As music pulsed through Boston University’s Center for Gender, Sexuality and Activism on Sunday, students eyed the space, full of used clothing, with anticipation. Through racks of shirts, coats and accessories, Alex Shadrow walked to the head of the room, cut the music and shouted, “Go.” With students ripping clothes off the racks and guarding them protectively in their arms, BU’s first clothing swap had just begun.
“We didn’t want to make it a money event, but something more around the fun of clothing shopping,” Shadrow, a College of Communication senior, said. “We wanted to do something fun for BU girls to bond over.”
Shadrow is the CEO and founder of Unitiques, a free, student-exclusive online marketplace that hosted Sunday’s clothing swap. With over 3,000 college and university students across the country using her website, Shadrow said she is constantly looking to expand her brand, a process spurred on by events at BU.
“Unitiques was never an idea that I had. It sort of just came to me,” she said. “I tried to go to secondhand stores carrying these heavy bags, only to be ripped off. I didn’t like that process, [and] I figured there had to be something else out there for college students, which there wasn’t. So I created Unitiques.”
Shadrow’s website allows students to buy and sell new and used clothing and offers a search bar based on college, price range, category, color and size.
“Unitiques is great because it feels safer, and it’s good to give our clothes a second chance,” said clothing swap attendee Sara Tse, a first-year graduate student in Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. “It’s easy for students to make a few extra bucks.”
Since its inception in December 2013, Unitiques has grown from a Facebook group solely within BU to an online shop with users in states as far away as California and Alaska.
“What’s really been special for me is the response from students and how much they like the website. It’s my motivation to keep on going,” Shadrow said. “Watching the website go up has been a major challenge with multiple hurdles, but it’s really rewarding.”
To promote Unitiques and network with other students and young entrepreneurs, Shadrow said she is focusing on projects that foster collaboration and support in the BU community.
In a partnership with Cookin Cafe and Grille — who also catered Sunday’s clothing swap — Shadrow is working with College of Fine Arts students Alexander Golob and Addie Camp to paint a BU and Boston-themed mural in the Allston restaurant.
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