Our meetup last night was a great success! Produced in partnership with FABCounsel, last night’s event was focused on figuring out how the fashion tech scene is evolving in the Los Angeles area, and boy did we learn a lot.
We started off with brief demos from 3 promising startups. The founders of The Style Club, Unscruff, and Fidoo all showed off their companies to the stylish crowd of entrepreneurs, marketing pros, and techies. Check them out!
We then moved on to the panel portion of the evening. We had an incredible speaker line-up: : David Oh, Director of Acquisitions at Beachmint, Alisa Gould Simon, Co-founder of Pose, Dan Murillo, Founder of Little Black Bag, MJ Eng, President and founder of ShoeDazzle, and Robin Kaminsky, Executive at Residence at Rustic Canyon VC.
Our founder, Liza Kindred, was the moderator and asked them questions that allowed for some well-rounded insight. We touched upon what it’s like to have a fashion tech startup in LA, investment stories, celebrity endorsements, and mobile. We even managed to share a few laughs by declaring a ban on the words “e-commerce” “pivot” and “disruptive”. (Guess we’re all kind of sick of those words, eh?)
Some of the thoughts that were shared:
On venture capital
As a former VC and first time entrepreneur, Little Black Bag’s founder Dan Murillo finds that the downside of having a startup in LA is the lack of venture capital and investment firms. He did however share a similar story as Shoedazzle’s MJ Eng in that they both sought out funding from their friends and family first. Soon after demonstrating success, they found it relatively straightforward to raise their A rounds from top investors. Dan’s advice to the crowd of entrepreneurs was to “create the relationships right now that’ll eventually get you the investment you need later on.”
Beachmint, Pose, and ShoeDazzle all share similar stories in that their companies have had celebrities as the faces. David Oh from Beachmint shared that looking for a celebrity to endorse your company is somewhat like the process of looking for funding. He mentioned that some want to have input on everything; down to the color of certain buttons! Rustic Canyon’s Robin Kaminsky also shared her insight as the panel’s only current VC in saying that celebrities can be polarizing. It’s not about just having a celebrity to back your product — it’s about finding one that fits.
Liza, the mobile junkie she is, loves to share that “There are more iPhones purchased than babies born every day.” The mobile discussion continued with Pose’s Alisa Gould-Simons sharing that people spend an average of 10 minutes at a time on the Pose app, and just about everyone on the panel nodded when Robin Kaminsky shared her thoughts on mobile: “People sleep with their phones, take them to the bathroom with them. It’s the only device that they can be on 24/7.”
Some parting words:
“Success isn’t measured in billions. You don’t have to be a billion dollar business to be a good business.” -Liza
“Your idea might be innovative and amazing, but it might not have a large market.” and “Don’t be cheap– find the best talent out there” – MJ
“For women, fashion is about emotion. We try to remember that in everything we do.” -Alisa
Another strong point made by Robin Kaminsky was on the topic of “pivoting”. She shared that it’s a very fine line between holding on to your initial idea, but knowing when to change things if needed. She strongly believes that that defines a regular company from a successful one.
Thanks to LA for a wonderful event! We’re off to host another fashion tech meetup San Francisco next week (at Zappos Labs), and then we’ll be back home to NYC.
Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.
Images via Guest of a Guest.