Gen Z has been disrupting the way we consume, buy and interact with the fashion industry for the past few years, shifting our perception of a one-way shopping system to a need for community and exchange. And Galaxy perfectly illustrates this change of gears. Launched to be the first online platform to blend liveshopping with fashion resale, it’s developed with a new generation of young and video-savvy consumers in mind. The goal is to sell pre-loved fashion items through live videos orchestrated by sellers, so consumers know exactly what they buy and who they buy it from. The result? A unique shopping experience that’s powered by a community of fashion lovers. FashionUnited talked to Danny Quick and Nathan McCartney, two of the founders that have previously worked for Parkwood Entertainment and Roc Nation. They share the ideas behind Galaxy, the future of the platform and what’s next for the industry.
FashionUnited: How did the idea of Galaxy come to life?
Danny Quick: Our personal and professional lives have been centered around helping to empower creators to build businesses – we’ve done that with some of the biggest ones in the world. With Galaxy, we’re bringing this to second-hand fashion. We had friends who were selling on Depop and we saw them trying to build a brand on social platforms. It started with us asking ourselves: what would the dream community-based marketplace of second-hand fashion look like? How could we help these entrepreneurs build their community?
You both have backgrounds in entertainment. Have you noticed any similarities between the two industries and how they’re shaped?
DQ: I think the methodology is largely the same. In music, you have artists and their fan bases and we found that it’s pretty much the same in fashion where a lot of creators act like personal stylists with their community.
Galaxy is a response to ‘non-social online shopping experiences.’ How does the platform achieve that? What are some of the tools used to create a real experience?
DQ: If you show up at a Galaxy live as a viewer, you become part of the conversation. People join the chat by asking questions, they participate in giveaways and this creates a co-created experience where you shape what you see. We’ve found that this direct interaction drives commerce and gives confidence. Galaxy tries to make second-hand fashion more human, so you can buy something online face-to-face with the buyer who tells you why it’s cool and special. We want to get back to a place where things feel less mass produced and impersonal by putting the personality of the creators front and centre. With these livestreams, we help build trust between the creators and their communities.
Nathan McCartney: For example, every creator that goes live has the ability to tell their audience to RSVP to that event. They enter their phone number and the creator just has to hit the ‘Notify my community’ button that automatically sends a text to everyone with a link to the show, making it seamless to jump in and participate in real time.
How does the platform work for merchants and what are the different steps for buyers?
DQ: We’re currently bringing sellers as quickly as possible, but we’ve curated and worked with the right set of merchants early on. It establishes the tone for the larger community and what the company will be in five or ten years. It’s important to us that merchants get that white gloves service and that they’re able to come onto our platform with a lot of support. We have developed Galaxy Academy, a short content series on YouTube that gives advice on how to do a good livestream show with us. A lot of creators have experience as business owners, but they don’t necessarily have a lot of experience going live, so we spend a lot of time educating and helping them understand the format and how to leverage it to their advantage.
Our product today is first and foremost a creator’s app. Some merchants want to upload items one by one, but most of them have one thousand items in inventory. We help bring that in automatically if they request it.
When merchants go live, anybody around the world who wants to join can. There’s no act of downloading – you have your own link and anyone that has it can share it, join, chat and buy.
What are the main advantages of mixing liveshopping and fashion resale?
DQ: In second-hand fashion, all the SKUs are one-on-one – they’re coming from thrift shops and for the most part, they’re going online for the first time. Each item has one size, one version of it and that scarcity of product drives people to show up in live streams because if you miss it, you miss it. The uniqueness of the products is adapted to live as buyers want more information on them whether it’s the tag, the details or just the story behind them.
NMC: A lot of our sellers are being asked how to style things. How would you put this look together? How would you wear this piece? Many buyers who interact with merchants don’t only want to purchase the clothes, they want styling tips on how to rock them. Not only are the viewers fans of the clothes, they’re fans of the style the seller has. They’re almost personal stylists even if they’re not in the same city or country.
Storytelling is particularly important for Gen Z customers. How is that translated to Galaxy?
DQ: On most second-hand fashion marketplaces, the primary method of product discovery is search – 99 percent of the sales come from people typing in. The chance to build a connection to the person selling the item is lost in that process. These big legacy platforms put products over people and we want to do the opposite, which is put people over products. Galaxy is not based on ‘go and search what you want,’ it’s more akin to a small pop-up shop that is happening online that you can join without leaving your bedroom. One of the reasons live is so unique as a format is that it provides the ability to exchange and doesn’t make you scroll thousands of product photos trying to figure out what to buy.
Video is leading the way in terms of content and will surely continue to be a bigger part of shopping habits. How do you see fashion retail and resale evolving in the next few years?
DQ: It’ll continue to be more interactive. Also, the power is shifting from big corporate entities to individuals in all industries and fashion is no different. This will continue to put talent at the centre of product experiences. Finally, machine learning is still at a very early stage in how it serves content to people, especially video content.
NMC: I think we’re going to see different ways of creators collaborating together to generate more commerce, for example multiple people going live together and talking about their favourite clothes. We see a lot of art creators that love to collaborate and they’re going to come up with more creative ways to do it if we give them the tools to do so. At Galaxy, we’ll continue to educate people on the best practices of going live, making sure they’re set up to have a great experience.
DQ: In the end, it’s about finding the most engaged community members and focusing on them. We’re going to keep on launching products and experiences that help accelerate that model so our creators can find their core community and make a sustainable business and career.