Married To Retail WebsiteFounder refused to let divorce pull plug on her RecycledBride. Monday, April 23, 2012
There was not much of a honeymoon period for new bride Tracy DiNunzio. Or for her business.
After less than a year of matrimony, the New York transplant and her husband divorced in 2009, just as she launched her e-commerce site, RecycledBride.com.
The breakup threatened to derail her new business. But after she got small investments and joined a startup accelerator, sales grew, and she now has a staff of seven, including John Hall, chief technical officer.
The RecycledBride site allows people to buy and sell dresses, tuxedos, accessories – anything wedding related.
But it’s been a challenging few years. When her marriage ended, DiNunzio lost her partner’s supportive income. To keep her startup afloat, she briefly went back to her first career, selling her paintings. When that wasn’t enough, she opened up her Santa Monica apartment to boarders on vacation who she found through the Internet. They stayed in her bedroom and she slept on the couch.
DiNunzio’s first guest turned out to be her future Prince Charming. A year and a half later, they married in a small ceremony. DiNunzio, 33, remains on good terms with her first husband, now an adviser to the company.
RecycledBride, based in Santa Monica, got a small amount of funding from Dany Levy, founder of e-newsletter site Daily Candy, whom DiNunzio calls her hero.
“After Dany came on, it gave me some confidence and I applied to LaunchpadLA,” said DiNunzio.
The Santa Monica accelerator accepted her application in late 2011, and granted her work space and mentoring that she credits with helping develop her vision.
More than 65,000 people are registered on the site and it’s free to join. One article of clothing can be listed for free. Premium memberships start at $9.95 a month, enabling up to six listings. Pro memberships run $19.95 a month for unlimited listings, and are geared toward retailers and wholesalers.
Now DiNunzio is preparing a spinoff site geared toward the wider apparel market. She plans to launch StyleTrader.com in late May.
The new site will follow the business model of RecycledBride. DiNunzio said women typically only wear 30 percent of their wardrobes. The rest of those items, she hopes, will wind up on her new e-marketplace.
“Someone has to figure out why women aren’t doing something with these clothes and fix it,” she said. “That was the emphasis for StyleTrader.”