Innovators & Disruptors: Shopping by SMS

by Erica Moody

“Shop Or Not” founders Kate Myers and Kelly O’Malley will have you texting “Yes” to uniquely curated gifts.

“Shop Or Not” founders Kelly O’Malley and Kate Myers at their Logan Exchange headquarters

Attention holiday shoppers: A new text-based service takes the stress out of finding thoughtful gifts. There’s no website to visit or app to download. Just send a message and Shop Or Not does the rest.

Longtime friends Kate Myers and Kelly O’Malley relocated to the District from LA last year to launch their unique venture; they did the research to find the best food and coffee gifts in each state from up-and-coming independent makers (think organic fruit hot sauce from Colorado and bourbon cherries from South Carolina). Most items are under $20 with free shipping, so “it’s a great impulse buy,” Myers says.

It’s free to sign up and easy to grasp. Shop Or Not sends out one text a week of a unique selection with short descriptions, photos and prices. Text back “Yes” to purchase, text your address, add your payment info in a secure pop-up page and then you’re all set for future purchases. Text “Gift” to send as a gift, and Shop Or Not will ensure it’s nicely wrapped and mailed in a timely manner. They also encourage conversation and feedback over text.

“Repeat buying is super easy, you can seriously just text us an emoji and we’ll send you whatever it is that we’re selling that week,” O’Malley says.

Remembering birthdays and anniversaries has never been easier.

“Texting is such a good reminder tool,” Myers says. Give Shop Or Not the big dates in your life and the names of people you’ll need to buy for, and they’ll curate gifts specifically for that person and send reminders as the date approaches.

Local vendors include Commonwealth Joe, Shrub District, Potomac Chocolate and ‘Chups Ketchup. For many vendors, “it’s super exciting to be texted out to thousands of people who have maybe never heard of them before,” O’Malley says. “We try so hard to only text the things that we really really love.”

Get started by texting HELLO to 347-482-0881.

This story ran in the December 2017 issue of Washington Life. 

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