Having grown up in dance, Margeaux Vallée knows how expensive this sport can be. Especially the elaborate costumes.
Now, thanks to Valle – who also serves as Commercial Real Estate Marketing Manager – there’s an app for that.
Vallée launched the free app, called Dance Xchange, in January. It provides a platform for dancers, or anyone with dance items, to sell or buy those expensive items. The LLC is registered in Punta Gorda, Charlotte County, where Vallee worked in commercial real estate. “This app gives them the ability to post and invest that money in the next costume,” says Vallée.
Vallée grew up dancing, eventually becoming a professional dancer. Today, she gives dance lessons. From her own experience as a dancer and now as a dance teacher, she is willing to change the price. Vallée says the average dancer can spend between $ 500 and $ 1,000 in a season on costumes only to wear them two or three times. Some dancers spend even more depending on how elaborate they want from the costume. On average, Vallée says the costumes cost between $ 200 and $ 300 each.
“Being surrounded by the kids and these costumes, I thought someone else was going to do it if I don’t.”
Growing up, Vallée says her mother was a thrifty. From there, combined with her dance experience which allowed her to see the gap in the market, Vallee’s love for resale and consignment grew in this app.
The idea came to her in August 2018. In October of the same year, she started working with a developer. She entrusted this part of the process to a person living in India. “We have a great business relationship,” she says.
Together, they designed the app. From the color scheme to adding new features, it was a lot of trial and error, says Vallée. Current features of the app include:
- Internal peer-to-peer messaging system
- Stripe, a secure integrated payment platform
- A username and product search system designed to make it easy to find
- Detailed filters and categories
- Users can bookmark their items and follow sellers
- No pop-up ads
One of the recently added new features was a “slider” located at the top of the app. The slider is intended to promote dance related businesses while making some money in Vallee. Essentially, this is an advertisement that will bring guests to the company’s website, but Vallée reserves it only for companies related to the dance world. This is the only ad space located in the app, as Vallée recently removed pop-up ads from Google.
The revenue generated by this new feature plays a minor role in the Dance Xchange business model. The majority of the app’s income comes from products sold: Vallée takes 20% of the profit for each product sold.
She is passionate about dance with quite a bit of marketing experience, which helped her a lot to set up her business model and allowed her to pay out of pocket for the creation of the application. Vallee was Marketing Director of Maxim Commercial Real Estate LLC in Punta Gorda for two years before becoming Marketing Director and Commercial Real Estate Sales Consultant for SVN Lotus in Sarasota.
In addition, Vallée teaches hip hop as an instructor and choreographer at the Florida Dance Workshop in Punta Gorda. This experience is what really led to the creation of the app.
“Being surrounded by the kids and these costumes, I thought someone else was going to do it if I don’t,” she says.
The Dance Xchange app has been downloaded 403 times, with 125 of those downloads coming in the last month alone. “It’s a Poshmark for dancing,” she said.
The application has gained ground with subscribers to Vallée’s personal page as well as its relationships with dance moms. To increase this number, Vallée is considering collaborations with dance influencers to post stories every two weeks.
She also began to contact local dance programs to advertise in the programs. These cost Vallée between $ 25 and $ 100 per ad. While it doesn’t play a big role in gaining subscribers, Vallee said she gained around 50 subscribers from three programs.
Vallée’s current goal with the app is to attract more sellers. Right now there are more subscribers looking for resale dance items than there are people selling those items. This is his biggest challenge. “The most important thing is to get people here to sell,” she says.
Another challenge is common to startups: capital. She uses the money from her commercial real estate career to pay the bills and funds the app through dance education concerts. So far, she’s spent $ 25,000 out of pocket for the iOS app and prepayment for the next desktop version.
Vallée’s app and dance ideas are constantly on the move. Vallée, for example, is working on a website version of the application to extend the services offered. She expects this to be ready in about three months. Currently, the dancexchangeapp.com site is only used as a landing page.
Vallée is also developing a 501 (3) (c) for dancers to apply for a scholarship. This year, Vallée was able to sponsor a local dancer to compete in a solo for the season, which included the choreography of the dance. The $ 500 package also extended a modeling contract with Dance Xchange.
By creating a scholarship, Vallée hopes to sponsor more dancers in the future. “One thing I wanted to do,” she said, “was give back.”