Tinder for T-shirts? It sounds like an unlikely way to fight climate change, but it’s the idea Teresa Chan and her co-founders ran with when they developed MatchTee. We spoke with Teresa to find out more.
Teresa Chan is in the second year of her Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Finance Economics. Where her heart lies, however, is in thinking about how business can combat climate change and help save the environment. It’s this idea that has led to the launch of MatchTee, a project founded by Teresa and her friends – Jimmy Chiu, Matthew Kwon, Deborah Lam and Keith Leonardo – who have added their expertise in business and computer science to the mix. It’s a simple enough idea, born from thinking about platforms many of us use every day.
‘It’s really kind of like Tinder for T-shirts. People post their unwanted clothes, as they might on Facebook Marketplace, but rather than putting them up for sale, our app then matches them with other users. They can then swipe ‘yes ‘ or ‘no’ on clothes they like, and engage in a chat with other users about trading their old clothes, which you can then confirm in the app and swap clothes for free,’ says Teresa. ‘For us, it’s really about reducing clothing waste. If we can stop even one item of clothing going to landfill, then I’d say the project has been worthwhile. Melbourne is a great place to launch a project like this as well, there’s a real culture of recycling clothing and re-use. I haven’t bought any new clothes in the last year, everything I’ve bought has been from op shops, or from trading.’
The idea for MatchTee originally came about as part of an Enactus pitch competition. Now, Teresa and the team have applied to the Catalysr pre-accelerator program and are learning about the realities of launching a startup.
‘Because it’s a social enterprise, it was important to us that at the outset at least, MatchTee is free for users. At the moment we’ve factored that into the first 6 months of the business, then we’re going to look at ways we can finance it. We’re not looking at making this into a profit driven enterprise, but we do need to balance costs, such as app development and advertising. Catalysr starts in April, so that will be a chance for us to develop our model and our pitch.
Working on MatchTee has also given Teresa and her co-founders the opportunity to hone the skills they’ve gained through their university studies.
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‘Working on this project has given me the chance to put a lot of my financial skills into practice, as well as delivering presentations and pitches, analysing data and doing business models. It’s also opened my eyes a little bit to other areas of interest. For example, I’ve done all the UI and UX design for the app and realised that’s an area I really love. I’ve also taken on most of the social media in the lead up to our launch, which I’ve really enjoyed as well.’