I’m thrilled to be a part of the launch of Shoptrue which acquired my startup Everywear earlier this year. As those of you who have founded a company know: It can be hard, lonely, thrilling and despairing all in one 16-hour day. But when you believe in the solution, even if no one seems to see it, you keep trudging. I met Romney Evans, the founder of Shoptrue years ago at his former startup, True Fit, and he believed in a similar vision—that there’s a better way to approach fashion ecommerce, one that listens, responds and inspires the shopper. So when he approached me to join the team I was more than excited to continue the journey with a fabulously talented team.
I’ve worked in fashion my entire life and am particularly obsessed with how people dress and what inspires them to buy the next thing. Each step along the way has added insight into how, where and why we get inspired. As editor of magazines such as Lucky, I learned how editorial authority and inspiration empowers a reader to pull the trigger on a dress or a top. I started Everywear in 2013 to address ecommerce’s need to listen and respond with inspiration. I’m now at Shoptrue because much of ecommerce leaves out that last part, it’s like trying to have a conversation with Alexa where you say something and the algo repeats it right back to you: It’s a good search tool but sometimes when it comes to style, we don’t always know what we are looking for. In other words: I already bought those pants, why do you keep showing them to me? Listen to me, show me the next thing, inspire me to try something new.
Shoptrue, from its inception, is a fashion discovery platform that aims to solve ecommerce’s hearing problem. John Lashlee, a data scientist from LinkedIn and Netflix, and his team are building the capability to take cues, to listen and with AI begin to present the shopper with a subset of inventory that she will likely respond to. But AI alone is not the solution. My team brings an understanding of those cues and subsets and builds stories, in the form of “shops” or collections. The shops we build are storytelling and interactive like our outfit builders where we provide the inspo so the shopper can make the look her own.
The combo of AI and expertise leads us to the next phase and where it gets truly exciting. We are piloting user-driven shops that can live on social media, in email or text, allowing the shopper to be part of the inspiration that drives the style conversation anywhere, anytime.
These shops created by our beta users are personal moments in which they are the experts in an ongoing interchange of mood and what inspires them and their peers. Maybe it’s for a group trip they are planning with their friends, maybe it’s because they are feeling a certain way, maybe they saw Gigi Hadid wear the ugly denim trend and want to add their POV to the conversation.
Think of shops as fashion playlists and the possibilities are infinite.