We’ve always said that one of the biggest problems for fashion online is the lack of a federated ontology (a common language). This startup has taken on one of the biggest pieces of that challenge: color. We spoke with LuxeFinds founder, Phyllis Cheung, who told us about what they’ve created.
Describe LuxeFinds and your inspiration behind starting it.
LuxeFinds is a luxury discovery shopping engine with a focus on color. I’ve always been fascinated by color, how Pantone has colors of the year, how companies market with color, and how fashion trends are dictated by color. I’ve also been frustrated when shopping for something and not every color comes up in the search results because my search term was the color wine and only items that somebody had decided to include the word “wine” in it would show up.
My search results were devoid of all items that had burgundy, merlot, raisin, or any other shade of that perfect reddish purple that I was after unless it was in the title. If I had used the retailer’s search by color and toggled purple, I’m now inundated with every shade of purple under the sun – from lavender to eggplant. Since it was always on either extreme, shopping for an exact shade proved frustrating for me. Thus, LuxeFinds was born.
Tell us about your luxury shopping engine.
LuxeFinds is an easy to use discovery shopping engine that we’ve created to allow users to shop by exact hues. We have a wide range of retailers from Forever21 to Net-a-Porter that are indexed so shoppers can easily find what they’re looking for without leaving LuxeFinds.
Tell us how you are using biotech and data science in your technology.
In addition to leveraging many of the standard marketing techniques such as market basket analysis and other traditional approaches, we are always looking cross domain into other industries to see how we can integrate new technologies into our platform. Classification models, graph analysis, and machine learning solutions are just a few examples of how we’ve taken advantage of this domain cross-over.
What has been one of the most challenging parts of getting started? How did you overcome this and what did you learn?
Our most challenging moment was when we first created the shopping by color experience. This was back in May 2012 – we had just launched the LuxeFinds Color Shopping App and we could only import a few retailers into the system. So many retailer feeds were a mess and no one had mobile check out. We were simply ahead of the times and realized that we had to let the industry catch up. We ended up shelving the project for a few years until everyone had mobile check out. This time around, we are thrilled with the sales that have happened because of our engine.
What has been one of the most rewarding aspects and why?
I think for me, the most rewarding aspect of LuxeFinds is when I show the technology to everyone, from my friends to C-levels at retailers, everyone has the same jaw dropping reaction. It is pretty amazing for a user to take a picture of their outfit and be able to select a color from it, type in pumps, and be shown every single pump from our retailers that match that exact color in a matter of seconds. Then all they have to do is pick a pair by tapping on the image and purchase! New brands and retailers are discovered instantly – it’s great when you take brand/retailer bias out of the equation!
What’s next for LuxeFinds?
We are about to release two new shopping verticals: weddings and home decor, where shoppers are influenced highly by color. I’ve been in the luxury wedding industry for many years and have developed amazing relationships with so many wedding vendors that it’s time to marry beautiful imagery from weddings with potential items for brides to purchase – from bridesmaid dresses to wedding favors.
The home decor market is forecasted to be garner $664 Billion in sales by 2020 and if we can tap into that market, it would enable homeowners and renters to easily decorate and renovate their homes with items that match their current decor perfectly. Imagine a user taking a picture of their couch and finding all the perfect accessories, paint color, and rug in just a few seconds.
We are also about to release the ability to create an account on LuxeFinds, so users can save their favorite products, and create beautiful LookBooks.
Do you have any advice to entrepreneurs starting a new fashion tech company?
If you haven’t already, read the books Blue Ocean Strategy and Contagious: Why Things Catch On. These two books will open your eyes on how to think differently, how to marry different industries, and how to challenge the status quo. Fashion tech is still such a new field and it evolves quickly. Be able to realize when something isn’t working and be open to change.
To find out more about LuxeFinds visit their website here and watch the video below.
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