The Mothball Marketplace 2.0

ThredUp reinvents the dustiest category of retail—the thrift shop

IT’S QUITE POSSIBLE there is no phrase less sexy to an investor than “secondhand clothes.” That’s the dismal message James Reinhart, Oliver Lubin, and Chris Homer got in 2009, when they pitched venture capitalists their business plan for an online clothes-swapping marketplace for men’s shirts—and were rejected by all 27 of them. So the co-founders bootstrapped. Since then, ThredUp—which soon pivoted to kids’ and women’s apparel—has grabbed a sizable chunk of the multibillion-dollar market of items languishing in people’s closets, becoming the largest online thrift store in the country. Today, the San Francisco–based company has 750 employees, most of whom

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