‘Outlandish’ clothing startup Shinesty raising funds to maintain growth

BOULDER – Local startup Shinesty Inc., an online retailer of “outlandish” clothing, has raised $230,000 in new funding, according to a recent regulatory filing, as part of what company officials hope will be a round about three times that size before it’s complete.

Shinesty president and co-founder Chris White said the cash infusion will be used largely to expand inventory. Running out of inventory has been the company’s only constraint so far, he said.

“We’ve consistently sold out of every single product on the site,” White said.

Launched in June of last year by White and Jens Nicolaysen, the Boulder-based company aims to deck its customers out for theme parties and other events, with a focus on themes like USA, 1980s, Western, Neon and Sports.

Last summer, Shinesty was one of six companies to participate in the first cohort of the Catalyze CU business accelerator geared toward student-run startups at the University of Colorado. Nicolaysen is a CU graduate, and White will graduate from the school’s joint law/MBA program in a few weeks.

The company’s mission statement reads, “We created Shinesty for one reason and one reason only: to bring you the most outlandish clothing collection the world has ever seen.” As White says, any holiday that has some sort of drinking party involved is what generates much of Shinesty’s clientele. So think St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras, not so much, maybe, Valentine’s Day or Easter.

The concept is one that gained attention late last year as the website was featured on the Today Show and Good Morning America and in Esquire magazine. In terms of sales, White said the company is doing six figures each month, doubling in each of the last few.

“Ever since then it’s been awesome, steady growth,” White said. “We’ve just been trying to keep up.”

Shinesty has grown from three employees to eight since January, and White expects that the company will have between 12 and 15 by the end of the year. Shinesty just moved into an office on University Hill above the Buchanan’s coffee shop, and the company has a warehouse on the south edge of town.

When the company began, it focused on buying vintage clothing and dead stock from retailers that long ago went out of business. The company has a network of buyers around the country that seeks such items out. More recently, the company has also been selling smaller brands and also some of its own designs.

So when’s the next big party holiday rush?

“We’re pretty excited for the Fourth of July,” White said.