Alex Shadrow is the founder of Relovv, an app for buying and selling clothing where users swipe on items matched to their size, style, and budget. Alex spoke with us about her passion for sustainability and growth. To Alex, being powerful means creating a positive impact on the world.
Tell me about your journey to Relovv.
I am a third generation sustainability entrepreneur. My parents own a metal recycling company, so sustainability has always been a big part of my life. My parents were big on recycling, compositing, and renewable energy, but never thought much about fashion or its impact.
When I got to college and starting shopping on my own for the first time, I started to ask questions about my footprint: Who makes my clothing? Why is it so cheap? Who is making a shirt that is five dollars?
My search led me to uncovering issues with the fashion industry and, ultimately, I learned that the most sustainable garment is the one already made. I swore off purchasing anything retail, anything new. From there, I tried shopping at thrift shops (which would usually have to be a full day) and even online buy/sell marketplaces, but I found both options to be crazy time consuming.
I created Relovv as a solution for myself. At that time, dating apps were hugely popular. I loved the interactiveness of swiping. So, I made Relovv as a “Bumble for your closet” – to swipe on clothing matched to your size, style, and budget using data and Artificial Intelligence. The Relovv app is kind of like going into a thrift store, but everything on the rack was curated just for you, saving you a ton of time.
How did Relovv get to where it is today, and what are you working on now?
I believe my purpose on this planet is to make an impact and reduce waste. If I can help extend the life-cycle of clothes, we can reduce waste by 82 percent. After I graduated from college, I committed myself to building Relovv. It took 6 years to get it to where it is today. Now, the app matches you to items based on your likes and needs.
We also just launched a VIP Styling Program. You set a monthly budget (ex: $50/ month), and your very own stylist will send you a weekly text with styles hand picked just for you. You can also tell your stylist what you’re looking for and they will help you find it for at least 50 percent off and sustainably! We have hundreds of clients who are absolutely obsessed with the VIP Styling Program. You can check it out here.
As Relovv has developed and grown, how have you?
I used to have this preconceived notion about what it meant to “be a boss.” I thought it meant telling people what to do, managing people. As Relovv has grown, I’ve learned that being a boss actually means letting your team make their own decisions and sometimes their own mistakes. Letting other people lead is how you get the highest quality work and quickest results.
What does your average day look like?
I don’t have an average day, but 50 percent of my day is usually spent in meetings. I believe that is important to maintaining relationships, so I prioritize meetings with staff, investors, and other entrepreneurs. Relationship building is a huge part of being a business owner.
The other half of my day is usually spent developing new features for the app or working on the VIP Styling Program and making sure the clients are the happiest people in the world.
Do you have any hobbies outside of Relovv?
Any good CEO/founder has to have a good work life balance. Nature refills my soul and allows me to continue building Relovv. My fun time includes anything outside, such as horseback riding or hiking.
What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
I would tell a younger version of myself that perfection is the enemy of production. Nothing will ever be perfect or a final product, and getting feedback from people is the fastest way to perfect things and evolve.
What does being powerful mean to you? What makes you feel powerful?
To me, being powerful means having the capability to impact the world. I feel powerful when I am spreading the mission to #ReduceReuseRelovv. Every purchase on Relovv saves 500 gallons of water, which is 4 months of drinking water and is 82 percent more sustainable than shopping new/retail.