Fashion Tech Startup: Meet FLATLAY

Fashion Tech Startup: Meet FLATLAY

This fashion tech startup is aiming to reward brands, influencer’s and anyone with the desire to discover and share collections on their platform. We spoke with Ali Sammour, FLATLAY’s founder, and the FLATLAY team who filled us in on what they’ve created.

Describe FLATLAY.

FLATLAY® is the marketplace for interactive creation, curation and discovery of products. Using the apps and website, we offer content creators the ability to be discovered by the brands looking to find their next advocates. Anyone can build collections of products they love and connect them to posts shared anywhere. User profiles are their digital storefronts where every purchase users make or influence earns real money to be used however they like. It’s an easy, fun, and rewarding way to add another revenue stream to a user’s online presence.


What inspired you to start FLATLAY?

Ali Sammour, the Founder of FLATLAY, has experienced the challenges of launching a premium men’s brand firsthand. 12oz Denim was made of exquisite Japanese materials and prided itself on its impeccable fits and limited runs, cut and sewn in Downtown LA. Being a new brand coming to market, Ali was forced to find innovative outlets to open distribution channels. Instagram launched a year earlier and he made it a mission to discover talent that embodied the brand ethos by seeing them become advocates, and the voices that told our story.

However, Ali found the entire process to be disjointed and unwieldy when it came to coordinating product seeding, post creation, and, ultimately, driving sales via the website. This brought Ali to identify a void in the marketplace, and to the ‘aha moment’ that led to building a better solution for brands.

Tell us how FLATLAY works for brands and influencers.

FLATLAY provides free tools for curators and brands to connect together. Brands integrate products in order to work with users to create cool, authentic, product-related content to share with the world. We help match brands and tastemakers organically.


Understanding the pain points as a brand designer, our team aimed to find a better way to power the discovery process for the social generation while providing benefit to all parties. Brands have the ability to hire based upon a user’s skill and style to create promoted FLATLAY collection posts. Whether a user’s niche be as an avid athlete, or a men’s contemporary fashion enthusiast, they have the ability to discover and promote the brands that they stand behind.

We, in turn, connect the brands to the right curators helping them discover the appropriate brand advocates.

What sets FLATLAY apart from other fashion tech startups in the space?

Other platforms only provide services to those considered elite influencers. At FLATLAY, we provide the entire platform and initial services for free to any user, and all brands. ANYONE has the ability to share their niche or style with the world and be rewarded for it.


What has been the hardest obstacle for you in creating FLATLAY? What has been your favorite part?

One of the obstacles with the FLATLAY experience was helping initial brands and industry marketers understand the value in embracing consumer-driven trends. Finding authenticity in companies you want to spend your money with becomes noisier by the season, and product credibility is more critical than ever. Style is unique to the individual, and the social generation is driven by content. Trendsetters want empowerment in the discovery process of recommending what’s in while others want real recommendations and reviews from people they aspire to.

The discovery process has begun to shift from traditional sources like magazines and television to platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, helping to rapidly evolve style trends. A younger, more engaged audience has taken notice and begun to play a participatory role in shaping what becomes fashionable versus being told what is or is not in style for the season. We are an exciting part of that discovery process. Both niche and established brands are tapping into the power of tastemakers. Daniel Wellington is a great example of a new entrant partnering with tastemakers such as Matt Graber and Walids Ibrahim to carve out market share and drive sales. FLATLAY is dedicated to these types of collaborations with users, molding future styles and products by niche brands.


What can we expect from FLATLAY in the future?

Integration of real-time product recognition and auto suggestions of affiliated links to similar products on mobile devices is a feature we want to focus on in the new year. We also want to leverage the integration of video content creation into real time interactivity.

Find out more about FLATLAY by visiting their website here.

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.