Finnish Zadaa recycles clothing using algorithm
Manufacturing clothing is known to consume large volumes of clean water and energy. Despite this, many people use items of clothing just a handful of times and most people do not even recycle clothing that is in good condition. The start-up company Zadaa created a service that encourages more people to think twice.
“Zadaa is a mobile application that helps people sell and buy well-fitting, pre-loved clothing. We, the company’s founders, had not, in fact, visited a lot of flea markets before. We wanted to create a service that makes recycling clothing so easy that even we would do it more actively,” explains Iiro Kormi, Zadaa’s CEO and Co-Founder.
When signing in to the app, users enter their height and weight and select one of five international body types that is closest to theirs. In addition, users register their clothing size and style preference. Zadaa’s algorithm feeds each of the service’s users a personalised stream of clothing and presents the best matches, for instance clothing twins – people whose size and style correspond with the user’s information.
Competition in the second-hand markets is tough. Zadaa stands out from the competition due to its smart way of dealing with large volumes of data. On traditional services, such as Facebook flea markets and Ebay, all of the users can see the same content but Zadaa creates a personalised clothing network for the user.
“We were already familiar with Facebook flea markets, for example, and we were aware of their popularity. They however have some limitations, such as a constant clamour about reservations and cancellations and, for example, the exchanging of account numbers in every direction. At Zadaa we want to do away with all this complexity,” says another of the company’s founders Aamer Chaichee.
The application has already convinced many people: every day shoppers are buying and selling on the service, which was launched in September, and new users are joining each day. Currently the app is only available on Finland’s App Store but the plan is to expand to other European countries in the near future, with Sweden first on the list. Next September, the service should be up and running in 10 European countries.
The company is participating in its first investment round. It will be used to support its bid to go global, hire an Android coder and acquire an office for the company.
“Working on a shoe-string budget has, of course, created challenges during the company’s early days, but I think we’ve handled the lack of resources well. Another challenge that entrepreneurs face is prioritising: when an investment round is taking place and the service is already public we need to try, and we develop the service at the same time, come up with creative ways to market it and deal with all the related bureaucracy. Once the investment round is over we can, once again, begin allocating more time to developing the service,” Kormi points out.
By no means, the challenges have, discouraged the young company: its vision is to become a globally known second-hand service within the space of three years.
“We have a three-year five-step plan according to which we need to reach 150 countries by the third year. It’s ambitious but you have to be with a business like this that has an extremely scalable service,” says Chaichee.
“Our service continually makes use of data that is available on the users. We don’t ask about style preferences just at the signing in stage; the service constantly monitors, for example, users’ purchases and clicks, and works to improve the offering presented to them,” Kormi explains.