By Niall O’Gorman, #FounderStories a series of conversations with founders. Latest interview with GarbShare. The GarbShare app helps you manage the clothes you own, understand what you wear, and make better decisions about what you buy.
When was Garbshare founded? Do you have any co-founders?
GarbShare was founded in 2015 by myself Daniel Evans with my co-founder Ed Kniep.
— GarbShare (@GarbShare) March 3, 2016
What does Garbshare do and who is your typical customer?
Few things allow you to express yourself, give you the freedom to define and redefine who you are more than what hangs in your closet. Yet few things are more frustrating that staring at a closet that has everything except something to wear. GarbShare aims to remove that frustration. We’re applying the lessons of inventory management, data and analytics on a micro level to help consumers take control of their personal style.
Our primary markets are (1) the “”emerging fashionista”” – skews female, 18-34, in-college or college graduate, household income likely to be more than 100k (now or in future), suburban to urban; (2) the “”stylish organizer”” – skews female, 25-44, some college or college graduate, household income likely less than 100k, suburban.
Where are you located and how many people work there?
DP: St. Louis, Missouri, USA. We currently have 6 employees
— GarbShare (@GarbShare) March 1, 2016
How are you funded and how does Garbshare make money?
We raised a seed round of $400,000 in March or 2015. We are currently raising an angel round to fund growth and R&D. We make money by aggregating user data and providing a variety of trend and market research to retailers and manufacturers. We will be turning on e-commerce within the app in the fall of 2016 – allowing users to “”shop their friends closets”” and a personalized “”wish list”” based on our proprietary scoring system (GarbFit).
Have you ever been close to failure?
In any startup, failure is close. The odds are not exactly in your favor, but thankfully, we haven’t had to stare down the end of the runway just yet. We have yet to cross a truly difficult bridge. We have been lucky.
What’s the biggest challenge Garbshare faces today?
We can deliver an amazing amount of functionality and insights that really empower consumers – if they take the time to build their closet and interact within the app. It’s a learning tool that delivers better insights with every data point, but users have to put in the effort to get the reward. We make it as easy as possible, but it’s a change to how people currently behave. That’s our biggest challenge. Like any startup, we also need to put a huge amount of effort behind funding.
— GarbShare (@GarbShare) February 16, 2016
What is your background? How did you get your start and what brought you to a life in business/startups?
DP: “I’m a creative problem-solver by nature. I started my career in UI/UX design, learned to code to ensure my designs were implemented – and users had a great experience. My career evolved into product development and eventually product management where I really found my passion for building products. When I ran into a problem with my daughter never having anything in her closet, it exposed this need in the market. I’ve been working on Garbshare since.
Sidenote: I’ve always been fascinated with the startup world. I’ve funded a few and consulted with several. It was always on my radar – if the right product or opportunity came along. This was it. ”
EK: “I went into sales out of college, realized that was not for me, went back to school for my MBA then went to work for our “”family”” business. I started a waste hauling company on the side, loved the start up space and proceeded to leave my position as CEO of Shaughnessy to work with startups”
What gets you up in the morning? And what keeps you up at night?
DP: “I love creating things from scratch – seeing an idea come to life. Every morning is another chance to see it grow, to build on that idea, to create a business.
What keeps me up at night is the trust my employees and our investors have placed in me and the responsibility to make sure they have jobs and we keep getting better – every day. I also tend to spend a lot of late nights reviewing new functionality, making sure designs and the user experience is right. ”
EK: I see most businesses as fairly similar. Top line, bottom line and a lot of effort to make those a big deal. I like the people/culture/alignment side of business. A few good people with alignment and vision can do amazing things. I like being a part of that.
What are your best and worst character traits?
DP: Creativity or Optimism. I generally see things in terms of solutions and possibilities. Perfectionism is likely my worst. I constantly remind myself that “done is better than perfect”, but it’s a struggle sometimes.
EK: Integrity would be my best. Patience would be my worst.
Are you striking a work / life balance? If so, what’s your secret?
DP: I could probably be better about it, but I love what I do. If I’m not spending time with my children or have specific plans, I generally spend my time on work or researching/planning for the business.
EK: I chose to leave the family business and redefine what work meant to me. I want to live through the process more and check boxes less. It’s not always easy but it’s profound when it’s happening.
When things are going crazy, how do you unwind?
DP: Golf or sand volleyball. Both allow me to completely unplug and just breathe.
EK: Not well. Stress can get me tied up but choosing to walk away, knowing it will be there tomorrow, is usually my best route. I’m a big proponent of people using their vacations and staying away from getting frayed. I have to work on that a little for myself.
What’s the last book or movie you’ve read/seen?
DP: “I just finished Ben Horowitz’s “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” and I’m reading “Traction” by Justin Mares, Gabriel Weinberg. My son and I see most of the super hero / scifi movies as they come out. “”Star Wars”” was our last over the holidays. ”
EK: Book – The Twenty Seventh City, movie – The Revenant
What’s your favourite gadget and why?
DP: I do love my iPhone. I love being able to stay in the loop no matter where I am. We just recently went to Poland and Dublin and without it, I would have been lost.
EK: Definitely my smartphone, it’s just so easy when on the road to get so much done and stay connected with everyone back at the office
What’s the one thing you wish you had known before you created your business/startup?
DP: How difficult it would be to find good creative talent. There are a lot of designers in the world, but there are very few who can take complex requirements and deliver something simple and elegant. If you have good UX/UI people – train them, inspire them, help them improve – they are rare.
EK: It’s funny to me…. it’s all out the to learn. Someone else has gone through all the struggles at some point but we still have to learn some things on our own. I guess if someone could have made me believe that, that would be my answer
So what’s next for GarbShare?
We’re currently in beta with a few hundred users. We have been collecting feedback and iterating for the last month. We should wrap that process up and be ready to come out of beta toward the end of March.
We are currently working on raising an angel round to support our growth and further R&D. We hope to close that round by mid-March and spend the Spring and early Summer focused on growth.
We plan to release our personalized shopping functionality in September in time for the 2016 holiday season.
#FounderStories simply a series of conversations with founders that I meet on my travels, have worked with in the past or simply find what they do interesting. These posts do not represent the views of any employer or any business that I am affiliated with.