Name: Nikki Durkin
Business name: 99dresses
Nikki Durkin was 18 when she founded 99dresses, a site where users upload their unwanted clothes to sell for a virtual currency, which they can then spend on other users’ unwanted items.
99dresses is Durkin’s third business. She started her first business, KultKandy, at the age of 15, selling T-shirts that she would design before having them printed and drop shipped from China.
Durkin sold the T-shirts through eBay and grew the business to be a highly profitable little venture, turning over $1,200 a week.
99dresses is a site where users upload their unwanted clothes to sell for a virtual currency called buttons, which they can then spend on other users’ unwanted clothes, says her biggest overseas competition comes from eBay.
After finishing high school, Durkin approached tech seed fund Pollenizer, which was instantly taken with her idea of liberating women’s wardrobes of items never worn.
Durkin worked with incubator Pollenizer to create a Facebook page that was shared with more than 40,000 women, using the fan base to attract her first users.
99dresses opened for trading in 2010 and has been growing ever since. Durkin continues to work on 99dresses, taking care of product development, community management and marketing.
She attributes her success to Pollenizer co-founder Mick Liubinskas, who acted as her mentor, but is also well aware of her own abilities.
“I’m mature for my age and I hang out with a lot of older people and I fit in, but you just need to prove yourself through your actions,” Durkin says.
“I’ve never had a problem being taken seriously, especially in the tech field where there are a lot of young people. You just need to do it – start something and learn from it.”