Redefining the shopping experience in the Middle East.
Introducing BAZAARA: MENA’s newest thrifting app that helps buyers find pre-loved clothes and home goods using technology. “Bazaara is on a mission to revolutionize the way we thrift by providing a platform connecting buyers and sellers of secondhand fashion,” adds Founder Alyssa Mariano. Learn the latest about the app below.
Interview by: Contributing Editor, Reefaya Noortaj
Thrifting has slowly become the new sustainable fad in the MENA region due to its long-term benefits, duch as reducing waste and providing fashionable ways to go green! Thrifting is kinder to the global environment because it reduces pollution and limits workers’ right violations. Another key benefit is that prices on thrift store goods save you money long-term.
The MENA region is the abode of endless luxury and fast fashion and Alyssa Mariano adds a special initiative in the region’s retail industry. Alyssa is the Co-founder and CEO of BAZAARA, founded in 2020. BAZAARA is a digital platform for buying and selling preloved clothing via a marketplace app in Dubai. The brand advocates a sustainable approach to fashion and living, underlining Alyssa’s sole passion and purpose to reduce the impact of fashion on the environment by shifting consumer habits. She aims to redefine the shopping experience in the region by integrating technology with secure payment options and delivery logistics in order to establish a smooth omni-channel experience for users.
“Bazaara is on a mission to revolutionize the way we thrift by providing a platform connecting buyers and sellers of secondhand fashion,” says Alyssa. Having recognized a niche in the MENA market, Alyssa encourages consumers with digital tools to declutter their homes. Originally from New York, her bachelors in Business Management from West Virginia University pivoted her entrepreneurial journey as well as working in brands such as Emirates (Transguard Group) and Kingspan Group. As a female entrepreneur in the UAE, she recognizes the UAE government’s initiatives on reducing, recycling, and reusing and remove pending obstacles that female ventures may face, with the exemplary aid from the government in supporting women leaders. “With the recent establishment of female business councils, it clears the path for women to innovate and ultimately develop their business further in the region. One of our core values as part of our sustainability manifesto at BAZAARA is Diversity & Inclusion- We believe that having a diverse workforce gives us a competitive advantage.”
Alyssa’s vision of BAZAARA pools the ease of technology with the values of living and being fashionable sustainably. The concept is popular amongst Millennials and Generation Z age groups, supplying the demand for vintage and preloved items that have gained recognition in the last few years as a sub-abstract of climate change awareness. “We recognized a niche in the region for the thrift shopping experience and demand, especially since decluttering has become a priority amongst younger generations, which typically starts from the closet,” says Alyssa. The team structured the digital platform by modernizing thrifting as a movement in the region, offering a platform to showcase distinct and unique items that are only sourced in BAZAARA. The app covers convenience for the customers and sellers, such as taking care of payment and delivery—ensuring security on both ends. The future of fashion and technology is the perfect marriage that is transforming based on this new consumer trend of conscious living. Alyssa notes that it’s important for brands to stay agile and learn to pivot quicker than before. “COVID has accelerated a digital transformation throughout most industries, including fashion. Technology is playing an important role and providing new products for the industry such as virtual try-on and smart clothing.”
Startling statistics stressed by Alyssa emphasizes that on average 60% of a person’s closet is unused. “This ‘trapped inventory’ is the equivalent of $36 billion worldwide; what’s more is that up to $500 billion is due to clothing being underutilized or thrown away each year,” states Alyssa. The fashion industry produces 10% of global carbon emissions and is responsible for 20% of all industrial water pollution worldwide. As a single solution, BAZAARA wanted to provide a platform to directly reduce these numbers. It is a platform to make a difference within the industry by laying out an all-inclusive space to thrift, buy, and sell preloved new or vintage items. “With a resale marketplace such as BAZAARA, users can earn extra cash from their closets instead of throwing their occasionally-used clothing in the landfill. Buyers can purchase quality brands for less- contributing to the circular fashion economy,” says Alyssa. Available for both IOS and Android, the app is operated through a bidding system that gratifies both the seller and buyer. The app charges a negligible transaction fee to keep the sellers incentivized. The process is clear cut and takes no time to register on the app, users can instantly upload images and descriptions of the items they wish to sell. The seller receives the payment only once the item has been received by the buyer and that it meets their level of satisfaction.
To recap, Alyssa urges the importance of finding a product-market fit, talking to early users, incorporating their feedback and last but not least, staying ahead of fluctuating trends, competitors and industry emerging start-up firms. “Being able to stay agile and pivot quickly is something that has proven to be important in 2020 and 2021. That’s what we at BAZAARA are doing; as we began the ideation phase in early 2020, develop our tech throughout the pandemic and continue to develop BAZAARA and innovate, we ensure we are staying on top of tech trends for present market-fit and in the future.”
About The Editor
Born in Bangladesh and raised in the Middle East, UAE and Bahrain, Reefaya is a postgraduate from The London School of Economics in U.K. and an undergraduate from Sussex University. Reefaya has an immense love for sustainable fashion, social development and art.