There’s organic, upcycled, recycled, vintage, and many other ways you can find an outlet to be a more conscious shopper. But Bib + Tuck, a members-only online community for women, is upping the fashionable ante to trading as the new green. As in, swapping with some of the hottest women in the country including designers like Mara Hoffman to Manhattan fashion editors who get too many clothing and accessory freebies and not enough time to wear them.
Founders Sari Azout and Sari Bibliowicz (yes, two Saris), say they bonded from the beginning “over their identical bell-bottom jeans and petit bateau undershirts.”
From the beginning, their love story was defined by a closeness of closets. Over 20 years later, where fate found both Saris as college graduates living in the same building in NYC, the two began “sharing clothes as a way to save time, space, and money and with small budgets, and even smaller spaces, access to each other’s closets multiplied their fashion selections.”
In addition to their curated cavern of fashionable goodness, the two say they bring together the hippest people so that each can find the “new” in another’s “old.”
Ecouterre caught up with Azout to see what she had to say about her business and her most solid piece of sales advice.
You’ve been asked a million times but we’re going to ask, too…why in a sea of reuse did you decide to launch Bib + Tuck and how is it different?
Bib + Tuck is all about giving and taking, not just giving or taking. There are a lot of places online where you can sell your clothes but we didn’t like the existing dynamic. We set out to create a community where real money was secondary to participation. Bib + Tuck is more than just a marketplace. We are a brand, a lifestyle, a community, a point of view. At Bib + Tuck, you won’t have to scroll through pages of mom jeans and Juicy sweatpants to find something you like. It’s a beautifully curated experience.
Do you think clothes sharing is the new green?
Yes, absolutely. I used to be the kind of shopper that would buy five tops for under $100 at Forever 21. At the time, it seemed like a guilt-free way to stay on trend. I would use one or two; the rest would stay in my closet for a few years, and be disposed years later. There’s no excuse for this now. Being able to easily share/sell your clothes is a game changer. Now, when you purchase a garment, you can buy pieces that are more valuable and higher quality because you’ll be able to trade them in for something else or get a return on it. Essentially, clothes sharing lengthens the lifetime of a garment. And if every American reused just one shirt, we’d save 210 billion gallons of water. That’s big.
When it comes to women being original in how they dress, do you think there’s a level of fear or apprehension to do something different? To look different than the mannequins in the Forever 21 windows?
I like to think that there’s a movement underway where people are shifting their attitudes and willing to pay a little more for clothing produced in ethically sound conditions, and for clothing that honors craftsmanship and uniqueness over fast fashion. We are doing our part as a company to communicate that importance of replacing that faster cheaper mentality with a a triple bottom line that accounts for the social and environmental costs of goods. The disaster in Bangladesh represents rock bottom. I think people are realizing that someone, somewhere is paying the price for what seems like harmless and inexpensive retail therapy here in the Western world. We’re still a long way from where we should be, but the sudden rise of second hand marketplaces means we’re moving in the right direction.
You’ve gotten some great people to share on Bib + Tuck, how do you go about getting new people and do they already follow you?
We have never paid a cent for followers or influencers. People are naturally excited by what we’re doing. The pre-owned, secondhand market doesn’t really have that cool factor and appeal, so we set out to make barter sexy and present second hand clothing in a visually appealing way. When you create something people love and need, the product spreads virally and organically.
What’s your best bit of sales advice to a person who has only bought new their whole life?
I’ll say this: The average garment requires 135 liters of water to make, enough to meet the needs (three glasses a day) of 45 people. 800 million people are living with no access to clean water. I’ll then say that most, if not everything I’m wearing I got on Bib + Tuck, and show them the goods. Tucking is the new shopping. It’s a no-brainer.