Sam Sisakhti's UsTrendy, and its 20,000 designers, are putting positive body image front and center.
Image maker: Having collected a mammoth online collection of independent and boutique fashions, UsTrendy founder Sam Sisakhti turns his focus to affirming positive body image—and gifting dresses to underprivileged schoolgirls.
What do you do with a Brandeis master’s degree in finance and a coveted job at a top-dog tech company? You quit. Not that it was Boston-based entrepreneur Sam Sisakhti’s initial goal to bail, but four days into his job, he realized it wasn’t for him. It was good news for the fashion community. Later that year, in 2008, Sisakhti, frustrated by the lack of options online for clothing from ultra-small, independent designers, created UsTrendy, one of the first-ever e-commerce sites specializing in the wares of emerging designers.
Now, with more than 20,000 brands in its roster, 1 million unique site visitors a month, 600,000-plus social media followers (and counting), and a cadre of fashion bloggers and devotees, UsTrendy and Sisakhti are still looking forward— but also giving back. “One of our missions at UsTrendy is to promote positive body image,” says Sisakhti, 34. “As a community- based site, we want to spread the message that everyone is beautiful.”
To achieve this, Sisakhti developed a nonprofit element to the site, the Believe in Yourself Project, through which UsTrendy donates dresses to underprivileged girls for school dances, proms, and homecomings. Sisakhti himself will host the program’s first event on March 25 (event details at believeinyourself.org). “We plan to not only raise money for community youth programs, but to help spread the word that believing in yourself is where real beauty comes from.” Preach!