Clemence Billiemaz, Varsha Vaidyanath, Kartiki Gaur, Minyue Xia, Qingyue (Cecilia) Zhan

Sustainability. What may seem like just a trending buzzword is now turning out to be one of the hottest topics amongst fashion-savvy individuals. In fact, NPR reports that the resale industry has skyrocketed to evolve into a $28 billion industry. Much can be attributed to this astonishing rise in second-hand purchasing, like Generation Z’s growing interest in social media influencers who promote eco-friendly habits like thrifting.

However, Gen Z’s changing consumer habits are not being reflected in the e-commerce marketplace. Especially for college students, who often have to choose to prioritize either price or sustainability. The struggle for a happy medium between the two is omnipresent.

Hence, in many user interviews conducted with college students by ReU’s founding team, there appeared to be three common pain points in university students’ journeys of accumulating an eco-friendly wardrobe: safety, price, and campus friendliness.

After hearing college students’ concerns about accumulating a sustainable wardrobe, UC Berkeley students Kartiki Gaur, Minyue Xia, Qingyue Zhan, Varsha Vaidyanath, and Clemence Billiemaz teamed up to develop a solution. From there, the team founded ReU: a campus-friendly, digital second-hand marketplace. Designed by university students for university students, ReU is an online thrifting marketplace in which university students can buy and sell clothing with other university students.

With its easy and intuitive user interface, ReU outperforms its competitors (namely Depop and Poshmark) in the areas of safety, price, and campus friendliness. ReU has secure options available for choosing pre-selected exchange spots and buyers/sellers must have an official university ID that has to be verified by the platform. In addition, transactions are safely executed via Stripe. Since exchanges are made in person, there are no shipping or service fees. State-of-the-art ML and NLP models drive ReU’s recommendation system and “Style Quiz” that help students 1) find garments related to special events and 2) help develop their own personal sense of style, respectively.