Featured Startup Pitch: Cuturia is streamlining and simplifying resale of luxury items

By Editor October 24, 2012
Cuturia logo

Cuturia logoCompany: Cuturia

Website: www.cuturia.com

Founders: Jon Eichelberger, David Mollison, Eric Norberg and James Longeretta

Headquarters: Los Angeles

Investors: Angels

Twitter: @cuturiaapp

Facebook: facebook.com/cuturiaapp

Brief Company Description: Cuturia is a fashion resale network, available as a mobile app or online, with an all-inclusive buying and selling process, exclusive to only high-end designer items.

By David Mollison, Partner and Creative Director

Product Overview

Cuturia’s streamlined buying and selling process was designed for its speed and simplicity, making it easy and fun for a user to engage in the high-end fashion resale market.

Cuturia users can download the mobile app for free or visit our website, and browse items without even signing up. Once a user decides to purchase or sell an item, they can simply sign up with their Facebook account or quickly enter their basic information.

To sell an item, users can simply use their mobile device to take pictures of the item, select the basic information about the item, then post. The item will then be available on Cuturia and auto post to the user’s social networks. Cuturia uses a 20 percent item markup to cover cost and profit, eliminating the need to charge posting fees to sellers.

To buy an item, Cuturia utilizes payment industry leader Paypal to make in app purchases quick and easy for users. Buyers can either log into their Paypal account or simply enter their credit card information without leaving the app or website during the transaction.

Once a transaction is started, Cuturia holds the funds until the seller ships the item in a timely manner, with pre-paid shipping labels and USPS boxes supplied by Cuturia, and the buyer receives the item for approval. If the buyer likes the item, funds are released and the transaction is complete. However, if the buyer decides the item isn’t what they envisioned, they have the option to return the item to the seller, again in a timely manner with pre-paid shipping labels provided, and receive a full refund minus the cost of shipping.

Cuturia will be available on iPhone, Android and Windows apps as well as its responsive website at: www.cuturia.com.

Founders’ Story

After watching our wives become frustrated trying to sell used high-end designer items through services like eBay and Craigslist, as tech entrepreneurs we decided it was time to create a better mouse trap that would finally get our wives to clear out their closets.

We soon realized that individual buyers and sellers of resale fashion items were putting up with a 10-year-old system that didn’t incorporate any of the new technologies and ideas now available to the retail buyer. It was time for a new, smart and trustworthy high-end fashion resale brand to rise up and offer an alternative.

The team had all the skills needed to understand and build a great system and then build the company to run it. Jon started his first successful business in 1995 in website development and SEO marketing. James started a post-production tech company in 1999, which Jon helped him grow into a multi-million dollar business. I had previously designed 10 apps while working at Chait/Day as an advertising creative. Eric was a CTO on multiple startups and brings knowledge and experience with backend architecture, plus shipping and payment systems.

Now we just needed to immerse ourselves in the fashion world. We asked our wives, did focus groups, met with fashion bloggers, consignment store owners, designers and fashion industry insiders. After lots of late nights up brainstorming and coding, motivated by the burning desire to see our wives’ closets finally cleared out, we came up with the Cuturia process!

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Cuturia’s initial marketing and promotion strategy is comprised of three areas: building inventory, attracting buyers and building our brand.

For building our item inventory to help launch Cuturia, we are making direct contact with power sellers like high-end consignment stores, stylists and even designers, showing them how our process can help expand their businesses.

For attracting buyers, we have built into our process SEO features that allow every posted item to be available for searches on major search engines. Then we have auto social sharing built into our posting process, so for every item posted by a seller, we will have 15 percent-to-45 percent of the seller’s friends seeing a very engaging post that links to the item for sale.

To build our brand, we are engaging with top fashion bloggers and magazines, telling them about our mission to capture the high-end fashion resale market and becoming the name for fashion resale.

How We Differentiate from the Competition

On Cuturia, we have made the designer item the hero, not the seller. We achieve this by creating a process that both the buyer and seller can trust to protect their interest. Therefore, we eliminate the need for buyers to judge the seller from lengthy profiles and rating systems. The buyer can then just concentrate on finding the best items to enjoy.

Then we have defined our market to be exclusively high-end designer fashion items, which eliminates the clutter that most of our competitors endure.

In addition, there are no upfront fees for sellers, and they receive the full amount they ask for the item. Our cost and profit are covered by our 20 percent markup of the item. Then the buyer only pays the price they see on the purchase button. Shipping and transaction cost are covered by our markup. Most of our competitors either charge upfront fees for listings or take away a percentage from the seller’s asking price.

Business Model

Markup up every listed item 20 percent.

Current Needs

Looking for first round funding to help bridge the gap from initial Seed capital through first year of operations.

Cuturia – www.cuturia.com