Meet The Woman Behind Fashbae

Bridget Thackwray is the 23-year-old digital guru behind the new online shopping platform

Bridget Thackwray. Picture / Babiche Martens

Female entrepreneur Bridget Thackwray has come up with an innovative concept to help New Zealanders sell and buy pre-loved clothing online with ease.

She launched the shopping platform Fashbae — a fashion-focused online shop for second-hand clothing, shoes and accessories for women, men, and children, which is without charge for buyers and sellers — at the end of last year and has since attracted close to 40,000 users to the site.

Bridget, who was was raised in Kerikeri, has a digital-savvy background having started, at the age of 16, her first business which offered website design and development services. A move to London saw her continue to grow her social media marketing and consultancy services for a global client base, before returning to New Zealand last year to develop Fashbae.

We talked to the young businesswoman about her vision for the site, and her own personal style.

What inspired you to start Fashbae?
Like many other Kiwis I left home at 17 and had to support myself. Buying clothing from the brands I love was no longer possible at full retail price, so I turned to top-quality pre-loved items. Selling clothing I wasn’t using allowed me to support this shopping habit.

Before long I was always buying and selling pre-loved clothing online. It soon become an issue of which platform to trade on. There was something missing from each platform available: either charging high fees, being too complicated to arrange the trade, scamming or issues around useability. My goal was then to begin a totally free marketplace that resolved all of these issues.

You formed the website in partnership with businessman Eric Watson. What do you think interested him in the site and what is his involvement?
Eric’s experience and connections in the fashion and technology industries make him the ideal mentor and business partner for Fashbae. I pitched the idea to him in December 2015, and he instantly saw the potential for Fashbae to become a global success. Eric provides financial support and mentoring. We have weekly calls and are in continuous contact.

Tell us about your attitude towards throwaway fashion and how the business relates to this?
I make an effort to shop ethically as it is really important to me, so throwaway fashion isn’t something I’m particularly into. I like knowing where my clothes come from, who made them, and investing in quality pieces that last through the seasons and trends.

Fashbae is great because if you buy something for a special event that you only wear once, or buy something you later change your mind about, you can get some of that investment back to put towards something you will wear, plus allow someone else to get wear out of it — better than it sitting in the back of your wardrobe.

How do you think consumers can be more mindful when it comes to fashion and shopping?
I think all Kiwis can benefit from buying from our local designers and brands. This is a great way to ensure you are buying quality items and supporting fellow Kiwis. New Zealand has such an incredible industry of self-made entrepreneurial individuals running boutique brands. It’s important we recognise this as work together as a nation.

Where do you shop?
I love local brands like Miss Crabb, Lonely Hearts, Paris Georgia Basics, Maggie Marilyn and Zora Bell Boyd jewellery. Normally I do the majority of my shopping online as it’s the best way to compare prices to find the best deals and it lets me shop anywhere, any time — even in my PJs.

What is your relationship with fashion?
Fashion has always been an interest of mine, and a big part of my life. I’ve always tried to follow and keep up with the latest trends. To me fashion isn’t only what you wear, it expresses who you are.

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New Zealand Herald

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