By Andrea Walker/Digital Strategist
I’m very excited that SXSW Interactive is bringing back Style X for a second year in a row. If there is one industry that has embraced technology both from a consumer and entrepreneurial standpoint, it has been fashion. Brands like H & M, Jimmy Choo, Donna Karen, and many others have explored digital tools like social media, augmented reality, mobile apps and continue to experiment with blending a seamless online/offline customer experience. For those fashionista techies that can’t be at Style X this year, I’m bringing the experts and panelists to you!
This week, I had a great opportunity to talk to Amanda Hunter, V.P. Strategic Marketing of GoTryItOn, which is one of this year’s participating sponsors. GoTryItOn redefines “social discovery” by creating a network of fashion-loving women who can get style advice in real-time feedback through stylists and site visitors.
Why are you excited about this year’s SXSW Style X? Are you glad the conference is embracing the fashion industry as apart of interactive?
A. We are always happy to support the fashion community, so we’re excited to be one of this year’s sponsor for StyleX. It’s a great time to be in the fashion industry. While we’re spoiled being in New Y
ork, StyleX is building a reputation for Austin as an emerging center for fashion. On our own front, SXSW has always been near and dear to us. We launched the company at SXSW back in 2010, and so we’re happy to announce that we will be kicking off the launch our new homepage design at this year’s event. We’ll be featuring a tribute to Austin’s fashion finest and capturing street style on what’s cool in Texas. While we’re excited to be able to participate at the event, we’re even more excited to be able to bring a taste of it to our community at large.
How did the founders get the idea for Go Try It On?
A. It was a personal challenge Marissa faced when getting ready at home or shopping alone. She would wish her best friend or sister was with her to get a second opinion on what she was wearing. She craved her friends’ suggestions or just her honest advice. Then the idea came to her – she couldn’t be the only person that felt this way. There should be some kind of network of like-minded folks all helping each other and sharing their tips on style.
Explain the business model of Go Try It On?
A. While a lot of sites are continuing with more traditional advertising methods, like banner ads, we believe there is a great opportunity to connect and influence your consumers. We look to bring our brands an opportunity to connect with their consumers in many ways, even so much as allowing them to create a 1 to 1 experience. Consumers are savvy these days. They want to connect with their brands in a genuine way. They want an experience that is personal and not for a blast to the masses. Our stylist program allows brands to have these genuine connections, which we believe will be a valuable way to extend best in class customer connections and service, which ultimately can be a way for us to monetize the platform.
How did recent advancements in social media and mobile make the start-up ripe for success?
A. We live in a time where social sharing has become a major part of our everyday lives. It has become second nature. So for our team, getting fashion advice on-the-go was a natural next step. At some point or another, we have all needed a second opinion when it comes to deciding to wear. Our personal stylist feature allows members to connect with people the trust. Whether it’s with friends, featured stylists or brands, sharing is a core piece of our DNA. Our community values the “helpful not hurtful” reviews they receive, which keeps the sharing going in our virtual world.
What are some trends you are personally seeing in fashion marketing and technology?
A. At GO TRY IT ON, there are two trends that we are really excited to see growing: connecting online to offline behaviors and mobile shopping. We keep these two concepts in mind when we look forward for the future of our product.
It’s not everyday a 26 year old builds a tech start-up that closes 3 million in funding…what advice do you have for young women who are passionate about fashion but want to start their own tech company?
Marissa had the courage to believe in her vision and the tenacity to make it a reality. And for that, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of a team of entrepreneurs. Being an entrepreneur is something in your gut. If you are this type of person who wants to understand more about the world, join a startup. Even better, be on the founding team. Nothing is quite like trying to make the case for something that doesn’t exist in the world yet. You are forced to be honest with yourself and those around you. Then, you must go after your vision with your best 100%. There is no other option. From there, it’s a wild ride. The highs are high. The lows are low…but there will never be a dull moment. Every day is a new adventure, and the best part about it, is you get to choose your own.
GoTryItOn also have their own mobile app. Launching today in the app, members will be allowed to suggest an item from curated collection of products when they are reviewing an outfit.