Samuel Spitz is a fan of used clothing, but he discovered that he was wasting hours looking for specific items on a variety of resale websites.
With all of the sites, the market is very fragmented, Spitz told. Additionally, it was very difficult for me to find what I was looking for once I was on a website because you can only see a small portion of what is present. Frequently, the item I was looking for would not be readily available in either my desired size or price range. I just keep spending hours every week searching, searching, searching because I love to find the deals.
That’s when he had the thought to group all of those used listings under a single heading. He co-founded Gently, formerly Wearloom, in March 2021 with fellow Rice University alum Kunai Rai. Spitz referred to it as “Amazon for secondhand,” allowing customers to shop across multiple websites, such as Poshmark, Depop, and eBay, from a single location.
The initial “technology” used by the business consisted of a form that customers could fill out with the specific clothing they are seeking, and Spitz and Rai would manually compile the results before emailing the customer back. The two were providing service to 500–600 people daily by the end of the first month, and by the second month, that number had risen into the thousands.
When managing all of those manual searches became impossible, they began developing Gently, which is now the main online marketplace for secondhand goods.
The company partners with websites like eBay, ThredUp, Vestiaire Collective, Rebag, Grailed, GOAT, StockX, and TheLuxuryCloset so that users can search, filter, and receive alerts from secondhand clothing websites. It currently serves tens of thousands of users daily. gently profits from the sales it brings to those sites.
It functions similarly to how Kayak handles travel, according to Spitz. We also bring in new clients who may not have previously shopped with them.
The global market for used clothing is anticipated to grow by 127% by 2026, which is three times faster than the overall global apparel market, according to ThredUP’s 2022 Resale Report published in May. The secondhand market alone in the United States experienced “record growth” of 32% in 2021 and was anticipated to more than double in the following four years to reach an estimated value of 82 billion.
There are numerous marketplaces and startups operating in this market in addition to those already mentioned, such as Olive, Archive, Curtsy, Rebag, and Treet, all of which have received venture capital funding in the previous two years. Lyst and ShopStyle, which is a Rakuten brand, are the two companies Spitz views as his main rivals.
Today was Gently’s turn to announce the 2 million in pre-seed funding it received from over 20 investors, including Jason Calacanis’ Launch, Austen Allred of Bloom Tech, Jon Oringer of Shutterstock, Peter Rahal of RXBar, Dorm Room Fund, and V1.VC.
By 2024, Spitz projects that there will be a million daily users. With the additional funds, he plans to invest in technology development in order to enhance search, introduce SMS functionality, and develop a sizing function that will require users to input their size only once. Along with adding new employees to its six-person staff, the business is expanding into new markets, including furniture. In 2023, he also plans to pursue a Series A.
The majority of people don’t shop for used items online because it takes so long and is so difficult, he continued. “We can assist those businesses in increasing sales and encouraging more people to shop.”