Launched in late 2021 Galaxy, a marketplace for vintage and pre-loved fashion, has just secured 7 million dollars with funding coming from Floodgate, Snap Inc's Yellow Accelerator, Turner Novack’s Banana Capital, Homebrew and RGH Capital, among others. FashionUnited speaks to co-founders Danny Quick, former Head of Product at Beyoncé, and Nathan McCartney, former SVP of Commerce for Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, about how their experiences with megastar artists has influenced their entry into the fashion industry and why they are banking on resale.
“Having the opportunity to learn directly from Beyoncé as CEO, she is someone who is not only a master storyteller, but she knows how to tap into the emotions of hundreds of millions of people,” says Quick. “We’ve tried to take a similar approach with how we connect our customers, how our product fits into someone’s life.”
Says McCartney, “The beauty of Roc Nation and watching someone like Jay Z, and even the people who work around him, is that they are experts in brand building, having a vision and knowing the steps necessary to execute it. They’re always forward-thinking, never celebrating yesterday’s win.”
This emotional connection and forward thinking drive Galaxy's business model. Quick, who describes himself as a longtime buyer of secondhand fashion- “Depop, eBay, Grailed is my entire wardrobe”- sees a direct correlation between how music’s power couple remain popular and how fashion resale should engage with fashion consumers: “How Jay Z and Beyoncé reach out to their superfans, and how they can monetize and build their brands from the ground up is applicable to any creative ecosystem. From the intersection of entertainment and technology, we’ve taken a lot of those lessons and applied them to Galaxy.”
What makes Galaxy different from other fashion resale platforms
McCartney spent years “building things at nights and on weekends” to problem solve. Together with third co-founder Brandon Brisbon (former senior engineer at Charles Schwab), Quick and McCartney identified a major failing in the business model of their competitors in the resale sector: Lack of discovery. “If you look at the big legacy established second hand players, Depop, eBay, Poshmark,” says Quick, “90 percent of sales on those platforms start with the user typing in to the search bar to start the search. The burden is very much on the consumer to start the discovery process.” The trio see this as a major block in the consumer shift to committing to secondhand and sustainable fashion. Quick mentions a popular TikTok movement which provides search terms to help secondhand shoppers snag the best finds, arguing that consumers shouldn’t need an insider scoop, nor be required to expend serious time and energy simply to shop secondhand successfully. Through a mix of machine learning and human curation Galaxy aims to help people discover items and outfits they might never have found otherwise.
Galaxy’s merchants, from “bedroom entrepreneurs to store owners" can benefit in other ways too from technology which allows them to build deeper relationships with customers, helping them curate shoppers’ wardrobes almost like personal stylists. “We have this rapidly growing network of sellers across the US who are using our app as the nerve center for their resale business,’ says Quick.“Our goal is to enable them to increase loyalty and repeat buys by using data, which is one of the other big challenges that exists on the other resale platforms. If you’re a seller you’re relying on new customers to grow your business because you don’t get the tools to tell you if a customer bought before.”
All visitors to the site are invited to create a personalized fashion profile which Galaxy believes is important because fashion is about the individual and each item on sale is one-of-a-kind. “This puts us at the opposite end of the spectrum from other companies in the personalized shopping space, such as Stitch Fix or Amazon, which pull from a traditional product inventory where you have every size and color in every sku,” says Quick. "All of the tools out there rely on collaborative filtering, a popular approach that’s been around for a long time, which essentially looks at users’ tastes, people similar to you like this item so you might like it too.” Galaxy sees this as a limiting factor in personalizing a shopper’s experience and have based their approach on what they call “explicit data.” This focuses on what the individual views, how they interact with product, which generates data to inform recommendations. “We aim to build something that’s super engaging, super entertaining, that can be time well spent.”
Galaxy’s priority is offering product at an accessible price point for customers who want to refresh their wardrobe multiple times a year but in an environmentally way. Enabling sellers to interact directly with their followers, like Beyoncé and Jay Z do with their fans, creates a sense of community which makes for a more rewarding experience.
New generation of entrepreneurs in fashion
According to the press release, Galaxy is rattling the industry landscape by creating a truly social, entertainment-geared shopping experience with sustainable fashion at its core. Indeed the founders’ atypical fashion credentials could be just what the industry needs. Quick started his career running a crowdfunding agency to help members of the music industry raise money, building SMS tools to better manage the campaigns. He recognized, even then, the importance of making an emotional connection with fans. When he joined the small team at Beyonce’s company, Parkwood, his role involved anything she did that touched the internet, from headlining Coachella to launching Ivy Park.
McCartney, who was downloading music illegally like most college students in the early 2000s, playing with software and sharing music, was contacted by Jay Z’s company Rocawear Records for bootlegging. Nevertheless excited to be in contact with his idol, McCartney offered to come to NYC and show them what he was doing, where he got offered a job and decided to drop out of college. "I worked on anything that touched the internet from film, music interests, fashion, including clothing lines like Rocawear and Rachel Roy.” He moved to Verizon growing their music business to 350 million dollars annually, then as the business model shifted, worked on deals with Spotify, co-founded Superphone, where he met Brisbon and Quick, before eventually returning to Jay Z’s company Roc Nation as SVP Commerce. Both Quick and McCartney represent a new generation of fashion entrepreneurs who do not follow the rule book.
Their unorthodox approach is evident even in their inspirations.“We think Airbnb is a comparable for what we’re doing,” says McCartney. “They did this incredible job of taking a supply that was historically offline, real estate, and empowering entrepreneurs to bring it online and build businesses. 99 percent of resellable clothing in the US is offline, and our goal is to unlock this new segment of the economy while empowering new entrepreneurs.”
“Fashion is at this inflection point where it is being democratized meaning historically conglomerates dictated what’s cool and available,” says McCartney. “Now, increasingly, creators sell and speak to you directly.”
And we can expect to hear more as these creators are just getting started.