In this course under the Human-Computer Interaction Institue (HCII) at Carnegie Mellon University, our team was given the task to design a new software startup that was economically viable, technically feasible, and desired by customers. We continually prototyped to the greatest risk, iterated our design and pivoted when necessary, and finally created a minimum viable product (MVP).
At the start, we were interested in the intersection of peer to peer lending services with fashion. The initial idea was a platform that allowed university students to borrow or buy clothes. We thought there was a need for students to be able to have access to more formal clothes for events like job fairs, interviews, Greek formal events, and other formal events. From research, we found because there are many platforms already in this space, it would be hard to innovate.
We reframed our market from college students into an audience that would be in need of clothes on demand. We thought of audiences like business travelers and backpackers. We pitched “McFashion” with the tag line, “The clothes you need where you need them”. It was meant to be a clothing service that will would allow users to have a closet of rented clothing ready upon arrival at a destination, rather than bringing a suitcase along.
We identified key stakeholders for McFashion. Our customers are travellers who rent pickup clothes and they generate our revenue. We will work with locals and stores which provide rentals, hotels which deliver pickup clothes, insurance providers which ensure clothes, cleaning services which clean the clothes, fashion manufactors which make the clothes, and warehouses which store excess clothes.
By identifying social, economical and technological factors and conducting PESTLE Analysis, we had a better understanding of the fashion industry as well as the potential of the clothes rental business. The risks and threats that clothes rental might have were the price advantage and high turnover of fashion fashion, supply and demand mismatch, powerful logistics of giant companies like Amazon, social stigma against renting clothes, and fake items.
Among travellers, we identifed consultants as the customer group with the most urgent needs. Due to the nature of their jobs, we thought that they travel a lot and potentailly have the need of clothes rentals. Benjamin LeDoux would be one of them.
After conducting 7 interviews (5 with consultants & 2 with backpackers) to validate our assumptions, we found that consultants have no clear needs related to clothing during their business trips, and backpackers don’t have a need for clothing because of their minimalism lifestyle and low cost of buying new clothes in developing countries. We identified mothers as our new stakeholder who has a changing body during pregnancy. We could see their unmet needs and huge potential for business.
Feelling limited knowledge and less passion in the topic of maternity, we pivoted to a new idea which aimed to connect fashion designers and social media influencers. They need each other. On one side, fashion designers need influencer markting to increase presence and sell more items. On the other side, small scale influencers found it hard to find unique brands that match up with their personality and styles. Therefore, we proposed our MVP Spotlight.
We act as a connection point for indie fashion designers who dont have the skills to market themselves and influenvers who have trouble aligning sponsorship with their brand. And also as a marketplace for customers to be able to purchase goods that may typiclly be only sold at craft fairs or online boutiques.
To prove the great value of influencer marketing, we started with the success story of Daniel Wellington. In 2011, he invested $1,500 for kick starting the company. With the help of influencing marketing, he was able to sell one million watches worldwide for a profit of $220M.
Small brands like Daniel Wellington use instagram to launch, but bigger brands, like starbucks also use instagram to grow. They do this because they know there's money in it. A business will generate 7 times as much revenue as they put in; and the amount being spent on influencer marketing keeps growing, in 2017 it was just over 1 billion but by 2019, over twice that amount will be put into influencer marketing.
Even though this opportunity space is relatively new, there are a few other people trying to take advantage of it. However we are different, and better :) Firstly, we give our influencers a commission based on reach rather than a one time payment per post. Secondly, we authentically feature a designers story and aesthetic so they get the best suited exposure for themselves. Thirdly, by the use of a singular focused and time limited “spotlight” we create a cosutumer urgency to drive sales.
Current solutions pair brands with influencers. However, by allowing these influencers to foster authentic relationships with designers on Spotlight, we will be able to provide those them with a platform once they decide to launch their own brands. Moreover, although now we are targeting fashion industry as our starting point, Spotlight as a platform will quickly expand into highly scalable verticals.