Interview with Vanessa Kuo of Smashion

Smashion is an online marketplace for people to sell and buy clothes and all things fashion related.

Please introduce yourself and tell us how the concept of Smashion came to be.
My name is Vanessa Kuo and I’m the Director of Marketing for Smashion. (My little brother is actually currently a junior at Berkeley, so much love to Cal!) Smashion was created when our founders were inspired by the huge growing trend of mixing and matching new and pre-loved clothing and when they saw the lack of a dedicated community-based fashion commerce site. I was incredibly excited when I was asked to join the founding team after I graduated from grad school from Emerson College, since I love fashion and being eco-friendly. Smashion was fully launched in July 2010 after a period of Beta testing, and we’ve been growing steadily ever since!

What makes Smashion stand out among the hundreds of other fashion-related sites out there like Chictopia?
We stand out because Smashion is in the business of promoting a new fashion lifestyle that celebrates value, style, and individualism. We are the first social fashion marketplace that enables members to buy or sell lightly-worn, new with tag, or brand new apparel and accessories. And because we're also a community, we're that much more different than other sites like Craig's List and eBay. I love that our community members inspire each other. People debate and post deals in our Forums and share their styles in our Style Gallery. We've also garnered a huge bunch of support from many fashion bloggers, and we love featuring them on our site to let our members get a peek into their favorite blogger's brain, learn a few shopping tips, and more.

Vanessa (top right) and the models after Smashion's fashion show at their launch party.

How does the marketplace of Smashion differ from eBay?
Unlike eBay, Smashion solely focuses on fashion. Our marketplace is completely free – we don’t have any types of fees (listing, transaction or registration.) We also don't have a bidding system like eBay, but instead, buyers purchase directly and immediately from sellers. Aside from individuals selling items they purchased from retailers, our marketplace includes independent fashion designers who are tired of high fees on other sites, as well as brick-and-mortar fashion business owners who are looking for an online outlet in which to broaden their customer base.

We're also different in that Smashion is a great resource for college students. Because many college students employ the concept of "fast fashion" when they shop these days, they might buy trendy clothes they may wear only a few times. Then when they tire of those clothes, they'll never wear it again and the clothes will just sit in their closet, unused. Why not exchange your fashion finds with other fashion lovers, and refresh your wardrobe at the same time, right?

Describe a typical work day at Smashion.
Since Smashion is a start-up, everyone on the team wears multiple hats. My job varies from dealing with media relations to managing a number of different marketing campaigns to building our brand image. I also spend time managing community relations and content. My newest project is heading our Smashion Babble Contributing Writer program, which means (shameless plug!) if any BARE readers would like to join our blogging team, we’d love to have you drop us a line: babble@smashion.com.

Since Smashion is completely internet-based, how do you think the internet has changed fashion?
The Internet, and social media especially, has completely revolutionized the way people shop. Being able to shop online just makes things that much simpler for people. You’re able to price match quickly to find good deals and you avoid wasting time and money driving to stores and waiting in checkout lines. Plus you can purchase fashion items from other countries besides your own without actually having to go there! Two other big trends are the emergence of social shopping and the democratization of fashion. Smashion is trying to ride on the waves of these changes and bring about the best in Internet renovation.

What do you envision for Smashion in the next five years?
I envision Smashion to grow into the No. 1 leader in our category and a catalytic force that changes the way fashion lovers individualize their styles. Our concept is unique and as long as people continue to enjoy mixing and matching, we’ll be here to support them.

Anisa Young
BARE Reporter


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