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SF-based online store Dare Fashion suffers $300,000 in losses after office burglary

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Dare Fashion, an online clothing business based in San Francisco, suffered a big break-in that threatens to put the company out of business.

Owner Ben Wang started the business 17 years ago, and said he has never experienced a break-in of this magnitude.

“It makes me feel sad to look at this, because it’s kind of an end of an era,” he said, looking at the empty shelves and office space on Market Street. 

But he said he’s determined to bounce back from this setback. 

“I was feeling super-duper overwhelmed and then I use this technique that’s helped me get through some other things, where I said, ‘OK, I’m going to give myself a set amount of time’, in this case, I said 15 minutes to really feel sorry for myself… and then start to make a plan and start to deal,” he said of the May 1st burglary. 

Wang believes suspects broke into the building to access his company’s office by cutting a hole in the plywood of a boarded-up unit on Market Street.

He later discovered another hole he believes thieves emerged from on the second floor, not far from the Dare Fashion office.

Wang said the crooks wiping out $300,000 worth of electronics and his best-selling items, including 1,000 necklaces and 1200 costumes.

He had conveniently packed the most popular items into rolling bags that he had prepared to sell at a booth, days later at the IVth Gathering: A World Goth Day Celebration in Alameda.  

The longtime San Francisco resident said he was encouraged by the turnout and positive responses he received from shoppers at the festival, where he ended up selling remaining merchandise.

“I don’t know what the future holds for my company, I’m pretty determined to try to stay if I can,” he said. 

Dare Fashion, which mostly sells Gothic, Victorian, renaissance and steampunk clothes online, manufactures all products in San Francisco and Oakland.  

He runs the business with two other employees, and Wang wants to stay committed to San Francisco, a city he said he loves. 

Wang said he learned that he did not purchase the right kind of business insurance. Dare Fashion only has general liability insurance, and its policy does not cover property damage or theft. 

He has since moved his remaining inventory into a more secure, smaller office space in Japantown. 

Wang has also set up a gofundme to help Dare Fashion start over.

“I’m an optimist… and I’m not afraid to work hard,” he said. 

Wang said he hopes to start a podcast, where he can share how he navigates tough times and losses in general and keep moving forward.

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