Features

Alum makes ‘bartering sexy’ with closet swapping site

By
Senior Staff Writer

Sari Azout ’10 and her childhood friend Sari Bibliowicz understand the experience of wandering into your best friend’s closet and finding a sweater there that she never wears – but that you know would go perfectly with a pair of jeans you own.

“One lady’s trash is someone else’s treasure,” Azout said. “We wanted to make bartering something sexy.” 

In pursuit of this goal, they cofounded last month the online shopping market Bib and Tuck, which brings unwanted clothes from the closets of women across the nation to cyberspace. The website, which currently only offers women’s clothing, has already been featured in Vogue, Elle and Fast Company and continues to grow rapidly in membership.

Threading the needle 

Bib and Tuck allows members to sell clothes they don’t want anymore for “bucks,” which can be used to purchase goods from other members. Members decide on the value of the clothing and list the price in bucks. “You’re shopping without spending,” Azout said.

When a member wishes to sell an item, it is referred to as a “bib,” while a purchase is called a “tuck.”  

Azout, an international student from Colombia, graduated from Brown with a concentration in Commerce, Organizations and Entrepreneurship. She said she was particularly inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit at Brown but wasn’t sure what she wanted to pursue after graduation. 

Initially, she took a job at Barclays Capital in New York as a bond trader and moved in with Bibliowicz, who was her childhood friend in Colombia. Bibliowicz was working for the travel section of Gilt Groupe, an online members-only shopping destination that “provides instant insider access to today’s top designer labels,” according to the website. Bibliowicz took the job after graduating from New York University in 2009, with a major in marketing and hospitality.

“NYU was a great place to really immerse yourself in a diverse group of people,” she said. “That’s where I fell in love with style and fashion.”

Though Azout had a steady job, she said they “shopped so much, (they) would have no money.” Azout and Bibliowicz, who refer to themselves as ‘Sari A’ and ‘Sari B’ on their website, would “(shop) each other’s closets,” swapping clothing and accessories. 

Using their savings, they came up with the idea for Bib and Tuck.

Stitch by stitch 

Though the shortened version of her name is “Bib,” Bibliowicz said it is just a coincidence that the name of the business is Bib and Tuck. The name was fashioned from the old English phrase “wear your best bib and tucker,” Azout said, which literally means to wear your best clothes. 

“Most people don’t use 40 percent of their wardrobe,” she said. “It’s really a hot space.”

“There is not much of a creative community online,” Azout added. The website allows users to post stylish pictures of their clothing – sometimes straight out of Instagram – which gives it a chic and unique vibe.

Azout added that the venture could be good for the environment. Because she’s “focused on quality over quantity,” Azout said the site extends the life span of a piece of clothing or accessory and allows for fewer resources to be used in the long run.

“The average household disposes about 70 pounds of clothing each year,” she said. Bib and Tuck offers members the opportunity to trade unwanted clothing rather than trashing it.

 

Bibs, tucks, bucks

The website is strictly a members-only shopping experience, much like Gilt, JackThreads and RueLaLa. While they originally sent an invitation email to 100 friends in July, Azout said, the number of members has grown to 2,500 members.

“We now have a waitlist of 5,000,” she said.

Azout and Bibliowicz handed out bracelets with the invitation code to some fashionable New Yorkers who they passed by on the street. 

Once in, members can invite friends, who will then receive invitation codes as well. Alternatively, aspiring members can enter their email addresses on the website and wait to receive a code. 

“We go through the waitlist each day and accept a few people,” Azout said. “We want to build an online community for creative people.” 

Once invited, members are given a rundown of the process called “What the Tuck.”

The site operates similar to Twitter, allowing members to follow each other. Social media is a large part of the website’s outreach. Members are offered “free bucks” for bibbing an item right out of Instagram, following the site on Twitter and connecting with Facebook. 

Bib and Tuck’s Instagram feed is filled with chic photos of snake-skinned high heels, nude Celine heels and a pair of bubble gum shoes. The caption reads “Warning: will bring you up when you’re down … Go tuck ‘em.” 

The range is “from Zara to Prada,” Azout said. “We have about 50 percent designer clothing, 25 percent indie one-of-a-kind clothing and 25 percent of lower-end clothing like H&M and Zara.” 

Among the Editor’s Picks are a vintage red sweater from the 1980s with a ram on the front that reads “100 percent cashmere”  for 40 bucks, a pair of pointy, black lace Dior shoes for 300 bucks, a one-shoulder bright green floral Ralph Lauren dress for 250 bucks and a magenta and violet psychedelic tank for 25 bucks.

Users are encouraged to take unique and captivating photos of their bibs. 

“We think that if it’s worth selling, it’s worth styling,” reads the website’s frequently asked questions.

Once an item is tucked, Bib and Tuck sends the bibber a shipping label and a box to ship the package out to the member who tucked. 

“It’s nice to receive packages,” Bibliowicz said. “Members are encouraged to write a little note like ‘Thank you so much for tucking my piece.’ It personalizes it a bit.”

Azout said though the site is exclusively for women’s clothing at the moment, she wants to “dominate that space” before potentially expanding to include men’s clothing as well.

Corina Arnal ’14 was one of the first test group members to join the site. Since then, she has tucked a shirt, a pair of pants and shoes. 

“I was most iffy on the shoes because there’s something gross about having had feet in them before,” Arnal said. “But the girl said she bought them after her heel broke a couple of blocks from home. The tag was still at the bottom.”

Arnal said she bibs items she doesn’t want anymore, ones that don’t fit properly or “something that my mom got me that’s really nice, but that’s not really me,” she said.

She added that she enjoys the “curated community” of members, as well as the “cute
sy propaganda” sprinkled throughout the site. “Everyone is excited to be participating in it,” she said.