SilkRoll is an online fashion exchange that uses a points-based system so users can trade secondhand clothing value-for-value. Founders Janet Wu and Erin Wold-Fettner appeared on season 10 of Shark Tank but didn’t get a deal. Currently, SilkRoll is worth an estimated $4 million.
About the Founders
Janet Wu is from San Francisco and has a degree in economics and international development from the University of Bath. Wu traveled the world as an investment banker, working for firms such as BOC International and Deutsche Bank. In 2014, Janet served as the chief financial officer at One Earth Designs.
Hailing from Chicago, Erin Wold-Fettner is an HR professional who graduated from Nova Southeastern University. Erin started her career at 211 Info and eventually became the head of special projects at RedCap technologies.
Janet is a fashion lover who constantly updates her wardrobe. As time went by, she witnessed her designer items slowly depreciate in value. It gave her the idea to make a platform where people can sell second-hand fashion at a reasonable price.
Users would have to mail their clothing to her company. They will then give the sender points depending on how much their used apparel is supposed to be worth. The points can be used to shop for other pre-owned goods on the platform.
SilkRoll launched in 2016 and Wu hired Erin to be head of operations. Two years later, they raised over $104,000 from Republic. The founders then made $35,000 in revenue from handling over $1 million in transactions.
Shark Tank Appearance
Janet and Erin believed in the potential of their business, but needed more capital to fund growth. In 2019, they entered the tank, seeking 250,000 for 3% stake in their startup. Right off the bat, you could tell the Sharks didn’t like the valuation.
It didn’t take long for the Sharks to bombard the two ladies with questions as the business model wasn’t clear. The presenters didn’t give satisfactory answers about how they make money. Also, they took too long to share their revenue.
Rather than being straight up and saying we made $35,000 in revenue, Janet first stated that $2.3 million had traded on the platform from which they got a 5% cut. The Sharks were disappointed with the profits and didn’t see it as a viable business in the long run.
After Shark Tank
Erin and Janet claimed their poor communication was to blame for their inability to secure a deal. There was some truth to their words as even though the Sharks didn’t understand their business, many viewers did.
SilkRoll’s social media pages picked up an extra few thousands fans after appearing on national television. The company has slightly tweaked their strategy, instead of only points, users can now purchase clothing with cash on SilkRoll.com.
On their Facebook page, the company received a 4.1-star rating from 58 customer reviews. The unique clothing marketplace is still in business and appears to be doing well by focusing on the sustainability benefits of their business. With the cost of living crisis more people will be buying pre-owned clothes. According to Gazettereview.com, SilkRoll has made $20 million in lifetime sales and the company is worth an estimated $4 million.