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Lifestyle

Suburban fashionistas Lisa and Kaitlyn Fergus find style fix

Many women would admit they’re guilty of a slight shopping addiction, whether it’s clothes, jewelry, shoes or accessories. And that’s where Because I Shop Too Much comes in. Co-creators Kaitlyn Fergus of Downers Grove and sister-in-law Lisa Fergus of Westchester recognized the problem in their own lives.

As their solution to buying new clothes all the time, they began swapping and repurposing their apparel with one other. That spawned the idea for the duo’s website, Because I Shop Too Much, which launched in June. It was an idea that made sense — Kaitlyn combined her marketing experience with Lisa’s fashion (and motherhood) blogging passion, and the budding social media shopping site emerged.

Users on the site have their own “closets,” where they can sell items and search through other users’ interactive closets to find styles and clothes they like. The site uses social media to stay connected and find “friends” whose styles they would wear. BISTM is set up so users can keep in touch with people who share the same size and fashion sense. Selling, buying and trading are all possible on the site — sometimes with people hundreds of miles away.

It’s not just for the ladies, either. Kaitlyn and Lisa confess they have coerced their other halves to partake in the interactive closet fun. More than 500 women and six men currently are registered on the site, with 4,000 items to choose from.

The duo also is branching out with Because They Grow Too Fast, a similar site dedicated to children’s clothing, set to debut this month. Both also blog about style as the Sisters Marie (aptly titled after both their middle names), which currently is running a photo challenge called “Rock it and swap it.” The idea is to rock a style, and then swap it with a friend — but not before taking a picture.

How did the BISTM website first get started?

Kaitlyn: Well, we first started having the conversation because we always wanted new clothes for an event we were going to. We would swap clothes, so we could get something new without spending a ton of money every time. It’s one huge closet for everyone online.

Lisa: I started a blog called 'Stilettos & Diaper Bags' about three years ago. About a year ago, I started getting questions like, 'Can I buy from you?' 'Where can I get that?' And I started selling my clothes right off my blog. I started asking around and engaging friends to see if there was a market for it. I figured we could buy, sell, swap and trade clothes just as I was doing from my blog. It’s just one big database.

What makes this site different than other shopping sites like eBay or Amazon?

L: For me, I like the site better for two reasons — the percentage of money that you’re actually getting as a seller, and because there’s a social media networking aspect. Instead of buying from someone you’re never going to see again, you can say, ‘Thanks for shopping in my closet,’ and they can let me know if they want anything else. It’s a lot more personable.

K: I think a lot of young women our age like the idea that they can come to this … fashion marketplace. Girls who love style feel like it’s a niche — they can go here and it’s different than sites that sell everything.

Do you monitor the site for style?

L: As the owners, we can tell you that there are currently things that aren’t in everyone’s realm of style. … One person’s taste is different than another — some might think it’s hideous, someone might think it’s amazing.

More info

What:
Sisters-in-law develop online shopping forum where guests trade, buy or sell clothes straight out of their closet

More info: bistm.com, or Lisa’s sister site at www.stilettosanddiaperbags.com; both contribute to sistersmarie.blogspot.com

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