A group of technology mavens could be helming retail’s landscape in coming years.
On Tuesday, Fung Global Retail & Technology, along with sponsors Avery Dennison, Global Brands Group and non-profit Dignity U Wear, held a “Breakfast with the Disruptors” event, where eight startups pitched their innovation ideas to a panel of judges.
Two startups, including B2B software platform Everywear and interior design platform Furnishr, received $2,500 from Avery Dennison for their future-forward retail concepts. Despite retail undergoing major changes, these startups demonstrate how new technology, including AI and apps, could help apparel companies stay successful and deliver relevant consumer experiences in the future.
“There is this idea of living more of your life with a retailer,” Fung Global Retail & Technology managing director Deborah Weinswig said. “Retailers serve as a potential hub for customers to one-stop shop for products and services.”
Awear Solutions is helping retailers answer the question, “Who is wearing my apparel item?”
“Brands don’t know about the item after the point of sale,” Awear Solutions CEO and founder Liron Slonimsky said. “The communication must be direct and personalized.”
What they’re doing: With a mobile app, the startup helps fashion brands interpret and engage with their consumers, while rewarding them for wearing their products. Using a digital chip embedded in garments, this mobile app helps fashion companies comprehend how their products are used after purchases and enables them to engage with consumers through customized promotions. Their frequent flyer model fuels consumer activity, since consumers rack up more experiences, points and rewards for wearing retailers’ accessories, apparel and footwear.
Why they’re one to watch: Consumer engagement is key in today’s competitive retail environment. With Awear Solution’s technology, brands can get a full grasp of their shopper demographic, including their style preferences, and send individualized discounts to consumers at the same time. Having this technology streamlines the marketing process for apparel brands, so that they can stay relevant and focus on consumers’ desires.
Taking a trip to the tailor could be a daunting experience, but Air Tailor is making clothing alterations easier for today’s consumers.
“The tailoring experience hasn’t really changed in over 200 years,” Air Tailor CEO and founder Joshua Adam Brueckner said. “Lack of innovation in this industry is why retailers lose $18 billion each year.”
What they’re doing: Air Tailor is an on-demand clothing alteration and repair service. Consumers can sign up and text Air Tailor when they need their apparel to be altered. From there, Air Tailor sends simple prep instructions for the consumers’ garments so they can can get the most out of the service. The consumer then send out their clothes and a tailor repairs them for an affordable price. Air Tailor creates a seamless connection between consumers, tailors and retailers. Through its nationwide tailor network, Air Tailor teams up with retailers to provide alteration and sizing services, while consumers receive a more personalized tailoring experience.
Why they’re one to watch: Air Tailor, with a few clicks on a smartphone app, minimizes the alteration experience for consumers, retailers and tailors. Leveraging all three parties’ needs with digital communication, Air Tailor enables consumers to send in clothes quickly, while facilitating business for retailers and tailors who may need more exposure in the marketplace.
Everywear, a B2B software program, is tapping into consumers’ wardrobes by partnering with brands and delivering personalized styling services.
“Right now is a very exciting time to be in retail,” Everywear CEO and founder Brandon Holley said. “When we start to connect that personalized experience, we can look at a vast amount of possibilities for all retailers.”
What they’re doing: While providing styling advice to consumers, Everywear’s back end plugs into brands’ databases. Everywear then collects users’ purchase data to offer product recommendations and personalized outfits.
Why they’re one to watch: Everywear embodies the mindset of a fashion editor. Unlike other styling technology, Everywear takes a consumers’ potential purchase and pairs it with items already in their wardrobe. If consumers love a retailers’ item, the retailer gains a sale and maintains a competitive edge in the e-commerce market. In the process, both the consumer and retailer win.
Designing a room is no longer an escapade of DIY assembly or expensive furniture. Furnishr, an interior design platform and one of the winning startups, is helping consumers make their home décor ideas a reality.
What they’re doing: Furnishr handles the entire interior design process from design, to online furniture shopping, delivery and assembly. Consumers can choose from the platform’s room designs or customize their own if they wish.
Why they’re one to watch: Convenience is a key factor for consumers’ purchasing decisions. Furnishr establishes a seamless home décor experience by providing consumers with an entire room package, delivery and assembly at an affordable price point. The consumer saves time and money compared to doing everything themselves or hiring an interior designer.
Mirror That Look
Sometimes Instagram and Pinterest don’t tell the whole story of an outfit. Mirror That Look is solving this problem for consumers by providing real-time shop-the-look results and allowing consumers to compare prices across fashion brands.
“Mirror That Look is a tool that enhances product discovery with the ease of both products and price,” Mirror That Look co-founder and CEO Evelyn Nguyen said. “For fashion, the accuracy is very important because you wouldn’t settle for something that looks similar.”
What they’re doing: Mirror That Look is powered by AI visual search technology that works like Shazam. A consumer finds an outfit on social media and Mirror That Look detects all apparel, accessories and footwear in the photo or video and provides similar products from different retailers.
Why they’re one to watch: Taking a step above other digital platforms, Mirror That Look enables consumers to find what they want without a lengthy search process. Everything is done for the consumer with a few clicks and Mirror That Look lets the consumer establish their own wardrobe according to taste and price point.
Nineteenth Amendment is changing the game when it comes to helping emerging designers and delivering unique apparel to consumers.
“Fashion is changing and customers want new things faster,” Nineteenth Amendment co-founder & CEO Amanda Curtis said. “Our global vision is to have products, designed globally and made locally.”
What they’re doing: As an independent fashion catalyst, Nineteenth Amendment provides emerging designers with production tools and an on-demand marketplace. With a transparent retail approach, emerging designers can showcase their collections, while connecting consumers to unconventional pieces.
Why they’re one to watch: Despite the competitive landscape for up-and-coming designers, Nineteenth Amendment fosters supply chain visibility and consumer engagement. Emerging designers receive the grounding for their business and consumers also have access to garments that aren’t sold at big-box retailers.
As commerce continues to shift toward a more content-focused layout, Smartzer is helping retailers reach more consumers.
What they’re doing: Smartzer is a B2B video platform that makes fashion video content interactive and shoppable. Consumers can click on a retailer’s catwalk or look book video, find information on the products featured and create their own wish list. Retailers also have access to video analytics to learn more about the consumers watching their videos.
“The timing is really crucial in what we do,” Smartzer founder Karoline Gross said. “The reason why clients work with us is the user experience, the analytics we provide and the level of customization that we can supply for the product.”
Why they’re one to watch: Brands, luxury labels and retailers post millions of videos daily. Smartzer enables these key market players to achieve more consumer clicks and potential sales from their digital activity.
For lifestyle and wellness brands looking for customized activewear, Ziel has a solution.
What they’re doing: As an on-demand manufacturing platform, Ziel develops private-label athletic apparel for its clients, including health influences and fitness studios. Ziel manages the process for clients, from design to production to inventory management and omnichannel sales.
Why they’re one to watch: Uniqueness and sustainability remain top priorities for brands that want to have their own activewear. Ziel enables brands to personalize their supply chains and axe time and costs associated with standard production.