Q: What’s this project all about?
A: We’re building an online clothing marketplace — the kind that lets members buy and sell with each other. The cultural emphasis of this site will be on androgynous, unisex, butch, dapper, femme, gender-bending, gender-transgressive, and gender-fanflippingtastic clothing solutions for all kinds of bodies.
Q: Who is this Sarah Dopp person?
A: Hi, that’s me. I’ve been building websites and online communities for over ten years. I also run a community expression blog about gender variance called Genderfork, which has a big and diverse readership of gender-conscious people attached to it. This project is my next step in serving this population. You can learn more about my work at SarahDopp.com
Q: So is this just for trans and genderqueer people?
A: Nope — this is for anyone who can’t easily find what they’re looking for in a typical clothing store. This project is interested in custom solutions. Folks who don’t fit traditional gender roles have an especially large set of unmet needs when it comes to clothing, and I believe that if we can meet those needs, we will meet a lot of other people’s needs in the process, too.
Q: So how are you going to meet those needs?
A: We’re going to fill this site with a lively community that is actively finding and creating solutions together. Vendors will include indie designers, crafters, clothing makers, tailors, and people selling things from their closets and local thrift stores. Pair that with great communication tools that help members share what they’re learning, what they’re excited about, and what they’re looking for, and we’ll have a culture-rich gorgeous Internet bazaar for the playful, the exquisite, and the just trying to get dressed in the morning.
Q: Will it be exclusively for clothing?
A: Probably not. I’d also like to support art, accessories, and other relevant fun stuff. Clothing is just the main focus for now.
Q: Will it be international?
A: YES!!! As international as we can make it. We’ll be limited by (a) our payment systems (currently Paypal. Does it work in your country?) and (b) by how far sellers are willing to ship (we’ll try to convince them that global is good!). But yes, we are all over the world, and international is an important goal.
Q: Will you support clothing for children? How about for plus sizes?
A: YES YES YES!!!! It’s up to our sellers to fill all these holes, but this is a big part of our mission: every body type and size needs support. Children and fatshionistas included.
Q: Is it going to be called Genderplayful?
A: That’s the plan right now. I think it’s fun and clean and sums up what we’re all about. If you hate the name, though, now’s a good time to let me know.
Q: How is this project going to help trans and genderqueer people who can’t afford fancy custom-made clothes?
A: I know that many gender-variant people are economically disadvantaged, and I’m committed to looking for ways to help. Right from the get-go, I will encourage a broad range of pricing in the vendor stores, and ask people to consider selling used clothing at thift store prices. I will also support and prominently link to other programs that provide clothing resources for gender-variant people (for example, I’ve heard of a great chest binder exchange program). And if anyone wants to start a new program along these lines, I’d love to talk about partnering with you to help pull in resources and get the word out.
What I can’t commit to yet are things beyond my baseline resources, but I can tell you a bit of what I’m thinking about. If we can drum up enough funds to cover the custom programming, I’d really like to build a unique barter system / clothing exchange program into our marketplace. And if we turn out to be a healthy business with some extra money on our hands, I want to fund more features and programs that keep supporting the needs of these communities.
Q: How much is it going to cost to use the site?
A: I hesitate to make promises because so many variables are likely to change between now and launch, but here’s the current plan: Listing items to sell will be free. When an item sells, a transaction fee will be applied, and that fee will be somewhere in between what Etsy charges and what Ebay charges. I don’t foresee any other fees for general use of the site.
Q: How is your business being structured?
A: I’m talking with several business advisers, and I will make those decisions after I know how much community funding I have to start with.
Q: What will the site be built with?
A: The current plan is to use Marketpress, a Wordpress Multi-Site e-commerce extension, along with PayPal Chained Payments. I’ve done some initial testing, and it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. (It also helps that I’m a Wordpress geek.)
Q: Why don’t you just do this on Ebay or Etsy?
A: They’re great services, but they’re not for us. Etsy only allows handmade and vintage goods, and is much more interested in crafts than clothes. Ebay is an overwhelming fast-paced madhouse. Also, this undertaking will require a lot of community and culture building for our specific interests, and Etsy and Ebay aren’t set up to support what we need in those areas. But the real reason is that there’s plenty of room on the Internet for us to create a space that meets our needs.
Q: How can I help besides giving money?
A: Spread the word! You can submit a letter, photo, or video showing your support of the project so we can share it with others, and keep proving that this matters to people. You can fill out this form to let us know what you’re looking for. You can ask your friends to get involved. You can track down vendors who would be absolutely perfect for this project, and let them know that it’s on it’s way. The earlier you start seeing yourself as an active member of this community, the stronger the community will be when we launch the site. So start now!
Q: So what’s up with the Marketplace now?
A: Well, we’re working on it! Rummaging around, looking for that crescent wrench and generally making it go. You can check back for updates, or just watch the newsletter - We’ll keep you posted!
Q: What if I have a question you didn’t answer here?.
A: You can ask it here or by emailing me at email@example.com, and I’ll do my best to answer it.
Thank you so much for all your support!
Questions from Fundraising Days
Q: What was your fundraising goal, and why?
A: I asked for $5,000 as a starting goal. $5,000 will (modestly) cover graphic design and business legal fees, which are the two critical pieces for launch that I can’t fake. Because we raised that, you have my word that this website will happen.
Q: I donated, but PayPal sent you the wrong name or address for me. What do I do???
A: Don’t worry! I understand that addresses (and even names) change frequently for some of us. Before I do anything with your information, I’ll email you with a chance to update/confirm it. (This will come later, when the site is closer to finished.)
What does matter is your email address. Whatever email address is showing on your PayPal receipt is the one we have on file for you now, so please don’t lose contact with it. Thanks!
Q: Will my money be used for anything other than this project?
A: If we meet our starting goal, your money will only be used for this project. It will cover expenses relating to the business, website development, and community building work, and will also go toward paying staff (including me, if possible) for their time.
Q: What do we get for these donations? Are they tax-deductible?
A: Besides the satisfaction of knowing you helped something really important get started in the world, you’ll also get some other awesome perks for donating to this campaign.
Please know that your donations are not tax deductible in the United States because we are not a 501(c)3. You should also know that your contributions are a form of sponsorship, and not a loan or an investment. For other examples of this kind of fundraising, take a look at Kickstarter.com.