Tonight, Alexandra Shadrow is introducing her fashion business UNItiques to three million people. The recent BU alum is featured on this season’s Project Runway eight-episode spin-off, Project Runway: Fashion Startup, and in tonight’s episode, she will pitch her clothing website to investors from Birchbox, Rebecca Minkoff, the Hildun Corporation, and Gwynnie Bee. The Lifetime series, which premiered October 20, focuses on up-and-coming fashion and beauty entrepreneurs who try to secure funds to help grow their budding ventures.
“Months ago one of my friends forwarded me a very vague ad that invited fashion companies to apply to be on a TV opportunity,” Shadrow (CGS’12, COM’15) says. “I applied not knowing what the show was. I knew it would be on a major network, but other than that I was in the dark. I just said yes, as I always do.”
Shadrow started UNItiques her junior year, after feeling underpaid by local consignment stores when she tried to sell her old clothes, and being unwilling to put her address on Craigslist. She started a Facebook page to sell her shirts, jeans, and dresses exclusively to other BU students, and the venture grew into the UNItiques website, with 2,000 students registered within three months. These days the website has 12,500 members on 500 campuses. It’s free to users, who sell their clothes and household goods using an online payment system.
After going through what she calls a “rigorous screening process,” she learned that she had been selected to appear on the show, with competitors including Z Skin Cosmetics, an organic skincare company, novelty sock company Sock 101, and the accessories brand WXYZ, whose creations were featured in a Beyonce music video. Shadrow’s segments were filmed last April and May.
She credits BU’s Entrepreneurship program’s 10-week Startup Camp (which she participated in in 2013) and BU’s New Venture Competition (where she took home first place and more than $96,000 in cash and prizes) for helping her perfect her pitch.
Despite her usual confidence in front of potential investors, pitching on the show was nerve-racking, says Shadrow, who travels back and forth between Los Angeles and Boston to run her business. “I’m really proud of myself because I did the best I could. I’m not really sure what I’ll look like on TV, because I was more focused on how am I going to get this investment. Even if it comes out terrible, I’m proud.”
UNItiques is holding 100 special giveaways tonight to draw more eyeballs to the website; an email address is needed to enter.
Watch UNItiques on Project Runway: Fashion Startup tonight, Thursday, November 3, at 10:30 p.m. on Lifetime.