Inspiration: From shein to depop, the rise of fast fashion and unsustainable shopping is quickly becoming a problem not only for the environment, but also for women working tirelessly to produce this high demand of clothes in sweatshops. We want to bring sustainable thrifting back to local communities, helping reduce the environmental and social consequences of clothes buying. Additionally, we discovered that many options for online thrifting today had many flaws, including a lack of verification of sellers and forcing buyers to meet with unknown sellers in person, causing safety issues. Many women do not feel comfortable buying things on craiglist or ebay for this exact reason. Moreover, many online thrifting options force buyers to drive large distances to buy clothes, or ship clothes over large distances, releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide, negating any benefit thrifting has on the environment. In short, we wanted to create a better way to thrift online: one that promoted safety, local communities, saving the environment, and empowered women globally.
What it does
Neighborhood threads is a website that allows you to buy, sell, and donate clothes near you and reduces the environment and social cost of shipping and fast fashion. The website asks a user to allow the website to know their location, and then automatically displays local sellers and shelters they can donate to within a 15-mile radius. Buyers can scroll through the website to find clothes they like, and then add them to their cart. When it comes time for checkout, buyers pay sellers with Venmo, ensuring that in the unlikely event the buyer is ripped off, they can get their money back. Buyers then enter their address, and the clothes they ordered are shipped to them, removing the risks that come with meeting a stranger in person. Since all sellers live in a 15-mile radius of the buyer, the carbon footprint left by shipping is minimal. Users can also sell their clothes on the website by filling out the local seller form. The form requires a local verification code, which requires sellers to enter their address. Once users enter their address, they must wait 2-3 business days for a physical paper letter with the verification code. This ensures that sellers are truly residents of a given local area and helps promote safety. After receiving the verification code, sellers must provide pictures of the clothes they are selling, the price, size, and a short description of the condition of the clothing. Sellers will receive payments via Venmo. Finally, users have the option to donate clothes to local shelters if they cannot find anyone to buy their clothes or if they would like to donate to those in need.
How we built it
Challenges we ran into
We ran into problems regarding how to make the product as safe as possible for users. By sharing the address information of buyers with sellers, we knew we could run into some serious unintended consequences. We hit a dead end, and were considering scrapping the project all together. However, after an hour or so of ideating and a hearty lunch, we came up with the idea to have a verification process, similar to the verification processes of social media sites we used.
Accomplishments that we're proud of:
Sticking with the project even when we ran into challenges and creating something that we could realistically implement in our own community. We are also really happy to have participated in our first hackathon!
What we learned:
We learned that creating a product and attending a hackathon is really fun and a bit stressful. We also learned that even when you hit a dead end, it's important not to lose motivation and be disheartened and take a step back and try to solve the problem.