Case Study

Threadflip, Online Fashion Marketplace

  • Fashion
  • Marketplace

Researching the clothes shopping and swapping experience


Threadflip is an online marketplace for people to easily swap clothing. When Threadflip was in its early startup stage, the company came to us with two UX challenges: find out how women swap clothes offline, then discover women's needs when that experience gets transformed to an online setting.

Who likes fashion? Who swaps clothes? Threadflip captures this unique experience online, with the help of our rapid-fire user research and visual design.


To help Threadflip better understand their target users, we conducted interviews, online surveys, and field observations by attending and participating in actual clothing swap events.

We conducted six in-depth interviews and several more informal interviews drawing from several sources: clothing swap attendees, online clothing swappers and sellers, and those in our own social circles who we knew had swapped or sold clothing online or in person.

We also posted a craigslist survey asking San Francisco women if they had clothes they didn't wear and how they shopped or swapped for clothing. Nearly all of the 350+ respondents had bought clothes online, and 90% had swapped clothes with friends and family. We asked the respondents to describe an item of clothing they didn't wear and analyzed their answers for common themes.

Last, we attended two clothing swaps in San Francisco — one fundraiser and one in-home event attended by a group of friends. We swapped clothes of our own, chatted with other women there, and asked about the pros and cons of trading clothes with friends and strangers.

Our research findings ultimately helped inform our conceptual designs for the Threadflip website.


Through our research, we found that translating the clothes shopping/swapping experience from the offline to the online world is the key to Threadflip's success. We helped them drive their new startup to perfectly understand that user experience.

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