“As young as I can remember what businesses were I‘ve wanted to start my own,” said Joshua Chestang, native Chicagoan and founder of Threadest. “I took this path because I wanted to be greater; I wanted to be greater than the average, [and] the only way to do that is by loving what you do.” Threadest, an apparel and accessories marketplace fused with a social photo sharing community, seeks to simplify online buying experiences for style savvy consumers.
“I’m trying to solve a problem that a lot of people are having on sites like Instagram,” said Joshua. “You might see some clothing in your timeline but in order to buy the clothes you have to click the link in the bio, open a new browser, and once again search for the clothing you just saw.” He described the current process of online purchasing as outdated and painstaking for buyers/sellers. Joshua suggested that retailers have the right idea by posting pictures of products, yet their effort equals sound advertising rather than selling products.
“My idea is that we can increase impulse buying decisions and make the sales cycle shorter for these brands if we can just create an in app purchasing experience.” The app is like a blend of Instagram and Amazon. It is comprised of two different feeds. The “Feature” feed has sponsored ads from brands that are seeking exposure. The “You” feed allows users to engage with other members to share styles and photos. Users will be able to purchase items with a few taps using Apple Pay. “We think that by fusing these two communities (Instagram and Amazon) that it creates a sweet spot for brands to actually sell and for consumers to engage in a social community.”
Joshua and his co-founder Trice Laquinte have acquired over 1000 early access signups and 1000 users. The app’s official launch is set for late April. “We’re shooting for 100K in revenue by the end of the year,” he said. There is already an attractive promotion behind the app: a social share discount. “If you see an item that you really like and you’re planning on purchasing it, brands can offer you a discount for advertising on their behalf within other social communities like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, [and] Tumblr. I think this is really important for new brands because that way they don’t have to spend a lot of money on advertising and they get to increase those impulse buying decisions from their potential buyers.”
Joshua started working on Threadest himself last June. He has four years experience in application development. The idea for this startup was sparked by Joshua’s frustration with current online buying. “I’d come across a brand I like, and I had to do a lot of digging to get to that product.” He believed that the process could be made more efficient, so he conducted firsthand market research. Joshua went to a nearby clothing store named Member’s Only Boutique and asked what was most difficult about selling products online. After repeating this question to hundreds of other brands, Joshua compiled the data and got to work. Also, a pilot of the discount program mentioned above has already proven successful with Member’s Only Boutique.
His road has been filled with ups and downs. Joshua has worked on other startups that did not pan out, and he’s gotten varying degrees of rejection with Threadest, but he remained determined. “You have to focus on the problem. Every time I got feedback I literally just listened. That really made me a better entrepreneur. The important thing is to listen to the customers as opposed to building your own solution to the problem.” Joshua has also gotten help from his team. Threadest has a designer in residence and 3 advisors. “One of the advisors on Threadest is Bill Stratton, who advises Numeric Technologies and is also Chairman of the University of Illinois Alumni Association. Bill has given us access to a vast community within just a couple of months He’s been giving us a lot of insight on how to expand our network.”
At the interview’s close, Joshua had the following shared the following advice for aspiring tech startups:
“Go through the customer development process. Read the Start Up Owners Manual by Steven Blank and Bob Dorf. Don’t take anything personal. Look at all feed back objectively. Don’t take any of it personal. It’s not going to get built over night. Plan out those steps early.”
Joshua also has a GroupMe for fashion called “Digital Fash.” Check it out and join the group!
This article originally appeared on Dreamer Loop
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Photo credit: Threadest