Santa Barbara Entrepreneurs Launch Beni, a Browser Extension for Secondhand Shopping

Benny’s leadership team Credit: Kathy Shara

Buying secondhand is more popular than ever thanks to fast fashion, rising costs of living and social media trends. But digging through thrift store shelves or scouring resale sites can be time-consuming and fruitless. That’s where Beni comes in: a free browser extension that makes second-hand shopping easier by offering users comparable products for a fraction of the price. Based in Santa Barbara, the company launched in September and is led by SB natives Sarah Pinner and Ryan Shand, UCSB Bren School alum Celine Moll, and new resident Keith Sanner.

Think of the Beni plugin like a personal online shopper. After downloading the extension, the user is directed to the webpage of the item they want, clicks on the Beni icon in the lower right corner and gets a selection of second-hand options. A user can create a profile to enter their size, set which platforms they prefer to shop from, and soon be able to list their items for sale from their closet. Benny’s goal is to make reselling seamless from start to finish.

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“There’s no stigma attached to buying used,” Pinner said. “In fact, people are almost embarrassed not to do it. But there are no tools to help you.”

Originally conceived as Pinner’s thesis project in 2020, Benny is the first to marry technology and partnerships with leading resale markets. This AI-powered software aggregates the largest online aggregated resale catalogs in the world. Beni currently partners with companies such as RealReal, Rent the Runway, Vestiaire Collective, eBay and Kidizen.

The company met its beta criteria in August and is now in its second round of seed funding. In these three months, the team’s focus is on expanding its customer base and converting downloads into successful purchases. Shand is focused on securing more partners, Sanner is building a campus ambassador program to market to students, and Mol is gathering data and fine-tuning the software to be even smarter and more responsive to user behavior. “We’re going to build our own version of a TikTok algorithm that knows you very well,” Moll said half-jokingly.

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“We want Benny to be a welcome addition to second-hand shopping,” Sanner explained. This attractive ethos permeates the young company’s culture. Pinner, Moll, Shand and Sanner didn’t know each other before becoming the company’s executive team, but you’d never guess it from the way they paraphrased each other’s sentences explaining the circular economy, or pitching ideas about Van Benny Hades. you don’t Tour Four Common Backgrounds In the corporate sector or startups, they see waste as a design flaw and value progress over perfection as a guiding principle for their work. The company is proudly woman-owned, remotely first, and has branches in Santa Barbara at places like Dart Coffee Garden and Kiva Cowork.

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Beni also benefits from consumers’ growing environmental awareness. Moll pointed to a report by McKinsey & Company: If just one in five clothes are traded through circular business models, shoppers can have a big impact on reducing fashion-related greenhouse gas emissions.

When asked about the state of the resale industry in Santa Barbara, Tim cited mostly strengths. “I think people care about the environment by default because they’re in the environment more,” Shand said. “I think you just have to look a little harder. There are fun social events like pop-ups selling second-hand clothes, and startups like Apeel in town. [Sciences] who also consider waste as a design flaw.”

If you’re interested in shopping secondhand in Santa Barbara, be sure to check out Crossroads Trading Co., Lazy Eye Shop, The Closet, Farmer & the Flea Market, Westward General, and The Blue Door.

Check out joinbeni.com.


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