Confession: I did something a little tricky using Fashism. While speaking at a conference about “The Future of E-Commerce”, I asked an audience member to snap my photo and I live-posted my outfit to the site in the middle of my presentation. How did that turn out?
Well, luckily Fashism has built a gregarious and helpful community. This starts at the top, with Founder Brooke Moreland. Started in 2009, Fashism is rightly one of the darlings of the social shopping genre. Users upload a photo or photos and ask a question, such as, “Does this work?”, “Should I buy this?”, or “Which is better?” to the friendly community for feedback. It’s a super sticky experience.
Fashism has offices at NYC’s General Assembly. We met there and then went across the street for coffee happy hour at ‘wichcraft where she answered our Startup Seven questions.
New York, NY –
TWF: Tell us about your company.
F: Fashism is a website and an iPhone app where users get advice on something they are wearing or thinking about buying. It’s instantly addictive. Because it works really well when trying to decide whether or not to buy something, it ties in well with commerce. Users can get instant, crowd-sourced feedback.
TWF: If you can describe your company in 5 words, what would they be?
TWF: Tell us about your team. Who does what and how do you manage your staff?
F: We have seven full time employees, including two that work offsite. I’m the CEO, so I do whatever has to get done, including making sure that the bills get paid. Ashley Granata is our CMO, and she works with brands, partners with retailers, and produces our email newsletter. We have a Director of Product, who work on UX, design, and the product itself. Our CTO, James Cropcho, takes care of everything on the backend (our site is built using Ruby on Rails). We have two developers, and a just hired a mobile developer as well.
TWF: What is unique about your company?
F: To start with, our site is useful in addition to being entertaining. We don’t strive for a particular editorial voice and we’re completely based on user generated content, so the voice of the site is truly the voice of the community.
TWF: What are your future plans?
F: We’ve got an Android app on the way! There is lots of other stuff happening soon, but that’s all off the record.
TWF: Tell us about the market you’ve been trying to target and the response you’ve gotten so far.
F: Our users are typically women and girls who are interested in fashion, but don’t necessarily have all the answers; they’re not super knowledgable fashionistas. A lot of them are still figuring out their style. 60% of our users are looking for genuine advice, as opposed to just wanting to show off their style. There is a barrier to posting because people are not always comfortable with it, but we retain a lot of users once they start posting because of our great community. People get really into Fashism!
TWF: What things inspire you the most, whether in business or life?
F: I love seeing the site actually working! It feels great to know that we are actually making people’s lives better. Our users are excited and passionate, and that’s contagious.
Fashism is a successful social fashion site. But how nice are the users? Here’s a screen cap of the outfit that I live-posted, and as you can see, they are very gracious. My favorite comment was from Fashism’s CTO James Cropcho, who opined, “a bit too late to decide, no?“. Touché.
There is a lot to learn from the way that Fashism has built an engaged and engaging community for the long term. We suggest trying the experience for yourself! (Fashism.com, Twitter, Facebook.)
Liza Kindred is Third Wave Fashion’s founder. Interested in Style Startups? You can hire us or sign up for our mailing list.