Silk Roll Online Clothing Exchange

silk rollJanet Wu and Erin Wold created Silk Roll to solve a big problem women have: closet space. Their research showed only 25% of women's clothes get worn more than once, the rest just gathers dust for years in their closets. Janet thought that if women could get a fair value for their once-worn clothes, they could free up closet space and take advantage of other women's once worn clothes at the same time.

That thought was the genesis of Silk Roll, an online clothing exchange for women. Janet met Erin at a BBQ and told her about her proposed concept. Not long after their first meeting, they crowdfunded nearly $105,000 to get the concept rolling.

The way it works is twofold. Anyone can go shop on the site for the literally tens of thousands of dresses, business suits and other fancy outfits. The meat and potatoes of the business is the trade-in box. If you have old clothing, you send it in. Silk Roll only wants high end stuff, so they vet every article of clothing that gets sent in. If your clothes are accepted, you earn points based on a fair dollar value for what you send. You then use your points to buy something else from their extensive catalogue.

It's a great way for women to both clear out their closets and get a new outfit in return. It keeps wardrobes fresh without breaking the bank, too. So far, they've processed over $1 million in transactions. They make their money via a 7% service fee. So far, reviews are almost universally positive. Silk Roll probably wants a Shark's help scaling the business. Will a Shark roll with this company?

My Take on Silk Roll

This business is geared toward female apparel, so I'm not a customer. I like the idea though. It's like an old fashioned church clothing swap meet on a global scale. As the spouse of a clothes hoarder, I see the value of “clearing out and cleaning up!” I also like that it's reusing responsibly.

As for the refreshed wardrobe, if a woman can spruce up her wardrobe with less expensive clothes, I'm all for that too! On the Silk Roll website, they say there's $93 billion worth of unused clothing in America's closets. That would buy a lot of cocktail dresses! I'm in.

Do Sharks Dress Up a Deal?

Revenue will drive this pitch. Janet and Erin need to explain how they make money to the Sharks. Since they don't really have a product, they'll need to articulate the value to the customer too. Customer acquisition costs, margins and other costs need to be explained in detail.

That said, this is going to be a tough sell to the Sharks. The sheer volume of inventory is overwhelming. Many times in the past, Sharks shied away from businesses with too many SKUs. This could be a problem for Silk Roll. I don't think they do a deal. If they do, it's with Mark because he's the only Shark on the panel that has resources to scale this business.

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.

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