NMRKT (pronounced In Market, and who just launched in beta yesterday) is the brainchild of Brown University graduate, Julia Jacobson. After working as a buyer for years, Julia decided it was time for a new and more innovative way to shop for fashion online. She left her position with Bloomingdales in 2011, then gathered a team in New York and founded the interactive e-magazine that is NMRKT.
NMRKT is the marketplace connecting consumers demand directly to industry supple. A 2-sided platform helping consumers better find what they’re “in the market for” and providing the industry with real-time demand prediction, target consumer outreach and inventory management.
Third Wave Fashion got the chance to speak with Julia, and ask her a few questions of our own.
TWF: What inspired you to start NMRKT?
Julia: I was a buyer for a large department store for years and was frustrated with how the industry was not moving forward along with consumer habits. I watched as emerging brands were unable to break through, big brands were drowning in markdowns, and everyone was desperately throwing product on flash sale sites at negative margins. It wasn’t healthy or productive for anyone involved. In a world of instantaneous accessibility, viral information and a “buy now, wear now” consumer habit, the retail industry needs to be technologically forward thinking and embracing the social space more than it has. So I quit my job to build a solution.
TWF: What value does NMRKT have that makes it stand out against other fashion tech companies?
Julia: NMRKT is incredibly simple, user friendly, and comprehensive. The competition is extremely fragmented in its services- some sites do order placement only, some sites cater to consumers “discovering” but don’t facilitate the crucial next step of purchase, other platforms provide trend-forecasting only– no one is providing a comprehensive tool, and certainly not a user friendly one. You would be surprised by how many fashion tech sites there are out there that do not acknowledge how non-tech savvy the retail industry is. Everything from linesheet upload, to login and interface buttons- it all has to be as simple and user friendly as possible to get a scalable audience to embrace the technology.
TWF: What has been the hardest obstacle for you in the process of building the company? What has been your favorite part?
Julia: The hardest obstacle so far is tying myself to the mast- as my business partners say. While you are developing a product– especially one you and your team are incredibly passionate about– it’s hard not to get carried away with a to do list of 100 new add on features and functionalities. And it has been proven over and over- the simpliest version of your concept is the easiest to catch on with consumers and clients. So it is essential to tie yourself to the mast and look straight ahead and only straight ahead. Don’t worry though, I saved the next 100 features list for a rainy day.
My favorite part so far is watching the concept work! Our consumer side is in beta now and the other day we received an amazing email from two beta users. One of them had set her status for what she was “in the market for” (a winter coat with a hood), loved what NMRKT suggested so much that she bought it that same day, and then told a friend the next day because she was so excited, and the friend signed up! It was proof of concept in it’s most beautiful form, and I can’t wait to watch that happen a thousand times over again once we launch to the public.
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image via NMRKT.