Hear from Trisha Bantigue, the CEO and co-founder of Queenly — the leading online marketplace and search engine for formalwear — on how this fashion is business embedding inclusivity and representation into everything that they do.
In this episode, Trisha is also talking about:
- Why fashion companies are stuck at this surface level view of diversity, rather than really addressing inclusivity at a root level
- The negative perceptions of secondhand that Queenly was (and continues to be) up against in the formalwear industry
- The challenges of securing funding as a women-founded business
- How tech can be used to increase accessibility to secondhand
- And how Queenly is building an authentically inclusive fashion business
Tune in to this episode of the Conscious Style Podcast below, or on your favorite podcast app
Quick Links: Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, or Google Podcasts
Or, watch a segment of this interview on YouTube! (coming soon)
Read the Transcript From This Interview:
So I’m Trisha Bantigue. I’m the CEO and Co-founder of Queenly. And a little bit about my background is that I graduated from UC Berkeley. And soon afterwards, I just started working in tech.
So I’ve worked at Google, Facebook, and most recently, Uber, where I did executive recruiting for engineering and products. So I was definitely very close with the CTO of Uber and various executives, which led to them really being our first investors of Queenly when I left.
And so I was born in the Philippines, and I emigrated to the United States at the age of 10, specifically, Las Vegas, Nevada. And due to various childhood hardships that I experienced, I ended up emancipating myself at the age of 17.
So going to UC Berkeley, I was fully independent. And it was just really hard having this big fat out-of-state tuition fee, where I had to really figure out how to pay it off and survive in the Bay Area. I took on a bunch of different jobs, as well as I found out that pageant organizations were actually one of the biggest scholarship givers to young women in the United States.
And I thought to myself, you know, how hard could this be? It was actually pretty hard. But I ended up loving the whole experience, and never in a million years that I really think that one day I would compete in a beauty pageant.
But one thing led to another. And when I got there, it pretty much broke every single stereotype that I had about the industry and the women just because the women I met there were one of the most talented, intelligent, kind-hearted human beings I’ve ever encountered. And they were like Ph.D. scientists, entrepreneurs, lawyers, etc. And it really just inspired me, right? It’s like, the new modern day definition of what it means to be a woman and modern day definition of feminism is, you can do both, right.
And so the pain point that I kept seeing was that these women were having a hard time finding and affording the evening gown, which is usually the main piece of a pageant, and these gowns were hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. And women are just like different heights, different shapes and sizes and skin tones, right. So it’s just really hard process.
And due to my experience in tech, I just thought to myself, you know, there should be a better way for this for the whole formalwear industry. And especially because it’s not just pageants, there’s, you know, all these different special occasion events that women go through in their lifetime, such as prom, Quinceaneras, sorority formals, weddings, galas, like military balls. You know, there’s just so many things. And I just thought that there wasn’t really any safe and secure way to do it online. And nor were like existing platforms, providing a good way to do it. So that’s what led to Queenly.
I think that leads into sort of the first question that I had for you quite well, which is your background informs Queenly’s mission today and democratizing the pageant industry, as well as democratizing sustainability. So, can you tell us a little bit more about how you’re increasing access to formalwear, and also to more sustainable fashion, alternative approaches to fashion at Queenly?
Yeah, sure, this is great, because, you know, that’s really the whole goal of Queenly. And the whole concept of resale, recommerce, and online marketplaces have been around for at least 10 to 15 years, and they’ve been common. But unfortunately, for this specific industry, it’s very new.
And what we’ve encountered when starting is that majority of the access to formal wear is still predominantly offline. Meaning they only exist in brick and mortar stores, and within like designers and manufacturers, and there hasn’t really been this direct supply chain to access all of this inventory.
And so it makes it really hard for women that don’t have like a common size or a different body shape, right, that they have to cater to. And what we’ve heard is that a lot of our users used to drive two to three hours out to even get to their nearest boutique store. Right?
So we saw that wow, this is just extremely like outdated and old school and we’d love to help.
And so what we’ve been able to do is bring a lot of this inventory online as well as we asked a lot of people, you know, the dresses that they’ve worn to their prom, their wedding or any kind of formal event, they’ve only worn it once and with the rise of social media nowadays, you know, people don’t want to wear it twice or three times because it’s already on their Instagram. So it just stays in the closet.
And because when you put formal wear on to let’s say Poshmark, or Mercari where it’s some more so a generic marketplace, like, you can find anything from snow tires and bath towels, you know, the search accuracy for formal wear is really, really bad.
And so a lot of these dresses don’t get sold within like two years. And that’s a long time to wait. So they just get discouraged.
And so what we’ve been able to do is really put it together, centralize all of the formalwear. So whether that’s cocktail, mermaid ball gowns, etc., for any type of event, it’s on Queenly.
Because of my co-founder’s work experience from Pinterest, she’s a senior software engineer, and our CTO now, she’s been able to create the most robust and accurate search engine for formalwear.
Oh, wow, cool. I didn’t realize that connection with Pinterest. But Pinterest has like really advanced image search functionality. So that makes sense.
Yeah, I totally see that with like, these generic marketplaces not being great for something super specific, like formalwear, like there’s a specific occasion and specific occasions sort of have different standards.
And there’s so many layers of like, what length of the dress, what level of formality and then, of course, the sizing, and there’s so much to sort by it really warrants a separate marketplace for that.
So in addition to your core business model, increasing access to formalwear, you also have a really holistic view of diversity and inclusion embedded into your company at every level, as we talked about in our previous chat. So can you tell listeners about your approach to diversity and inclusion at Queenly?
Yeah, so we really believe that a lot of a company’s culture and work environment is top down. And it starts from the leaders, the co-founders that really lay out the foundation for it.
And for Kathy and I, we are extremely progressive in so many different ways. And we want to advocate for a lot of the underrepresented communities. And that is something that we really live by.
And so creating Queenly and anywhere from just like our employees, to the models that we hire, to the features that we build for our users, we really have diversity and inclusion at the forefront of it.
So for us right now, we have an amazing all-female engineering team, which is like super rare, but I guess, very fitting for our business.
And also, you know, for our photoshoot campaigns that we use for our website, our app, our marketing materials, our paid ads, etc, we always wanted to make sure that we create real diversity, and not just like one token Black model, or one token, you know, plus-size model. And we’ve been able to hire so many different types of faces, right.
And one thing that I’m really proud of is that since the beginning, we’ve actually hired a handful of trans woman models. And you know, like, we never wanted to be like, Okay, we’re only going to do this for Pride [month]. No, we’re doing this, like, as a basis, we’re doing this as a regular thing. And so what we really stand for is going out of our way to really include everyone that we, you know, that we represent on our app. So that’s kind of just what we do.
You’re really setting the bar for other companies to hopefully, you know, strive towards that as well, because it’s just so important to be considering that at every level; every aspect of your company.
And so at Queenly, you’re also very intentional about size inclusivity, not only in model representation, but also on your website. So how do you ensure that there is size inclusivity on Queenly, even though it is a peer-to-peer reselling platform, and you don’t own the inventory? Like how do you still try to prioritize size inclusivity?
Yeah, so I think in the very beginning, so we started out as purely peer to peer. Due to COVID the past two years, we actually launched an extension of Queenly called Queenly partners, where we were able to partner with small businesses that are boutique stores or smaller designer brands that really didn’t have a way to make revenue during the lockdowns. Right.
And so now we both have brand new inventory from these stores that had a lot of trouble moving inventory in their store, as well as peer-to-peer right from a women’s closet. And I think the beauty of the model of peer to peer is that you allow for the control of the inventory to be democratized.
And what I mean by that is that usually when there’s like one brand, one manufacturer, and one team that handles the decisions, right, they’re going to decide, okay, let’s have sizes zero to size 12, because that’s the most popular, and that’s where we’ll get the most profit back.
And really, a lot of brands think about that, where it’s not really profitable to have sizes that are over, let’s just say, 24, sizes 24, 26, 28. And that’s really where like the plus size women have a lot of trouble is when they shop online, they don’t even have any options at all.
So now when we give the access and the control to our users to the community, is that they’re able to provide the inventory that usually brands lacked prior. Right?
So opening it up to more plus size women to pretty much be this community to each other and to provide other plus size woman their own dresses that they fit is really the beauty of having a peer to peer model.
Yeah, yeah, it’s such a good point. So why do you think that fashion companies maybe specifically in the formalwear industry, if you feel more comfortable speaking to that, why do you think that they are more stuck at this surface level of inclusion, diversity, and representation? You know, stuck at this tokenism still and not really taking it to the next level?
Yeah. So for me personally, just like, my personal opinion, and based off of the experiences that I’ve seen, and the interactions that I’ve had, with the existing, older establishments, within the formalwear industries, such as the brands, right is that, I do think that they’re afraid of change. And that’s so normal human beings are always afraid of change.
And, you know, it just goes to show that there needs to be a lot more understanding, and there needs to be a lot more research done, when it comes to the positive influences and positive effects of having real diversity and inclusion.
I think that a lot of brands still don’t really quite get why it’s necessary, right? And they stick to what they know. Because if what they know has worked, and it’s still working for them, why would they change, right?
So I do think that, you know, not all business leaders are made the same. And frankly, a lot of business leaders are not thinking of the collective good of the community, and mostly profiting. And that is how our business really kind of like withstands the test of time is like, you got to think about the profit margins, first and foremost, and you don’t think about like, all of these different things that people are asking for, such as sustainability or representation.
But the thing is, is that times are changing. And I think the millennial and Gen Z era goes to show that they care.
We care about where our clothes come from, we care about like, what is the fashion waste that this does? We care about like, is this accessible? Is this diverse? Is this tone-deaf? Like, you know, we care. And I think that’s something that a lot of older brands don’t really understand yet is that the new generations care a lot more than just having a nice brand, if that makes sense.
Yeah, absolutely. And, of course, this is all conjecture, but what do you think would drive them to actually make that change? Do you think it’ll take until it actually hits their bottom line? And they start losing sales and losing profit margin for them to actually change… or?
Unfortunately, I do think it has to sometimes come to that where it hits them, where it hurts the most is their profit margins, right? And their revenue. And it really takes a collective of the consumers to come together and be like, hey, like, this is enough. This is not what we want to see from the brands that we wear, this is the representation that we want from you.
And it’s hard, it’s hard to get everyone to come together for one collective cause right? And some, you know, right now, I’m seeing a lot more plus size models and even plus sized pageant women that are speaking out on social media saying like, hey, when I shop for dresses online, I don’t see anybody that is my size, my shape my look, and that sucks as a consumer, right.
And it’s not fair because the thing is, is that we’re all different shapes and sizes, but still we only see like size zeros and size twos online. And we still see like the typical just like blond haired, blue eyed models for a lot of these formalwear designers.
And so right now the market caters to Latinas and Asian Americans and Black women, but we don’t see that enough. As well as, on top of that is the plus size models, right?
Mm hmm. Absolutely. And of course, when we’re talking about inclusivity, affordability is an element as well. And unfortunately, sometimes affordability can come at the cost of other people in the supply chain, you know, paying inhumane wages.
But secondhand is a great way to access quality, and you know, eco-friendly fashion in a more budget-conscious way, in a more affordable way.
So, based on your customer research, are most shoppers on Queenly, you think driven by affordability, or sustainability or something else?
I do think that affordability is most likely their second factor that drives them to purchase. And I say that because we have had so many customers that have purchased secondhand dresses over $1,000.
So technically, that’s not really “affordable”, but it’s still more affordable than I guess its original price of $6000, let’s just say.
This inventory can range so much like we have $60-70, to all our dresses all the way to like a $10,000 dress, just because there’s just so many intricacies to it. Right.
And I think that’s number one, what they truly care about is that will they look good in this? Will they feel good in this right?
And really, that’s what a lot of existing platforms have lacked is that their search engine and their different filtering, and different categories don’t really cater to the different things that people look for.
I mean, one thing that I found before is that people kept asking for mother of the bride dresses, which you don’t really get that a lot, right. And so we’ve created a category for that. But that’s the thing is that we provide the option for you, instead of just like, hey, this is like typically the price of just brand new, right.
And so you have the option to go really cheap. So $100 dress, and then if you want to splurge on yourself, you can buy a $700 dress. And at the same time, it’s not at the cost of the environment.
Fast fashion has really surged the past couple of years. I mean, to the point where, great example is the FashionNova CEO just bought the most expensive real estate in the United States for like $140 million. Right.
And that is really like when I see that I know what fast fashion does. And that mansion was bought from the backs of so many service workers that are getting paid pennies in different countries and there, it’s not an ethical way, right.
But the thing is what I’ve heard from somebody who is a plus size friend, sometimes plus size girls don’t have the option, and the luxury to not shop fast fashion. And it’s because other brands that are not fast fashion are not supporting their sizes. And so that’s really just like, you know, a plethora of different problems that the industry has to tackle.
Yeah, no, I think that’s super important to bring up because that is part of the reason why these ultra-fast fashion brands like Boohoo, Shein, and the likes are so successful because they are meeting that gap in the market for plus sizes.
And a lot of their marketing campaigns are more representative than like the average fashion brand I would say. And of course, this doesn’t make them an ethical brand because we know that the people making those clothes are not being treated fairly, are not being paid fairly.
And of course, they’re contributing to fashion’s waste crisis and the climate crisis but yeah we do see that a lot of these slow fashion brands or smaller conscious brands are not being very size-inclusive and so it becomes really challenging. And I do see it slowly improving in the secondhand space in the sustainable fashion space but we still have a lot of room to grow.
A long way to go, and especially with what you’re pointing out, like right now consumers have the option of the lesser of two evils, right? It’s kind of like, well, they’re not entirely sustainable, but at least they’re diverse, right?
But at the end of the day, the ideal in a perfect world, like consumers want to have the best of both worlds and want to feel good about their purchase wholeheartedly.
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that we deserve that too. I hope to see a sustainable fashion future where we have brands that are treating their workers fairly, doing things in an environmentally friendly way, and also offer very inclusive sizing and have representative marketing campaigns, and are being truly inclusive at the core of their business in terms of who they’re hiring and where the money is going.
And I think that’s absolutely worth continuing to advocate for, continuing to push for. Because we shouldn’t exist in a world where the only accessible option to somebody is buying something that is exploiting somebody else.
So unfortunately we are not there yet. But definitely, we should keep working together to push for that.
So I’d love to shift gears slightly and talk about how Queenly is bringing tech into an industry that was previously very low tech. You know you mentioned that women would maybe have to drive two to three hours to go to a boutique just to get their formal gown, their pageant dress.
So what do you see as the potential of using technology to increase accessibility in formalwear and maybe in fashion overall?
So we do a lot of things at the forefront of having technology in mind when introducing to a very traditional industry. So for us to even have the centralized inventory that is online is already so innovative to the industry, when to other industries, this has occurred, and it’s like nothing new, right. So that’s how old school this industry is.
And so for us, so for example, for the partners that we bring on, what we found is that they have used so many just like outdated inventory management systems, where you look at what they’re using, and it looks like it’s from the 90s.
And it’s not user-friendly, it’s very slow. You can’t use it on mobile, it’s just like desktop or laptop, and you have to download the software, it’s not updated, like instantly in the cloud, like it’s just so old.
And for us to be able to provide that online inventory management system for them it’s already super helpful.
And we just have so many things down the line that we want to build. So one exciting thing is that we’re about to launch a community feature. It’s very similar to Sephora’s Community Forum, where we’ll enable a lot of women to be able to interact more with one another and help each other with their, or their outfits with their events.
And just like rely on this community of women that want to help each other look like a queen pretty much, right? And so for example, if someone goes like, Hey, I am having a wedding at the beach next year, what are some like beach-friendly wedding dress options? Or like what kind of shoes should I wear for this, right? So that’s one that we’re launching pretty soon.
And then we want to introduce visual search later this year. So being able to search with a photo instead of just text-based. So sometimes when you see somebody on Instagram or TikTok, that is wearing this fantastic red dress and you want to get it. But you don’t know how to describe it in text form, or you don’t know the designer, you can simply take a screenshot of it, upload it onto Queenly and our algorithm will match it with existing dress listings on Queenly or very similar ones that you can buy.
So that’s really all of the, the things that me and Kathy have learned from our previous companies and hers, especially from Pinterest, right?
Yeah, that’s super exciting. I love that feature on Pinterest but that’s so cool that that technology, that visual search ability can be used for resale, for pre-owned dresses as well. Because now I think it’s pretty much all new things. But I think that would just, it will really elevate the secondhand fashion space to be able to use visual search to find pre-owned items.
Like I think about maybe 10 years ago, the only option was sifting through thrift stores, and even if you wanted, I don’t know a blue sweater, even that would be really specific to try to find that at a thrift store. And now we’ve just seen such a rapid improvement in the technology in the resale space. And I can see how it’s improving the accessibility. You know not everyone has time to spend hours at the thrift shops to find what they’re looking for. So that is really exciting.
But I guess unfortunately the luxury fashion sector in general has been slower to get into the resale space despite those items actually being quite good for resale. If they’re made with higher quality and they’re quite expensive, so getting as many uses as possible is quite ideal.
But there are still very much negative perceptions of secondhand whether that is a concern about brand reputation or concern about authenticity. I mean I think that in time these perceptions are fading, but they’re definitely not gone.
So have you experienced resistance on your path to building a formalwear reselling platform; an inclusive formalwear platform from consumers or perhaps more likely from formalwear brands?
Yes, definitely lots of resistance that, I mean, initially, like when I started Queenly, I just wanted to really help this industry, right, this industry, meaning the consumers, the sellers, the brands, the stores, everything.
And I didn’t really think of all these, like different intricacies in mind that are, I guess, thinking that resale marketplaces are controversial, right.
So that wasn’t something that I had really prepared for, right. And so when I started getting a lot more pushback from existing brands, we just kind of see them as the establishments in the industry, right. And we’re like the newcomer, that is trying to put progressive stuff to it.
You know, it’s very, very similar to the luxury fashion sector where we’ve gotten the pushback of like, Oh, we don’t want our brand to be associated with resale or secondhand because it cheapens the brand, or we don’t want to sell online because it cheapens the brand, which that part I don’t get.
So they’ve always said that, oh, we’re strictly brick and mortar, blah, blah, blah. And it doesn’t make any sense, especially when something like COVID has happened, right? But it’s still a very, very stubborn industry.
And I was actually just recently talking about this with Julie Wainwright, CEO of The Real Real. So she’s actually like, one of the LPs of the funds that invested in us early on. And so she’s been able to, like, help me and mentor me the past year. And it’s just been really great getting to know her experience, like launching The Real Real and the resistance that she got from like, the luxury brands, right?
And she’s told me that like, Hey, you’re in for a ride, because like, you know, you’re disrupting an industry that establishments, these brands are trying to, like, protect and like, control, if that makes sense.
And what we’re doing is trying to democratize it and giving the control to the consumers, which is something that they are not too happy about, let’s just say. But I think it’s because they like what I mentioned earlier, is like they have a lack of understanding of what we truly are, and what we aim to do, and what are actually, the positive influences that can come out of us existing, right.
And I wanted to always approach these brands with a mutual beneficial partnership in mind, because I think we could work together to really improve this industry, make it more sustainable without cheapening their brand. And I think they just need to understand that online is the future. Secondhand, pre-loved, resale, recommerce is the future and it’s going to help them.
But yeah, it’s definitely been an uphill battle. But we’re fighting really hard because we’re fighting for the community.
Yeah, that’s powerful. And, it’s unfortunate to hear that, that there’s still so much resistance because sometimes I get, like my conscious fashion, sustainable fashion bubble and like resale is totally normal.
I know, I know.
But a lot of brands are still very, very resistant to especially in the luxury sector. I mean, it’s a lot of the luxury image is exclusivity. So do you see working with these brands in the future, like you mentioned, a mutually beneficial partnership? What efforts do you think I will take to sort of get these brands more onboard?
So you know, it’s definitely going to be a long journey I would say just because they’re very ingrained in their ways of what they’re used to right? And how, how they’re used to seeing the formal wear industry.
But luckily, there have been a couple of brands that are a bit more forward-thinking and a bit more open-minded, that we’ve been able to officially partner with such as Mac Duggal and Vienna Prom.
And these brands are really, I would say, are at the forefront of bettering the formalwear industry. Unfortunately, it’s not really seen as that yet from the other brands who are reluctant to go online and to partner with us. But what we’ve been able to do is really, because we have this access to hundreds of thousands of Queenly users that are looking and searching and browsing every single day, and so having your brand and your inventory available on our platform is actually a very positive thing.
And for you to be associated with a brand that is inclusive, that is diverse, that is sustainable, you know, it helps your brand, it doesn’t cheapen your brand. I think it, you know, I strongly believe that it helps them.
And for us, like the things that we want to build in the future is that it’s going to benefit these designer brands at the end of the day, such as the image search, right? Because sometimes, like people don’t know that it’s a Mac Duggal dress, but if you upload the image on Queenly, and we say, Hey, here’s the Mac Duggal dress that you’re looking for, here you go, right. And so having that data of like their data really helps us bring their inventory closer to the consumers that are looking for it.
Things that we also want to build in the future are, we want to build AR fitting in the future. That technology is already here. I’m just trying to hire more engineers right now. Because we are just so constricted, we’re going through a really big growth phase. And it’s really exciting but obviously lots of work.
But yeah, so I think the biggest hurdle is like how do you buy formalwear, a dress, a gown, from the comfort of your home, but not knowing how it’s going to fit you entirely, not knowing how it’s going to look on you.
So everything else like T-shirts, jackets, pants are a lot easier to purchase online, because it doesn’t need to look perfect, and they’re a bit cheaper.
But now when you’re shopping for your wedding dress, or your prom dress, this is a very important event, meaning it’s a very important purchase. So you want to make sure that it looks good on you, matches your hair, your skin tone, your body shape, etc, right.
And so being able to point the camera that on your phone, and being able to take a picture or video to see how the dress would actually look on you in person is a huge technological advancement that we could offer these brands.
Yeah, absolutely. That’s really cool to get a little insider’s peek at what you’re working on at Queenly. So you’re obviously going through a big growth phase, and so what has that been, like in terms of like finding funding, and especially finding funding from investors that are aligned with your values since you are a progressive company and you are sort of pushing the boundaries a little bit? How did that process work with finding investors that you felt good about taking money from?
Yeah, I mean, to be frank, fundraising for female founders is hell, to say the least. And our first fundraising round, which was pre-seed, it was probably the toughest because that’s when we had the least amount of metrics, our product wasn’t as it is, today, the inventory is still pretty low. But that is the point of pre-seed is that you invest like so early that you invest into founders, right.
And so I realized early on that it’s a numbers game in the beginning. And usually, the VCs and investors that I looked up to that I thought would match our values and the market that we’re tackling were the ones that automatically said no to me, or they didn’t even take a meeting with me. It was actually like, really, really sad.
And we were, we had so many times where we just like cried and just like felt like giving up. But you know, we kept pushing forward. And by the time that we got into YC or Y Combinator, you know, we had pretty good metrics, and we had really good traction.
And by the time that we were finishing our seed raise, we were fortunate enough to have been approached by Andreessen Horowitz, which everything that they stand for and their fund is just incredible. And it definitely aligns with us and how we want to build our team out, our company out.
It’s definitely really tough because you’re pitching something that is very personal, and you’re passionate about it. And you’re just going to receive, like, so many no’s, and so many reasons as to why your company will not work out.
But if you are really in this for the mission, and the goal of serving your users, instead of just like, the goal of looking good as a startup founder, or the goal of, you know, being rich or something, it’s gonna get tough, and it’s gonna be pretty easy for you to give up along the way.
But for us, we definitely like able to tough it out. And I’m very lucky to have had a co-founder, that is also my best friend. So we were able to just like stick together and get through it.
Yeah. Well, thank you for your honesty about all of those obstacles that you’ve been up against in founding and growing Queenly. And it just really sucks that there is still such a massive gender gap with VC funding.
But you have obviously made such incredible strides in growing Queenly to where you are at today. And you already touched on a lot of exciting features that are in the works behind the scenes, but are there any big picture future goals that you have for Queenly, and then of course where can listeners follow along and check out Queenly?
Yeah, I mean, so you’re right, I definitely said everything that already is super exciting that we’re working on. But I think that what’s exciting right now, for me personally, is growing our team and really finding these, like gems of people that are very talented and at the same time, you know, underestimated.
I think that, you know, what we look for in the team that we hire is that they truly care about what we’re doing here. And they’re not just here for the paycheck. And that they have really good values to start off with, because that really emanates right from the founding team to when we, I don’t even know like grow to a team of 50 or 100. Oh, I can’t even think about that, because it’s so like, it’s exciting, but scary at the same time.
But yeah, so for us, like we want to keep increasing the inventory. So increasing the accessibility, right, and affordability for formalwear.
So this year, we are trying to expand more into bridal, and also like cultural related formalwear, such as Quinceanera dresses, and even like Chinese cultural wear, or even Indian cultural wear that they wear for like weddings and formal events, right?
Historically, these are garments that have been extremely hard to find in the US. And so we’d love to introduce that soon.
And I think something in the future that’s also exciting is that we want to also tackle competition wear.
So you know, we focus on high price inventory with low usage, meaning it’s perfect for the circular economy of resale, right. So this is ballroom dancing competition wear, ice skating wear, gymnastics wear right.
So these are all like, things that are very, very hard to find, very expensive, and typically only worn once.
Yeah, that’s really exciting. When I was growing up, I did a lot of dance competitions, and the costumes are so expensive, and there wasn’t really a secondhand market for that. But yeah, they can, I mean, it can really add up. So that’s really cool.
Yeah. Oh, and of course, like everyone can find us on queenly.com, it’s q-u-e-e-n-l-y dot com. And we are in the App Store. So all you have to do is search up Queenly, we will show up, we’re the only one that says Queenly. And we’re also in the Google Play Store for Android app.
Cool. And I’ll make sure that all of those links are in the episode description.
So I have one final question for you that I asked each guest that comes on to the show. And that is: what would a better future for fashion look like to you?
To me, a better future for fashion… definitely two parts. Is that one, it doesn’t come at the cost of others. And two that it makes people feel empowered and confident because they are able to find the size that they wear and that they’re able to afford the price that they have budgeted for.
And so really I want to see the fashion industry not make anyone feel like crap. And I think for the longest time, you know, the fashion industry has definitely catered more towards the wealthy, I would say and more so people that are low income would look at photos of influencers online and think like, wow, I could never afford that. I could never look like that. I could never find a dress or a skirt that would fit me that looks like that. And that sucks, right?
I think that’s a really ambitious but possible goal for the future of the fashion industry is to truly include everyone and make sure that everyone feels confident and beautiful and empowered in what they’re able to wear.[MUSIC]
And that’s a wrap for this episode with Trisha!
Thank you so much for tuning in today — I hope that you enjoyed this conversation. If you did like this episode, it would mean so much if you shared this episode with a friend or screenshotted it and shared it on social media. You can connect with me and this podcast @consciousstyle on Instagram and you can find Queenly @queenlyapp.
And if you are looking for more resources on sustainable fashion, sign up for our weekly newsletter, The Conscious Edit.
In these free newsletters, I share articles, podcast episodes, brands to check out, campaigns to support, and more. Subscribers also get access to a 10-page list of Sustainable Fashion Educational Resources. So that’s a nice bonus, I think. And you can sign up for all of that at consciouslifeandstyle.com/edit.
Alright, that’s all I have for you for now, until next Tuesday’s episode. In the meantime, I hope to be able to connect with you over on Instagram or via the newsletter.
So, thank you again for listening today, and have a lovely rest of your week!
Trisha Bantigue is the CEO and co-founder of Queenly, the leading online marketplace for the formalwear industry. She was recently featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30 2022 list and she was the cover for the Art & Style category. She was born in the Philippines and immigrated to the US at the age of 10.
Prior to founding Queenly, Trisha has worked at some of the biggest tech companies like Google, Facebook and Uber. Coming from a low-income, immigrant background, she found the opportunity to gain scholarship awards through competing in pageants. Then, she found her initial inspiration for starting Queenly from this unique experience and seeing so many women struggle to find and afford their dream dress for their special event.
Connect with Queenly
Queenly app on Google Play Store