This summer, Edward Lando, 22, and Yagil Burowski, 25, moved to San Francisco to join the startup culture and work, heads-down, on their app--a sort of Secret-like campus gossip app called Notice. Lando had just graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. Burowski says he might return to finish out his next three years, but he's undecided because he's really into "what's cool" and, right now, his latest idea, BlackV Club, seems pretty promising. The startup--a side project from Notice--earned a lot of buzz this week for its almost hyperbolically simple premise: Sell one item, and just one item, at a time, through an app. So--it's super-simple, one-button shopping. First up: The black v-neck t-shirt.
What's the origin of your business idea?
Edward Lando: A few friends of ours who have good taste have encouraged us to wear black v-neck shirts, because it's something that looks good on most men. We ould show up to a friend's place before a party back at U Penn wearing a dress shirt and a blazer, and a friend would say, "maybe you should wear a black v instead." It's one of the most timelessly chic articles of clothing you can think of. Anything you want to do, a black v works totally fine. We went to the gym in it; it looks fine. We went to a bar in The Marina with it on, and a girl even came up and commented on it--that it looked good.
What's the business model?
Lando: We want to help busy people who want to dress well restock their closets entirely. They are going to get one type of item at a time. Starting with black t-shirts.
No, really. What's the business model?
Yagil Burowski: We are focusing on basics, so after we sell out of t-shirts, we might go to pants. We are talking a lot about underwear right now. Guys open their drawers and there are at least 15 pairs that you don't like to wear and only five that you really like. The philosophy is that we want to stock you with the basics, and make sure you have a closet full of only things you love.
Lando: For most people, when they go shopping they have to make decisions they are not qualified to make--and they make the wrong ones. It's not their job. There are too many options. We think the future won't have so many options.
Never mind. So you sell one product at a time, on an app and the website? How do you pick the product and who makes it?
Lando: The idea is we want to partner with really cool up-and-coming brands. What we have to offer to them is spotlight--this center stage. Whatever item this is--from whatever brand--will get all the attention at once. We give them a really cool platform and sell out their product.
What brand is the v-neck?
Burowski: We haven't had our first sale, but we think we know which brand we are going to do this with. We are going to reveal that as late as possible. The whole experience of buying it and getting it, we want to make radically different from what's out there. It's going to be an event, and really special.
Is this some elaborate hoax, or piece of misunderstood performance art?
Burowski: If only we were such good performers. I think because we started out so simply--with just black v-neck shirts--is why people are saying "oh, it is a hoax." But, simply, there are people in the world who want to dress easily.
Meanwhile, you've been working on your other app, Notice. Did all the attention on this side project, BlackV Club, surprise you?
Burowski: About two weeks ago we put up this webpage and put it online and didn't do anything special about it, and people immediately started sharing it on social media. It really propelled itself. Almost immediately we got our first inquiries.