The 9 Best Fashion Start-Ups We're Hooked On

You could say we have a soft spot for fashion start-ups at Refinery29. Humble beginnings, innovative ideas, passionate staffers, and (yes!) success. Sound familiar? We're taking a few well-deserved moments to give a standing ovation to our fellow fashion start-ups that are changing the way we shop, share inspiration, swap personal stories, and give back. Make no mistake, these bookmarked websites make weekly, if not daily, appearances in our browsers. Tapping into some of the creative minds behind these nine successful start-ups (AKA their founders), we've also corralled valuable advice — perfect for your own entrepreneurial endeavors someday!
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Beach Mint
Launch Date: July 2010
The Elevator Pitch: BeachMint has had a consecutive line of successful launches that provide shoppers with customized products on a monthly basis. Branches include JewelMint, StyleMint, BeautyMint, and ShoeMint, each with celebrity and industry spokeswomen including the Olsen twins, Jessica Simpson, Kate Bosworth, and Rachel Bilson. Each site suggests purchases based on a survey you complete about your style or beauty regimen in an attempt to predict the product you'll want to buy and love to use.
Why It's Worth Bookmarking: The custom aspect is key. Each BeachMint branch caters to the taste of the individual. The monthly membership prices are affordable, which means that customers can rely on new products each month without splurging over their budget.

Founders: Josh Berman and Diego Berdakin
Your startup, in six words...
JB: "BeachMint is... Innovative. Celebrity Curation. Incredible Value. Exclusive Designs."
If you could pass on one piece of advice for future start-ups, what would it be?
JB: "It is all about the TEAM."

Photo: Via BeachMint
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Mikkat Market
Launch Date: December 2010
The Elevator Pitch: Want to dress like Katherine Kim? Think modern, urban, sleek, and with an edge à la Rick Owens and Alex Wang. Her personally curated collection welcomes new items for sale each week, along with suggestions on how to style each piece she offers.
Why It's Worth Bookmarking: Shop here to find unique items that are not the same cookie-cutter stuff as the rest of the crowd. Plus, the prices are so sweet, you'll continually be checking in to see what Katherine has welcomed to the site next.

Founder: Katherine Kim
Your startup, in six words...
KK: "Walking through my passion and dream."
If you could pass on one piece of advice for future start-ups, what would it be?
KK: "Create something different based on your specialty."

Photo: Via Mikkat Market
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The Coveteur
Launch Date: January 2011
The Elevator Pitch: Satisfying our sartorial voyeurism, The Coveteur is the brainchild of Erin Kleinberg and Stephanie Mark. Delve inside the homes and closets of the biggest fashion influencers in the game. Wowed? Always. Disappointed? Never.
Why It's Worth Bookmarking: You've never seen as many spectacular Chanel C's as you have in the closet of their impeccably dressed subjects. Unless you have, and in that case, maybe you deserve to be featured next. This is the first time we've actually been able to see so many personal collections from tastemakers that influence the industry. We guess you could call that nosey...but that doesn't stop us from visiting each day.

Founders: Stephanie Mark and Erin Kleinberg
Your startup, in six words…
SM & EK: "Passion project, innovative, personal, all consuming, deconstructing, exclusive."
If you could pass on one piece of advice for future start-ups, what would it be?
SM & EK: "We know it sounds cliche, but you have to be 110% committed to the company. There is loss of sleep, money and time —but none of that matters if you are doing what you believe in and what you love."

Photo: Via The Coveteur
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Moda Operandi
Launch Date: February 2011
The Elevator Pitch: Once you've launched your (free) membership with the site, you gain access to shop the newest ready-to-wear collections, high-end accessories, and luxe beauty products. No doubt about it: this site is for the ultimate brand devotees.
Why It's Worth Bookmarking:  It's the most exclusive, runway-to-closet trunk show you can find. Did we mention it's operated by the style stars we already obsess, namely Lauren Santo Domingo, Áslaug Magnúsdóttir, Taylor Tomasi Hill, and most recently, Nina Garcia, to name a few.

Founders: Áslaug Magnúsdóttir and Lauren Santo Domingo
Your startup, in six words...
AM: "
Redefining the future of online retail.

"
If you could pass on one piece of advice for future start-ups, what would it be?
AM: "If you have a great idea, align yourself with amazing talent and pursue it aggressively. Great ideas don’t stay secret for long."

Photo: Via Moda Operandi
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Pinterest
Launch Date: March 2010
The Elevator Pitch: Create your own virtual mood board — or pinboard if you will. Share inspiration while you harness your own, and group your pins into categories that you customize, for instance "New Bedroom Designs," "Dream Vacations," or "Spring Wish List." Currently, you must request an invite for Pinterest membership in order to join.
Why It's Worth Bookmarking: Get flooded (in a good way) with inspiration. Pinterest allows you to discover design and style from sources all over the web. Plus, it's everything we love about a website: addicting, fun, and constantly growing with ideas.

Founders: Ben Silberman, Paul Sciarra and, Yashwanth Nelapati

Photo: Via Pinterest
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Rookie
Launch Date: September 2011
The Elevator Pitch: Spearheaded by style wunderkind blogger, Tavi Gevinson, Rookie mag is an online publication that speaks to today's teen, instead of speaking over their heads.
Why It's Worth Bookmarking: Tavi has always fascinated us with her wisdom beyond her years and wardrobe choices that are a far cry from the Limited Too getups we wore at an age when she sat front row at Fashion Week. Her charm has spilled over into Rookie, where her team of staff writers (a range of ages, we might add) actually address the coming-of-age topics we all can relate to—think your first kiss, concerns about drug use, and high school insecurities you've overcome but can't seem to forget. 

Editor in chief: Tavi Gevinson
Your startup, in six words...
TG: "A new website for teenage girls."
If you could pass on one piece of advice for future start-ups, what would it be?
TG: "A startup should fill a void, not add to a pile of voices that are already successful. Rookie came about because I felt there wasn't an honest, feminist, but mainstream publication for teenage girls. Observing what made other people or sites successful is dangerous because you end up comparing yourself to them. The tone of your writing can get too aware of its context within a community, or you subconsciously try and make your site like one that already exists and already fills a void. It's easy to tell when a writer or editor or site doesn't really care about the obligatory 'people are talking about this so I guess we should talk about it' posts. If you are truly thoughtful about what you're writing, people will be interested."

Photo: Via Rookie
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Pose
Launch Date: June 2011
The Elevator Pitch: "Hey, like my latest sample sale steal/glittery nail polish/vintage cape I scored on eBay?!" This site answers all these questions with a virtual style card catalog of self-photographed shots from some of the biggest posers around — you! Your fellow fashion addicts can "Love this!" look or post questions, while you document your addictive style charm.
Why It's Worth Bookmarking: If you're like us and find it hard to resist a street style roundup, Pose is just as addicting. Get inspired by your peers and, in exchange, take the opportunity to share your own eye for style in this online community.

Founder: Dustin Rosen
Your startup, in six words...
DR: "Discover Fashion, Beauty & Style."
If you could pass on one piece of advice for future start-ups, what would it be?
DR: "Take Risks. If you don't get turned down at least once a day, you are not trying hard enough."

Photo: Via Pose
8 of 9
Warby Parker
Launch Date: February 2010
The Elevator Pitch: It's simple math: one for me, one for you. The online retailer, started by a group of friends, not only sells on-trend and super-affordable eyewear, they also work with Vision Spring to donate a pair of glasses for those who are in need in return for each frame they sell.
Why It's Worth Bookmarking: It's no surprise we are fans in the office — just let our eye gear speak for itself. While the frames have a vintage appeal, they are budget friendly for the modern-day glasses wearer who understand that frames are not just a medical necessity, they are an everyday accessory. Plus, with cool collaborations — including their recent partnership with Suno — we have high hopes for the future of amazing eyewear design that's made easy to try on, easy to buy, and easy to keep coming back for more.

Founders: Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, Jeffrey Raider, and David Gilboa
Your startup, in six words...
NB: "World changing designer eyewear for $95."
If you could pass on one piece of advice for future start-ups, what would it be?
NB: "The best businesses solve real problems. Identify a problem that you're super passionate about and work creatively and tirelessly to resolve it."

Photo: Via Warby Parker
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Of A Kind
Launch Date: November 2010
The Elevator Pitch: It's now easier to don, well, one-of-a-kind finds with this website. Of A Kind teams with fresh designers for weekly ecommerce offerings that are only available in limited amounts. 
Why It's Worth Bookmarking: This is your chance to wear an original designer piece, before the designer gets too hot to handle. Visit this site for your taste of up-and-coming talent — they promise there's so much more to come in 2012.

Founders: Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo
Your startup, in six words...
CM & EC: "Exclusives and stories from emerging designers."
If you could pass on one piece of advice for future start-ups, what would it be?
CM & EC: "Tell everyone! Not only does it help make it real but you'll also be surprised by how excited and willing people are to help. We made some really amazing connections through people who have nothing to do with the fashion or tech worlds."

Photo: Via Of A Kind
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