What was the scope of their involvement?
DotcomWeavers is building our web and app platform, where users can exchange, buy, and sell new and used costumes. We were initially split between using Shopify, Magento or a custom solution, and we ended up going with a custom-built PHP marketplace. Given the unique components of our platform, we found that an established solution like Shopify wouldn’t cover our needs.
We began by going over our frontend designs and agreeing on a scope of work for the backend development. We also tackled a few loose ends the design company hadn’t thought through from a high-level, business model perspective. We developed a photo-cropping tool and made a few sitewide revisions.
They built some unique functionalities into the marketplace. One combined a peer-to-peer, Etsy-style marketplace with the ability to sell unwanted items to our company. If a user has several old costumes, they can request a bag, fill it, and mail it to us with prepaid shipping. We process, clean, photograph, and resell them, paying the user what is acceptable to us.
Another feature is our donation model. We give users the ability to donate a percentage of their sales. If they donate more than 10%, we waive our transaction fee, matching that donation. On the purchasing side, 1% of every sale goes to a charity partner and the user can decide to donate 50¢, which we’ll match. We’ve gamified this method so it’s fun to use.
What is the team dynamic?
We’ve worked with 2–3 people from the U.S. team, including a project manager. There are at least 6 other people from DotcomWeavers’ Indian coding team.
How did you come to work with DotcomWeavers?
We looked at around 6 other companies. The selection process was rather difficult, especially as a startup. We hadn’t completely determined what we needed. We had several meetings with the different companies.
DotcomWeavers stood out with their attention to detail, receptivity, and interest in working with startups, as well as with their socially-conscious business approach. That was a factor for us—we wanted a relationship with a partner with similar values. Many of the other companies we went to didn’t give us this feeling.
DotcomWeavers’s unique business model also sparked our interest. They have 30% of their team based in the U.S. as project managers, with several in-house coders based in India. This offers the ability to discourse directly with an American team along with the affordability of Indian coding. They also had good reviews, fit our budget, and were exceptional during the onboarding process. They were extremely receptive to our needs, taking the time to think our project through and provide a comprehensive scope of work.
Some of the other web development companies in the New York City area set an unrealistically high price point. It made us feel that they either didn’t want the work or hoped that we were very rich or didn’t know what we were getting into. It was nice to have a discussion with DotcomWeavers—they took our startup seriously and went about the scope meticulously.
How much have you invested with them?
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with DotcomWeavers around 7 months ago, in April or March 2017.
We are mostly done with the development sprints and have the marketplace up and running. We’re in the final quality control period, making sure that the app and website are synced. We’ve made a few additions and revisions and we need to polish it before pushing traffic to the marketplace.