Home Startup & Entrepreneurship Nikki Durkin, 2010 Anthill 30under30 Winner

Nikki Durkin, 2010 Anthill 30under30 Winner

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What is 30under30?

30under30 is an Anthill initiative that was launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians. Each year, we invite our readers to nominate young Australian entrepreneurs deserving of recognition for their outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours. More.

Nikki Durkin, NSW (b. 1991)

Name: Nikki Durkin
Age: 19 (Born: September 1991)
Gender: Female
State: NSW

Nikki Durkin peered into her closet and scanned her selection of dresses. Sigh. Sadly, there were few she wanted to wear.

Durkin, then 18, had an incandescent moment. What if women could overcome a confounding fashion statistic — that they wear 80% of their wardobe only 20% of the time? What if women could stretch their closet into the Internet?

The result: 99dresses.com, which Durkin, now 19, describes as “the world’s first online, peer-to-peer ‘Infinite Wardrobe of Free Fashion.'” Women upload images of good-quality but unwanted outfits and sell them with a virtual currency called “buttons.” They then can spend the buttons on other clothes on the site.

Durkin harnessed the power of Facebook to spread the word of the 99dresses concept. She held a Facebook event that described the idea and asked who might be interested. Within two weeks, 20,000 women had been invited. She then launched a fan page for 99dresses (which still didn’t exist as a website) with 2,000 fans.

Friends and family helped fund the business (her mom works as the CFO) and, to this day, she hasn’t spent a cent on marketing. Her Facebook, and now website, fans became her evangelists. In the first month of trading, 600 dresses changed hands; there are nearly 1,500 dresses now in the Infinite Wardrobe.

Durkin first displayed her chops as an innovator and entrepreneur at 15, when her T-shirt hobby business got ahead of the “Twilight” merchandise wave and made a killing off some vampy tees.

“I was ranked No. 2 on an Australian Google search for ‘twilight shirts.’ I was a very rich little schoolkid,” she says.

And now, as a university student, she’s hasn’t slowed down a bit.

“I’m a 19-year-old who is running a high-growth-potential venture that was recently invested in at a six-figure valuation,” Durkin says. “Imagine what I could achieve by the time I’m 30.”

What motivates Nikki Durkin as an entrepreneur:

When girls send me emails like “OMG OMG OMG OMG!!! NIKKI! I just received four of my dresses and I am in love!!! OH WOW.” Hearing my customers not only happy, but overjoyed.

Last summer, 99dresses was one of 16 projects from Australia and New Zealand chosen for a two-day mentoring event presented by X|Media|Lab

Durkin updates progress of 99dresses project

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To check out the full list of Anthill’s 30under30 winners, click here.

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