Category Archives: Support

ReQoop: App that Highlights Brick and Mortar Stores

With all of the buzz surrounding online retailers these days, there’s something refreshing about those highlighting brick and mortar stores. In turn, this is where you should be gaining information and feedback about your consumer and your product line. Plus, there’s something mighty special about local, independent boutiques that can give you insight on your brand and their own expert feedback.

Making it easier to understand the retail landscape, we’ve come across a new App for the iPhone calledReQoop. The idea is simple. Snap your favorite finds in-store, tag the location and write a pithy and informative description about what you’ve discovered and hashtag it with a trending topic. You have the option to send your find to Twitter and Facebook too. Those finding “qoops” have the opportunity to win great prizes and also show their style within their own database of curated boutique selections while other can like or dismiss (“it’s a dud”) your pics and follow you too.

From a consumer perspective, that app is fun, interactive and allows you to catalog your finds. For an emerging designer, we think this app is beneficial for a couple of reasons.

1. Boutique Snapshot

The ReQoop database has a catalog of boutiques that you can drill down by location and ones that are deemed popular by those using the app. For an emerging designer, what a great way to see what type of merchandise is carried at a boutique and to see if you are a fit with a store before you pitch your product line (Ohh, and what a good segue to a retailer—I found out a bit more about your store from this new app)!

2. Competitive Overview

From a competitive standpoint, you’ll also be able to see what other brands are doing in a variety of boutiques and locations. Specifically, you’ll see what type of brands are carried, fabrics used, silhouettes and what type of inventory the store bought. Most importantly, you’ll understand why people are selecting.Market research at its best!

3. What’s Trending

This is a great tool to see what’s on trend. After a look through the database, you’ll notice a lot of mannequin and window shots. These are the pieces that retailers want customers to see and buy, and ultimately your tip to what’s popular.

4. Product Promotion

In the spirit of self-promotion and brand promotion, this tool is another way to spread the word about your line. Whether it’s telling a boutique owner, snapping a picture yourself, or letting your fans know about the app, this is just one more way to get your product listed on a network that can be seen by others.

Remember, there’s nothing wrong with giving your key partners a call-to-action in order to get your product into the marketplace, and this is just one new cool medium at your disposal.

Be sure to check it out at ReQoop and find out how it can best work for your brand.

Clothes Horse: Fit Technology for Fashion E-Tailers

On StartUp FASHION it is our goal to bring you information and resources on every aspect of the fashion industry; from sourcing and manufacturing to marketing and retail. In light of this, when we hear about a promising new designer or an impressive new technology, we share it with you in hopes that it will inspire, educate, and motivate.   Today, the technology we would like to share is Clothes Horse, a tool that helps to solve the problem of buying clothes online only to find they don’t quite fit. What a pain.

Clothes Horse Fit Technology

Using sophisticated algorithms and a trove of human and brand-garment measurements, Clothes Horse’s focus is on making a product that can be used by online retailers (e-tailers) that is easy to use.

How does it work?
Shoppers simply answer a few brief questions about themselves and their favorite garments (only takes about 30 seconds, and no measuring tapes involved so don’t get all worked up!), and can then experience accurate recommendations at any Clothes Horse enabled retailer on the web.

We’re intrigued. Can this really work?  Well, today Clothes Horse has released a case study with a leading menswear brand, Bonobos, that demonstrates how they brought about a 13% sales increase as well as created a more engaging customer experience.

We’re very encouraged with the initial results we’ve seen from Clothes Horse. The team has been an incredibly responsive and open partner throughout the whole process,” said Craig Elbert, Bonobos VP of Finance + Analytics.

We think this a pretty smart innovation.  Think about it.  As more and more retailers start opening their sites and business to a global audience, this is an extremely valuable tool.

Who Can Benefit:

Designers: Emerging designers, as you work to get your product into the hands and websites of various retailers, understanding the functionality and value of a tool like this is imperative.  While it may seem like right now you would do just about anything to get a buyer to pay attention, it won’t always be like that. As you start to succeed in this industry you will understand the need to be selective about who carries your product. You will have a true brand and a desire to maintain your brand identity.  Recognizing what a tool like Clothes Horse can do for your product helps to define your retailer decision making process.

Online Retailers: Well, we pretty much made the case for you guys in the above paragraphs. Definitely check out that case study we mentioned.

Shoppers: As a (way too often for my own good) shopper of fashion, this tool just makes sense. The idea that I can create my specs and build my buying habits based on them, makes me worry a bit about my bank account.  But in all seriousness, I look forward to Clothes Horse becoming a widespread tool. I think it’s said best by Vik Venkatraman, Co-Founder of Clothes Horse : “We strike the perfect combination of rock-solid data, easy shopper experience, and focus on the retailer — our pricing is built around their ROI. It’s a no-brainer.”  We couldn’t agree more.

Shoptiques; e-Commerce for Independent Fashion Boutiques

Tonight we are attending a fashion show hosted by a relatively new fashion tech company Shoptiques; a company we should add, that is sort of shaking up the way fantastic little boutiques around the country (and our guess is perhaps eventually the world) are doing business online.

Shoptiques, e-commerce for Independent Boutiques

Officially launched this past March, after a few months in BETA, the site and it’s concept has already received a nice little write up in Inc. Magazine.  The concept is pretty great, honing in on the struggles that most small scale fashion boutiques face and attempting to make them easier; high quality photography, lack of technical and digital savvy, and the need to increase reach to a broader audience (beyond their locals) in order to remain in business.

Like any e-commerce platform for independent designers, who tend to have the same struggles, this is the first time that someone has focused on the actual retail outlets, which of course trickles down nicely to the designers themselves whose work is carried in the boutiques. 

The concept is smart and the growth potential is pretty exciting.  Boutiques that are interested in being considered for the site can sign up here.

We’re looking forward to attending the #BoutiqueChic Fashion Show tonight and will be sure to share the experience with you in all our usual ways.

 

Repair and Recycle Textiles via Rafoogari

Whether you’re a weekend warrior who’s scraped up a favorite pair of jeans, or a nine-to-fiver who’s just spilled coffee down a blouse, we’ve all had our share of wardrobe malfunctions. Clothes bear the brunt of the wear and tear of our daily lives, so rips and stains are to be expected. But it’s such a shame to simply throw something away all because of a little rip. Many people (especially those of us who sew!) are totally game to try and salvage their beloved garments. In fact, this need to renew and repurpose has its place in cultures all over the world. In India for example, the process of up-cycling is rooted deep in the nation’s customs through a practice called Rafoogari.

Rafoogari

Rafoogari is the name for the Indian tradition of darning textiles. A bit of a background: as India is a textile hub, and the fabrics made there are incredibly precious, throwing them away is simply out of the question. So, as with the restoration of a painting, “Rafoogari” mend and restore works of art in the form of textiles. Their skills are such that once they have finished a piece, the repair is essentially invisible. Through this practice, beautiful antique textiles and the traditional techniques used to create them can be admired today.

Though recycling and repair are nothing new to our culture, we have to admit nothing quite as sophisticated as Rafoogari exists in our daily lives.

Or does it? New York-based company Denim Therapy is taking this process and applying it to your favorite pair of jeans. From frayed cuffs to holes, simply mail your denim to them and it’ll be taken care of. The repairs are nearly seamless (check out their before and after photos!). Rather than patching over the hole, the company takes a cue from Indian tradition and genuinely reconstructs the fabric for a perfect repair.

 

NYC Event for Designers, Retails, and Marketers: Social Retail Summit

The 4th Social Retail Summit is coming up this week, on (Thursday) January 17th from 3-9pm.  Events like these are a great way to get insights into the workings of some of the leading businesses in retail; their successes, their flops, where they’ve been and where they hope to go.

It’s a great event for designers, retailers, and marketers alike. For this session in particular, the topics will range from “Engaging the Customer” to “Merging Fashion and Media”, “Building Brand Value” and “Co-Creation”.

You can expect an exciting forum of panelists:

Claire Mazur, co-founder of Of a Kind, a website that brings together retail and editorial content to promote and support fashion designers on the rise.

Chelsea Sun, the Director of Operations at Shoptiques.com, an online destination for discovering and exploring local boutiques across the country.

Jen Rubio, Head of Social Media at Warby Parker, an online eyewear company that offers boutique-quality, classically crafted eyewear at a revolutionary price point.

John Jannuzzi, Digital Editor at Conde Nast’s Luckymag.com, including the recently launched Lucky Community, a section of user-generated content.

Rachel Brooks, the founder of Citizen Made, an e-commerce platform enabling manufacturers to sell custom products under a mass customization model.

Nicole Delma, a recognized expert in the email marketing space, with over 10 years of experience leading the email and data programs for companies including J.Crew, Conde Nast Publications, Getty Imagesand RCRDLBL.

Check out our recap from the 2nd Summit to get insight into some highlights and topics covered. With a growing need for designers to embrace direct to consumer sales, there is a lot to be learned from events like these.

As a StartUp FASHION reader, you can take advantage of a 30% discount off the ticket price by clicking here.

Will we see you there?

Is it a Good Idea to Try Crowd Funding Your Fashion Startup?

Figuring out how to fund your business is difficult.  Besides scrimping and saving, borrowing from friends and family, and the nearly impossible act of trying to get a loan, one thing we hear a lot about is crowd funding.

Now, we’re not here to tell you that this is something you should or shouldn’t do, but simply to clarify what crowd funding is, share an example, and list some pros and cons.

So, what is crowd funding?

Crowd funding, as described by Wikipedia describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.

So basically, someone decides to create something, sets a financial goal, joins a platform like Kickstarter,Indiegogo, or Rock the Post, tells their story, and hopefully elicits funding through offerings or rewards to members of the general public who may believe in them or want to support their brand, mission, or product.

In browsing these various platforms, you’ll come across all kinds of brands and products, including several in the fashion realm.  One such campaign that’s in it’s final stretch is Sabi Collection, a very cool hand made jewelry brand.  For Jill McKeown, the founder of Sabi Collection, the goal is not to fund the brand exactly but to get help funding the brand’s participation in an influential industry trade show that she feels can really help elevate her brand.

If you create a crowd funding campaign, it’s important to be clear about what the pledges are supporting.  It’s also important to tell your story, post updates on the project, share a lot of images, and really leverage that video you get to post; allow potential supporters to feel like they’re getting to know you, your brand, and your mission.

Pros of Crowd Funding

  • Helps limit the financial risk of starting a business, creating a project, or taking up an initiative
  • Can really give a boost to your marketing efforts
  • Feedback!  Crowd funding nurtures crowd sourcing about a product, service, or idea
  • There is an opportunity to presell and create a following for your business or project before it even launches

While this may sound like the answer to all your prayers, it’s important to keep in mind the…

Cons of Crowd Funding

  • Over promising and under delivering; some find it a challenge to meet deadlines and produce the project as stated in the campaign, which can be off putting to those who pledged
  • If proper thought is not put into the campaign, you can possibly not make as much money as you actually need for your business. Remember to factor in things like the cost to produce the rewards given to those who pledge
  • Half-assed campaign. Remember what we said about the importance of telling your story?  It needs to be great, passionate, exciting.  Because, remember you’re not the only project or business out there and those that convey their message in a way that creates an emotional connection, are the ones that will get attention. And money.

Crowd funding is not for everybody, but it’s definitely worth looking into for brands that have the right brand story.

Have you or would you consider crowd funding your business?

4 Ways to Help Your Fashion Business Stand Out

The fashion business is extremely competitive. As an independent fashion brand it’s important to find your place, your niche, and figure out how to dominate it.

By making your business stand out from the others, you’re able to position yourself as something special, as something to keep an eye on.

But how do you stand out?  You have to put forth all your passion, have a deep understanding of the industry, and balance creativity with business smarts. Believe it or not, most independent fashion brands do not do most of these things.

4 Ways to Help Your Fashion Business Stand Out

  • Make sure that you truly are in love with what you’re doing. Would you do what you do even if you didn’t get paid for it? Is being in the fashion industry absolutely what you want to do with your life?  It’s the deep rooted commitment to an industry that makes it possible to pull off the long hours, the ups and downs, and the constant effort that are necessary to create something special.
  • Never forget the importance of learning. Are you regularly reading a book about your field?  Do you start your day by reading blogs and online magazines about topics that can improve your understanding of both fashion and business? Do you attend educational meetups or listen in on webinars regularly? If not, you need to be.  The need for constant education never goes away.
  • Embrace your creativity. While understanding the consumer is absolutely necessary for success  embracing your creativity is what will make you stand out in the industry. Don’t follow trends to the point of being boring. Figure out what the consumer wants and then create something special.
  • Match your creativity with business smarts. Yes, creativity is important but not at the expense of business smarts.  Be sure that the decisions you make in design are grounded enough to actually make the sale.  Otherwise, you don’t have a business at all.

Do you agree?

Join feedly and help make customer support awesome

Hello. We are looking for someone to join the feedly team and lead our customer relationship efforts. This is an important role at feedly because you will be in direct contact with our users and will have a direct impact on how successful they are at using feedly.

JOIN FEEDLY

Here is a short overview who we are and the qualities we are looking for in a candidate.

Who are we?

  • Feedly is a team of 10 people serving 8M+ users.
  • We are passionate about the Open Web, the power of personalization and our mission to connect people to the ideas and information that matters to them. We have big ambitions for feedly.
  • We are profitable – with a feedly Pro community of 60K subscribers (and growing). We are thrilled that our users are our customers – it helps us focus on building an awesome product (And it also makes the relationship with our users super important).
  • We recently announced the upcoming team/business version of feedly and the level of demand has been huge. We are working on scaling the team to respond to the amazing level of interest from the community.
  • Our differentiation is based on design, ease of use, and technology. So we heavily invest in pushing the limits on both fronts. We have a very refined and iterative design process and we use a modern technology stack on both the front end and the back end.
  • Although our main focus is on building a great product and serving our customers, we are also investing time into nurturing our core values and culture: “Passion for learning/Growth mindset”, “Design like you are right, and listen like you are wrong” and “See opportunity in crisis”.
  • We have a flat organization and work with an agile monthly development process. Everything is discussed openly. Every member of the team has high autonomy and can have high impact at many levels of the product and company culture.
  • We take care of our team. We provide competitive salaries, very generous stock option packages, and a full slate of benefits including health coverage and pre-tax commuter benefits. We also believe in work/life balance: we are in this for the long term.
  • We have a flexible vacation policy, sponsor sports packages, and provide a monthly book allowance to encourage personal growth. Perks include the best equipment available on the market to help you get your job done. We pride ourselves on company get-togethers like our weekly lunches and our monthly Roadmap meetings, which reinforce our culture of collaboration and connectivity.
  • We have offices in Palo Alto and San Francisco to help optimize teamwork while minimizing commute.

You are:

  • You have a growth mindset and love to continuously learn and grow.
  • You are patient, empathic and enjoy interacting with customers.
  • You are persistent and energetic and ready to do whatever it takes to help customers troubleshoot issues.
  • You are a team player and enjoy working with the product team to learn how products work and offer feedback on how to improve the experience.
  • You enjoy sharing knowledge and information with others, writing tutorials and FAQ articles.
  • You either live in the San Francisco area or are interested in a remote working experience.

During your first year at feedly you will:

  • Help thousands of interesting users. The feedly community is very diverse and comes from all over the world. From the academic researcher who uses feedly to stay on top of the latest publications in her field to the social media specialist, CIO, doctor, lawyer, as well as the passionate fly fishing enthusiast, rock climbing fanatic, YouTube fan and die-hard foodie … 8 Million users following 40+ million of feeds on the web means you will get to interact with people from all over the map.
  • Enhance the toolkit we use to support our users and make them more successful. The team has been working on building feedly for over 6 years now. We have a number of tools and systems in place to try and provide the most effective support to our user community (tutorials, knowledge base, Helpscout). Of course, these efforts can always be improved. As the lead for customer relations, you will be able to expand on these existing tools and build on these foundations to provide the best level of support to the community.
  • Work closely with the product team on how to improve feedly. User feedback is essential to our product development process. Input that we get from the community feeds into the features that we build, the design of the app, and everyone in the team benefits from user feedback. As customer success champion, you will be the voice of the user.
  • Contribute to building a culture centered around doing what’s right for users.

Interested?

If you are interested in exploring this opportunity, please apply to send us some information about yourself.

JOIN FEEDLY

Our hiring process takes 2-3 weeks. It starts with a 20-minutes Skype introduction where you get to know us and we get to know you. If there is a match, we set up a follow up meeting to learn more about your customer support experience. We finish the process with 3 short meetings where you get to talk to various people in the team – focusing on culture fit.

Edwin
CEO/co-founder