shipping on the app. Doing so has actually led to a safer, socially distanced experience for everyone. 

Since the courier and shipping process is completely integrated into the process, buyers and sellers can trade from the comfort of their own homes, which leads to a safer and seamless experience. Once the courier picks up an item from a seller, it safely delivers it to the warehouse for processing (and repackaging if the seller doesn't have a box). From there the courier will deliver it to the buyer. This full process can take two days, depending on the seller's availability.   

Mariano has learned throughout this process that it's important for an early-stage startup to find product-market fit, talk to early users and adopters, incorporate their feedback, and iterate fast to stay in front of new trends competitors and the industry. Ideation began in late 2019, and the tech was developed throughout the pandemic and continues to be developed innovate for future market fit. 

Creating a product that will have a long-term positive impact on the community and environment is the priority. According to Mariano, the resale market has continued to grow rapidly throughout 2020 - recent studies say the secondhand market is set to reach $64 billion in the next five years and in 2019 the resale market grew 25 times faster than the overall retail market. The company anticipates seeing the same trends in the UAE; the pandemic has shined a spotlight on climate change and the damage that certain industries have on the environment, so more people have transitioned to conscious shopping and are focused on reducing their impact on the environment. 

The UAE has been a great launchpad for this type of product - since it is such a dynamic market, it allows Bazaara to be ahead of the trends and test new user features according to those trends. It hopes to soon implement a feature that rewards repeat users and buyers.  

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