In this edition of our Startups Seven series, we explore newborn company Shoptiques, who are taking their website from new and unknown to large and in-charge.
The concept is simple: Build a platform where locally owned boutiques can easily sell their unique items online. It’s an empowering platform for small business owners, and let’s users around the world have access to the best boutiques from anywhere.
We spoke with the founder, Olga Vidisheva, (who happens to be a former model and a Harvard Business School grad) about their journey and the amazing results that they have seen so far:
TWF: Tell us about your company.
OV: Shoptiques is an online fashion marketplace that aggregates inventory from a selected group of local boutiques (25 to start with) located across the United States. We provide beautiful attire curated by the boutique owners, as well as personal stylist recommendations, giving our users one-of-a-kind outfits. Shoptiques is different in that we don’t own inventory. Everything comes from the boutiques themselves, and we photograph the merchandise to keep the overall aesthetic of the website intact. Therefore, ‘Mary from Minnesota’ can truly feel like she shopped from let’s say, Babel Fair, in Nolita NYC. We don’t want merchandise on Shopqitues to be found in department stores or websites such as Shopbop & Net-a-Porter. Instead, we want our customer to know that she won’t be seeing her outfit on anyone else. This is why working with boutiques, such as the ones we’ve selected, is so great. They buy in small quantities and have an exquisite eye for talented designers and undiscovered merchandise.
TWF: Describe your company in five words.
Without hesitation, Olga belted out:
TWF: Tell us about your team.
OV: We have a total of eight people on the team; two full-time, three developers, and three part-time interns. Everyone is exceptional at their job and Shoptiques wouldn’t be a growing company if it weren’t for such a dedicated staff.
TWF: What is unique about your company?
OV: Shoptiques is first of its kind. We provide a service to small businesses: streamlining operations online allowing customers from all over the world to shop unique items. Where else can you shop so many local boutiques from the comfort of your own home?
Shoptiques also allows the “buy it now, pick it up later” option where shoppers can purchase from Shoptiques’ website and pick it up from the brick-and-mortar boutique at their own convenience – which avoids shipping fees and wait times (Author’s note: That’s bad-ass!)
TWF: What’re your future plans?
OV: I’m actually going to be taking Shoptiques to San Francisco in January 2012 for three months! After that, I obviously hope to go international. I have a wait list of over 200 boutiques that are interested in getting into Shoptiques, some of which are located in Europe. How amazing would it be to shop a boutique in Paris, or London, without having to pay hundreds in air fare?
TWF: Tell us about your market and the response you’ve gotten so far.
OV: Our market is most definitely a woman who likes to be unique. She doesn’t like looking like anyone else and dreads running into someone wearing the same outfit as her. Our feedback has been amazing- more than I can ask for. Also, we haven’t had any returns yet, which is pretty unbelievable but it probably has a lot to do with the fact that we offer personal styling during business hours. Therefore, if a customer has any questions about sizing, all she has to do is call us, or the boutique, directly.
TWF: What things inspire you the most, whether in business or in life?
OV: My Grandmother definitely inspires me the most. She’s such a strong woman; headed all transportation in Russia, survived WWII, and is learning how to speak English at age 70. I mean, what an incredible and powerful person! Other than her, I love my personal interactions with the boutique owners. They’re all so creative, and it’s definitely a pleasure to work with all of them.
Without revealing too much, Ms. Vidisheva revealed to TWF that she received funding within a very short period of time and even snagged office space in NYC’s Dogpatch Labs, which is an office incubator that only a small number of startups get selected to join. She’s got some other amazing accolades in the works.
Given Ms. Vidisheva’s Harvard Business School degree, finance background, great sense of style, and strong Russian roots, we have no doubt that Shoptiques will be a huge success in the world of fashion technology. And with an army of suitors romancing her business, we can only begin to imagine where this young powerhouse will go in life. We wish her the best, and are looking forward to watching her company’s journey unfold. She’s definitely one to keep an eye on.
Psssttt.. we hear Shoptiques is growing! They’re currently looking to fill these following positions:
VP of Sales
If you think you have what it takes, shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cyndi Ramirez is is a social media and editorial intern at Third Wave Fashion. Did we leave you wanting more? You can hire us or sign up for our mailing list.