When Elizabeth Kott decided to launch Closet Rich, an online consignment shop for gently used high-end clothing, she initially thought about selling items on eBay.
"My vision for Closet Rich was to have a fashion blog and just link that to a store on eBay," she says.
However, as a former digital content manager for celebrity stylist (and reality TV star) Rachel Zoe, Kott had a clear vision of her perfect online storefront: She wanted a clean, open, elegant design that would make it easy for customers to explore the store inventory. She didn't want anything to come between her fashion-happy buyers and store stock. eBay just would not have done justice to the Balenciaga platform loafers, vintage Bob Mackie maxi dresses and Lanvin ballet flats she was selling.
The Los Angeles-based entrepreneur was deep into researching storefront and e-commerce platforms when a friend suggested she check out Goodsie, a customizable and easy-to-use online shop platform. Launched last spring, Goodsie doesn't use specialized code, so entrepreneurs can get an online store up and running on their own in a matter of minutes--no engineers, programmers or big bucks required.
Created by web development team HiiDef, Goodsie drew on HiiDef's earlier development of Flavors.me, a starter kit for creating a branded personal homepage. Flavors pages feature content from social networking sites and around the internet.
While simplicity was nice, the thing that mattered most to Kott was Goodsie's style. "Their clean aesthetic embodied exactly what I was looking for," Kott says. "I basically threw all my other research out the window."
The Goodsie aesthetic was very much by design, according to Jonathan Marcus, HiiDef founder and CEO. "A lot of e-commerce systems are really complex, and a lot are really basic," he says. "You can build simple systems that produce complex patterns. They aren't noisy and crowded and look like they were built in 2000. You don't need to know code to make changes. We wanted to allow people to design something in real time [using] point and click."
Kott, whose Closet Rich online store went live in August, says, "This was my first foray in selling anything online, and Goodsie made it seem not so scary. I was very focused on how I wanted Closet Rich to look, and using Goodsie allowed me not to worry so much about the other challenges of opening an online store."
Marcus says HiiDef continues to work on how to expand what Goodsie offers. The platform recently launched a couponing system that gives Goodsie stores the ability to publish coupons on social networks. It's also working to enable e-mail newsletter marketing campaigns, credit card authorizations and other services that eBay doesn't offer--all for a fee of $15 per month.
"eBay allows you to start selling," Marcus says, "but it doesn't allow you to build your own brand and create your own presence."
Dan O'Shea is a Chicago-based writer who has been covering telecom, mobile and other high-tech topics for nearly 20 years.