Recently, Matt Kennedy, Co-Founder of Unbuilt, talked life and business with Shoutout LA, part of the Los Angeles based Voyage Group of Magazines. You can read brief excerpt from the article below, or the full article here.
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Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
When I was a kid in Texas in the 1970’s, my Mom started a resale clothing store for Women in the garage of a neighbor down the street. At the time, the idea of buying or selling ‘pre-owned’ fashion was considered uncouth by the Socialites of suburban Dallas, so the business had to operate confidentially. But the business slowly took hold and grew.
When I grew up, my career took me far away from the main street world, into creative software development. I built my own company in the early 2000’s here in LA, and later worked for Apple and Netflix. All the while, my Mom’s resale business continued to grow back in Texas.
In 2019 my college friend, Sara Noyes, approached me about creating a resale marketplace for excess construction goods. Reselling shoes, sweaters & handbags was a well-proven model at this point. There were multiple start-ups and public companies in the Apparel resale space valued at over $20B – but Construction was new territory. In studying the market, we found a huge supply and demand for goods – but also a lot of logistical challenges involved in sourcing and selling lights, faucets, tile, doors & windows etc.
We had an insight that with the right technology, a lot of data and the right scale, we’d be able to make the business model work, grow and eliminate a really large amount of waste, pollution and carbon emissions. So we built a store, a back-end platform and a marketing funnel to get the word out. Then the Pandemic hit.
Our first instinct was to retreat. It just didn’t seem like it would be possible for us to get up and running while the world was in turmoil. Luckily, the many bad things about the Pandemic were offset by a few good ones. Building was one of the few things that people could continue to do during the shutdown, and our customers were happy to find goods that avoided the long supply chain delays. We were able to adapt, survive, then prosper from something that seemed like an insurmountable obstacle at first...