Cally has been on Dragons’ Den before. It was all the way back in 2015 with a business called, Mallzee.
Mallzee was a shopping app that was a bit like 'Tinder for Clothes.' The business used data generated from 1.5m users to help big retailers to make better decisions about the products they stocked.
We still think Mallzee was a great idea, but we weren’t able to change how these companies bought stock properly. It was too ingrained in their business models, and built on the belief that waste was acceptable. We tried everything we could to drive change here but when the pandemic hit there simply wasn’t a way for us to survive if we kept doing this - these companies just took too long to change!
As the pandemic took hold we started to hear about big brands and retailers cancelling orders for new clothes and refusing to pay manufacturers, leaving workers in textile manufacturing countries facing significant hardship!
So we decided to do something about this and launched Lost Stock, which sold mystery boxes of the clothes that had been cancelled by big retailers. We used the money made to support garment workers and their families in Bangladesh. We sold over 125,000 boxes in 7 months across 10 countries and supported over 113,000 people through Sajida, an organisation providing essential support, healthcare and supplies to garment workers and families. The support we provided was in direct financial aid to workers.
The Lost Stock model wasn’t a perfect solution - not everyone will like what they get in a mystery box and due to the consequences of the ongoing pandemic it was super difficult to get orders to people quickly! While the majority of people loved it, a few quite vocally did not - and that still makes us pretty sad as it was designed to just do some good at a dark time in the world!
Lost Stock was always a short term solution to a pressing problem so in 2021 we closed Mallzee and Lost Stock, paid off all our suppliers fully and moved our staff across to Unfolded. Despite our best efforts we couldn’t move the investors we had in Mallzee across to the new business and as such they lost their investments, although most benefited from 60% tax relief on this loss through the EIS investment scheme.