The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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SMU grad launches fashion auction site

Fall is not just about the changing weather but also the changing trends. Magazines like Vogue and Elle produce their infamous September issues, each equivalent to a small novel, which forecast trends for the new fashion year. As a student, new fashion trends and seasons are both exciting and slightly disheartening.

It is hard to walk through Neiman Marcus without getting an ache in your stomach, a longing for things that are just out of your reach, or rather, your credit limit. What is there to do? Megan Masoner, SMU MBA recipient and creator of reFINEstyle.com, has the answer.
ReFINEstyle brings fashion home, right to your desktop, providing new and pre-owned luxury apparel and accessories at a fraction of the price.

“We tend to think of it as eBay meets Neiman Marcus,” Masoner said.

This truly unique shopping experience is just this—the meeting of two great ideas. ReFINEstyle combines selling and buying into one easy-to-use platform.

“The goal was to create a shopping experience to be customized and very personal, where you can find great deals and bargains without weeding through hundreds of choices that aren’t your size,” Masoner said.

With both buying and selling options as well as the ability to save sizing preferences, reFINEstyle is very student-oriented.

“As a student, most girls want to be fashion conscious, but you’re doing it on a budget because you’re in school and you maybe don’t have accessibility, time or resources to get those designer finds,” Masoner said.

Masoner adds that reFINEstyle makes the high-end brands seen on celebrities and the runway more easily affordable.

“We make apparel like Christian Louboutin and Gucci more accessible because you can get it at a great bargain,” Masoner said.

ReFINEstyle also offers shoppers the capability to auction items they no longer use in their closet.

“Everyone has that purchase that they love,” Masoner said. “They wear it and then they’re done with it, but they don’t want to give it away, and so it’s a great alternative to get some extra cash.”

With the recent launch of eBay Fashion, the market for online fashion auctions is closing in. What was once an innovative idea is now catching on to a larger crowd. Masoner, however, argues that reFINEstyle is unique, a shopping experience unlike that of its competitors.

“I think our site is really differentiated because we are a niche specialty site,” Masoner said.

“We only accept 800 brands, so you won’t see brands like the Gap and Old Navy intermixed with the high-end designers.”

Masoner wants to differentiate her site from eBay, especially when it comes to product search ability and organization.

“When you do a search criteria for, let’s say, a cashmere sweater, you don’t get a return for a Beanie Baby or a hockey stick,” Masoner said of comparing her site to eBay.

ReFINEstyle is more than just an eBay-like platform. The site provides two options for its customers. They can sell their own items, retaining 88 percent of the profits, or they can use a stylist—a person who will sell items for them, and earn 70 percent of the profit.
Unlike its competitors, the site also offers a style watch, which monitors the latest trends and allows for easy browsing within groups.

With the economy in this state, it is hard for anyone to spend large amounts of money on things such as clothing. For many, it is even harder being a student during this economical haze. But for students on a budget, reFINEstyle makes shopping easy and affordable.

Masoner explains that even in a bad economy, women want to feel good and look good.

“I think what we provide is accessibility to maintain that lifestyle where you can have something you feel really great about wearing but you can do it in a way where you’re getting 70 to 80 percent off retail,” Masoner said.

Many items, such as gently worn Marc Jacobs handbags, which retail for nearly $600, can be found at almost half the price. Entire outfits, from head to toe, can be purchased for the cost of almost one item at the mall.

“I don’t think women are shopping less because of the economy. I think they’re shopping smarter,” Masoner said.

Smarter is definitely the name of the game with reFINEstyle.

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