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Quick Pitch: A flash sales site for conservative dress.
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Genius Idea: A niche in the online fashion discount market that caters to working women.
As a young attorney in Minneapolis, Zahra Aljabri and her colleagues struggled to find fashionable clothing appropriate for a work setting. "I'm a conservative dresser, I tend to have friends who are conservative dressers, and we kept having the same struggles," Aljabri recalls. "We wanted to follow the trends, and we wanted to find a way to do it that was better than layering with camisoles and jackets or taking things to tailors."
Confident that a large number of women must face the same challenges, Aljabri developed a business plan for , a flash sales site that caters to conservative dressers. The site, which won't launch officially until this fall, ran its first 48-hour sale on June 27, and will further test the market in a few more sales throughout the summer.
Everything sold on the site -- which includes recognizable brands like BCBG Maxazria and Rachel Roy, as well as lesser-known designers -- is assigned to one of three coverage categories: low, medium and full. In the first category, short-sleeve and form-fitting garments will appear; in the second, elbow-length sleeves and necklines that dip 2" beneath the collar bone; and in the last, garments that run from collar bone to feet and drape loosely over the body. Stylists will be available to help shoppers layer low-coverage items for a more conservative look.
Aljabri says she isn't completely sold on the flash sales model, since companies like Gilt Groupe and Ideeli are not yet profitable. By the time the company launches, it may begin selling clothes through a Mary Kay-like affiliate network model, or in the style of a more traditional online retailer.
Right now Mode-sty is competing in a business plan competition called the , which, should they take the top prize, will net them $50,000 in startup capital. After the competition closes, Aljabri and her technical co-founder plan to seek out additional investment.
Do you see a market for Mode-sty? What other niches do you wish flash sales or other kinds of discount sites catered to?
This story originally published on Mashable .