As Malaysians, we are not strangers to scam cases that occur on e-commerce platforms, especially when carrying out purchases that are on C2C (customer to customer) marketplaces.
We’ve read about buyers ranting on social media about having paid for an item, and irresponsible sellers who pocket the money without delivering the purchased item, switch off their handphones, and disappear. Even the COD (Cash On Delivery) method is no guarantee, because the other party may be a no-show and one could end up wasting their time.
This is a problem which Fong Kam Ling, the founder of CLOSETStyles, recognised, and she is putting all her focus into solving it, specifically in the women’s online fashion marketplace.
CLOSETStyles is a peer-to-peer women’s fashion app which includes buyers’ protection and delivery service, so users can buy and sell their unloved items on a safe and secure platform.
Kam Ling explained that she prefers to use the word ‘unloved’ instead of ‘pre-loved’ or ‘second-hand’, because these are items that are not loved by their owners, but could be loved by someone else instead; thus the idea of selling from one person’s closet to another. CLOSETStyles lets users earn “Closet Cash” by selling their current unloved fashion pieces to buy styles that they love and want to wear today.
With so many other C2C online marketplaces for users to sell their pre-loved items, what makes CLOSETStyles stand out from the rest?
1. Delivery Service
Basically, CLOSETStyles acts as a ‘middle person’ in the transactions made via the app. When a buyer makes a purchase, a courier is dispatched by CLOSETStyles to the doorstep of the seller to collect the item. The item is then delivered to the buyer. CLOSETStyles manages the door-to-door delivery from seller to buyer, so that shoppers and sellers don’t have to fuss over those details.
2. Payment Security
After making a purchase, the buyer’s payment is put on hold with MOLPay until the item is successfully delivered. The money is then released to the seller within 3 days.
3. Buyers’ Protection
One problem that buyers face when buying pre-loved items online is that the item received looks nothing like the item advertised online, or that there are defects with the items which were not clearly specified by sellers.
CLOSETStyles makes it compulsory for all sellers to specify in the description the condition of their items. It is up to buyers to decide if they wish to purchase an item with a small stain or with a slight defect.
Also, users can post up to 5 pictures of their items so that buyers can get close-up views of the items. If there are any defects on the item which are not stated in the item description, buyers can return the item and payment will not be transferred to the seller.
“Get what’s listed or you get your money back,” Kam Ling said firmly.
Sizing issues are not included under the buyers’ protection, however, though Kam Ling said that in the future, there will be a way for users to key in their measurements to minimise the chances of buying something that is in the wrong size.
“All these services not only solve the security issues when buying things online, they also ensure a smooth transaction and maintains the convenience for buyers and sellers as well,” Kam Ling added.
Shopping From The Closet Of Local Fashionistas
Every fortnight, CLOSETStyles will collaborate with famed fashionistas, ranging from bloggers, celebrities, and women from different backgrounds, career paths and lifestyles to let users shop from their wardrobes. For the current ‘Featured Closet’ which was launched just yesterday (16th of April), talented Malaysian TVC model, Fiqa Liyana Chong, is on CLOSETStyles for her fans and followers to peruse her closet and channel her style.
On Making A Change In Malaysia
Graduating with a mass communications degree in Singapore, Kam Ling went on to work in a construction company in the operations department, and was involved in the construction of Universal Studios Singapore. Then, she worked in branding and marketing for an aerospace company before moving on to a sales position in a manufacturing company.
After 6 to 7 years of working in Singapore, her real journey started when she finally quit her job to move back to Malaysia to improve the women’s fashion online marketplace with CLOSETStyles.
I was curious as to why she decided to start her venture here in Malaysia, and not stay in Singapore since she is probably more familiar with the e-commerce and consumer market there. Kam Ling said that it is because of the seriousness of fraudulent cases in Malaysia, and she senses the urgency and need for such a platform, “I think I’ve chosen the right place to start this, the response of the users — they like how they are protected and I’m really enjoying the journey so far.”
When asked if she has any regrets, Kam Ling answered, “When you really have something that you want to change, you will just do it. I resigned from my position at the peak of my career and my previous boss didn’t want to let me go. But I believe if you have the passion and courage, you can move forward.”
Kam Ling is currently the sole founder of CLOSETStyles, but she has hinted that she might be getting a partner very soon. With her determination and drive, CLOSETStyles was crowned as the winner of the 1337 Venture Alpha Startup Pre-Accelerator Program, and Kam Ling is looking forward to better things to come.