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What If Buying Used Clothes Was as Easy as Buying New?

A new browser extension wants to make secondhand shopping easier by suggesting used options when a customer searches online for new clothes.

The fashion industry’s embrace of resale is in part a response to a consumer backlash against the rise of fast fashion.

The fashion industry’s embrace of resale is in part a response to a consumer backlash against the rise of fast fashion.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Finding exactly the type of clothing you want or need secondhand can be a slog. A new company called Beni aims to make the process easier by suggesting used items while a customer is shopping online for new ones. The goal, says Beni Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Sarah Pinner, is to make buying resale “as easy as buying new, so buying new isn’t just the default.”

Beni was founded in May 2021, and its browser extension became available for public use in the US and UK in September. The startup has raised just over $1 million, with investors that include XYZ Venture Capital and Chingona Ventures.

Users begin by downloading the Beni browser extension, currently available on mobile for Safari as well as on the desktop versions of Chrome, Safari and Brave. As they’re shopping for shoes, sweaters or watches at apparel retailers online, running the Beni extension will suggest similar or identical secondhand products in a pop-up box. A click on any of those used items leads to a secondhand marketplace, where the user can get more information and buy the item directly — in which case Beni gets a cut.