startup

Paris Launch

After touching down for all of 8 hrs after SXSW, we hopped on the Eurostar to continue our European Meetup tour! First stop Paris, with the support of our local host Celine Lippi, Co-Founder of Fashion Capital Partners. With a full house at the newly opened Le Numa, it was time to discuss the ins and outs of the ever growing omni-channel.

Kicking off with an opening keynote from Google‘s Pauline Butor who told us an astonishing five billion queries regarding fashion and beauty are made through Google every month! She went on to demonstrate the vast amount of Google tools available to fashion brands, that can help them gather data and create content. Talking us through last years hugely successful Topshop Fashion Week campaign, which used live hangouts to create another layer of content and a live view of a model’s runway walk.

Next both iVentures Consulting and DemandWare discussed how to improve customer experience, with the connection between both physical and digital stores. iVentures Consulting gave us a preview of their eShopper Index, which brands came up top digitally? The top 5 included Zalando, Zappos, Amazon, NET-A-PORTER and Gap.

Fusalp, Vilebrequin & l’Exception debated best practices; rethinking retail with smart shopping experiences, digital windows and customer touchpoints, with a gentle reminder that at the heart of all these tech innovations still remains the physical product and of course the consumer!

The evening closed with 3 startup pitches; Shop’n’Brag, a mobile shopping app that seems to do just about everything, with augmented reality features and deal finders rolled into one; HappyBeacon, allowing retailers to interact directly with the consumer through push notifications and our final startup Bodi.me, joining the fight against returns by letting the consumer try on clothes virtually.

For all the photos from the evening, head over here and Paris, we cannot wait to return in June!

Decoded Fashion SXSW

Every year Austin opens it’s city to over 30,000 visitors for the notorious SXSW festival and last week we joined the lineup with our first event! With over 500 attendees crossing the threshold to take in three hours of panels, talks and face-to-face meetings at the Mentorship Hub. Here are the best bits from the conversations that took place.

First up, ” Onboarding Tech” with Amy Walker, Director of Online Marketing at Neiman Marcus, Jen Rubio, Global Director of Innovation at AllSaints and Will Young, Director of Zappos Labs at Zappos.com

All speakers emphasised their preference for finding new tech companies through networking and receiving recommendations from venture capital firms over receiving cold calls and emails.

Brands don’t want to be subjected to hard sales pitches that make unrealistic promises, but would rather engage in a conversation with a startup that has done extensive background research about the brand, has contacted the relevant department to pitch, and already has an idea about what the challenges may be and how they could be tackled. And naturally, if the technology is easier to onboard, then brands will implement it much faster. Young drives home this point “If you set the expectations we are doing something really interesting, that you might be interested in and we would love to learn what your challenges are […]’ it’s much more of a conversation than guns blazing sales pitching. And then I leave that meeting feeling like I wanna continue that conversation.”

And what technologies are brands looking for? Brands want to increase their conversion rates and their ROI in an engaging and sustainable manner, rather than invest in a fad that attracts media attention. What tools can help them seamlessly merge their content and their commerce? What can help them build an online community by telling their brand story?

Our second panel focused on content curation, featuring Rachel Tipograph, Director of Global Digital and Social Media at GAP, Kristina Di Matteo, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Kate Spade and Katalina Sharkey de Solis, Director of Digital at Chanel.

Tipograph cited simplicity as key, it’s at the core of GAP’s brand and that filters into all of their processes, whether it’s creating content, or onboarding a new start-up. This also rings true for the Kate Spade brand, who have a tiny team creating all this fantastic content, but if it’s too complicated to onboard it just doesn’t work.

With luxury, Sharkey de Solis pointed out that social media channels engage aspirational and potential luxury consumers much more than they do existing consumers. The challenge for them  is finding a way in which to excite current consumers, which means, “We’re really looking for experiential technologies because with this very high-end consumer, they’re not necessarily wanting to engage with the brands on [social media] channels” – Sharkey de Solis

And, though traditional long-term branding campaigns may not be devised with specific measurement matrices in mind and may be ideally measured qualitatively, Di Matteo emphasised how difficult it is for brands to quantitatively measure the success of more fast-moving online campaigns. “If it were up to me, I would create the coolest reporting tool that would allow for me to understand everything that’s happening and have it really succinctly tie up into my [ecommerce] data because, at the end of the day, our goal is to generate sales, but also be able to tell a great story.” Anyone got an idea for this?

Last week’s event was a milestone for Decoded Fashion, and you can be sure to find us at next year’s SXSW.

For all the photos from the event you can check them out here, and for further SXSW fashion coverage take a peek at the FT’s feature and Stylus’s report.

Reported by Anna Abrell 

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  1. The Secret to Making Wearables That People Actually Want?
    Last September, right around spring/winter Fashion Week, an unexpected group of people gathered for a round table discussion at the main offices of the Council of Fashion Designers of America in New York City.
  2. Robotic Technology in the Service of Fashion
    Two companies receiving support from the Business Incubator in Universidad Carlos III in Madrid’s (UC3M) Science Park are innovating the field of fashion by using technology based in robotics.
  3. Google Hangouts on iOS Now Looks Like WhatsApp Messenger
    Google gave its Hangouts app for iOS a complete overhaul on Thursday — one that will look very familiar to users of other mainstream messaging apps.
  4. New RVA-Based Payments Startup Launches at National Technology Festival
    Two Richmond area entrepreneurs launched their online payment technology startup Wednesday in front of an audience of thousands in San Francisco.

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  1. Wearable Technology: Why We Should Look to Businesses to Show Us the Way
    Fred Armisen’s fumbling exploration of Google Glass on Saturday Night Live last May brilliantly satirized the challenges facing wearables.
  2. Coach Outflanking Vuitton in China With $400 Handbags
    Corina Su aspires to someday own a handbag or shoes from luxury brands like Louis Vuitton (MC) or Gucci. For now, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, or Coach will do.
  3. Eric Schmidt Encourages World Changing Tech Innovation By Giving Away $1 Million as Prize
    Technology can solve the most pressing problems of the world, or at least that’s what Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt believes.
  4. Smart Jewelry is Proving Wearable Tech Doesn’t Have to Be Hideous
    Ladies and fashion fans, the world of wearable tech is finally swinging your way.

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  1. Can This Company Finally Get The Retail Fashion World Online?
    High-end fashion is one of the last holdouts against e-commerce. A virtual fitting room could change things–but the technical challenges are enormous.

  2. How Chicago’s Lending a Stronger Hand to Wearable Technology
    Think of Chicago tech firms, and the mind turns quickly to Groupon, GrubHub, Braintree and others birthed from Chicago’s tech incubators. Ask about Chicago wearable tech, and the list is more limited.

  3. Why the University Is the Ideal Startup Platform
    The entrepreneurial spirit at the university level is willing and eager: nearly 90 percent of young people believe that entrepreneurship education is important, according to the Young Entrepreneur Council.
  4. Samsung Gear Fit: The Most Promising Wrist Wearable to Date
    At Mobile World Congress 2014, Samsung didn’t just double-down on its investment in wrist wearables, it tripled-down, with the unveiling of the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit.

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Retail data startup, 42, launched this week with the backing of Y Combinator. The company came to life during Decoded Fashion Hackathon last year, and headed to Milan as a finalist for our Fashion Pitch competition presented by e-Pitti. 42 went on to debut at TechCrunch Disrupt last year, being then accepted at the prestigious accelerator program Y Combinator.

The company turns raw point-of-sale data into actionable insights that help businesses boost sales. The idea that ignited the company came from co-Founder Cathy Han, formerly of Procter & Gamble. As she told Techcrunch while working with larger retailers to help them better analyze data, she realized that a lot of brick-and-mortar businesses lacked a suite of online tools to leverage customer and sales data.

“One of the things we’ve been focused on is our data infrastructure – to design it to handle retailers with a growing quantity of data, and to have an API that will allow it to handle any type of query,” said Han.

Today, 42 works with its customers to configure custom reporting for their businesses, these custom reports can be automatically sent out via email to store managers in all locations on a regular basis.

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  1. WhatsApp: Facebook Acquires Messaging Service in $19bn Deal
    Massive purchase is Facebook’s largest ever and comes after Google reportedly made $1bn offer for the company last year.
  2. eBay brings virtual fitting room into living rooms with PhiSix buy
    E-commerce company eBay Inc. has purchased virtual fitting room creator PhiSix Fashion Labs, giving its clothing shoppers the option to try on clothes before buying.
  3. 4 Startup Tech Trends to Look for in 2014
    2014 is off to a great start, and these four tech trends look to be a major component in the direction of startup tech companies this year.
  4. Innovation: first Porter call
    Running IT for a company built on quality and innovation would be enough pressure to turn many a CIO away.

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  1. It’s Official NYFW is Moving to Hudson Yards!
    WWD reports that at the Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Hudson Yards “the future home of New York Fashion Week.”
  2. Engineering the Perfect Big Data Bra
    True & Co. used a Netflix model of big-data mining to create a new bra line. Does this finally mean perfect undergarments for all?
  3. Saks Fifth Avenue Launches Virtual Fitting Room App
    Saks Fifth Avenue is looking to change the face of online shopping with it’s handy new app that allows you to ‘model’ the clothes on an avatar with your own body shape.
  4. With $1M in Funding Appsee Promises Developers Real Insight into their Users
    Israeli startup Appsee says it’s taking a different approach to mobile analytics…

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  1. Luxury Resellers are Giving Fashion Another Life
    The newest clique of luxury resellers offers choice goods, personalized service, reasonable fees and deep discounts, like the Dolce & Gabbana cocktail dress that Shop-Hers.com recently listed for $250.
  2. Fashion Designer Maria Pinto Launches New Collection on Kickstarter
    Pinto is trying to raise $250,000 within 45 days for her M2057 line when it goes live on the Kickstarter crowd-funding website this weekend.
  3. Online Marketplace GlobeIn’s Network Of Artisans Has Grown To Nearly 30 Countries
    Startup GlobeIn is building an online marketplace for artisans from around the world.  The site lists 238 artisans from 29 countries, including recent additions like Mexico, Guatemala and Canada.
  4. Fashion Magazine Launches Online Shopping Platform Fashion magazine has announced the launch of Fashion Shopping, a new site that will feature more than 1,500 items, including clothes, shoes, bags and accessories selected by editors of the magazine from partnering retailers.

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  1. Warby Parker: The Tech Startup that Isn’t a Tech Company After All
    The media likes to categorize Warby Parker as an ecommerce company, but CEO and co-founder Neil Blumenthal says that’s a very narrow characterization.
  2. Nordstrom Optimizes Mobile Ads for New Fall Products
    Nordstrom is building a leverage in the m-commerce market by enabling users to browse products on an ad without leaving the original site.
  3. Tumblr Partners Bloggers with Designers for Fashion Week
    Tumblr has partnered 20 NYC-based bloggers with 18 designers and two unspecified organizations for two-week “apprenticeships” leading up to the shows.
  4. Shopify Launches Point-of-Sale System to Unify Online Brick-and-Mortar Retail
    Shopify, the online storefront provider that helps around 65,000 retailers reach their customers on the web, announced on Wednesday a new retail point-of-sale solution that uses iPads for its terminals.
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