Colleen King, 26, traces the roots of her start-up to afternoons bouncing in and out of boutiques as a Georgetown University undergrad.
She cultivated her online boutique platform idea in two years studying for an MBA at MIT’s Sloan School.
The June grad then uncorked Local Hem in a September launch.
“We’ve tried to create this little world of specialty boutiques,” said King.
The Swampscott resident has several specialty boutiques in her e-commerce collection.
These are small stores, with a physical location.
Among them is She Boutique, in downtown Marblehead.
King wants to boost their prospects by giving them a quality online place to showcase their quality goods.
Sellers can get lost in the wilderness of large online markets, she said.
King also wants shoppers to find that unique pair of shoes, blouse or bag that rouses interest.
“The thing I hope is for people to say, ‘Where did you get that?’” she said.
King said fellow MIT students are no strangers new ideas.
A friend started up a company looking to shrink the size of transformers for electronic devices.
King wants to expand the size of the market for small boutiques.
Several of her sellers sold items immediately after localhem’s launch.
Fast sales were surprising and gratifying, she said.
The challenge will be competing in a flooded online market that includes huge retailers that can slash prices.
Her idea is to compete on quality.
She still has big dreams even if it is for small specialty shops.
“One hundred boutiques and a million shoppers,” she said.