Bespoky started at the Decoded:Fashion hackathon in May of this year. I met my two co-founders, Claudio and Giovanni, the night before and we ended up working incredibly well together. The hackathon was sponsored by AllSaints and three teams were awarded the chance to take their concept further, working alongside the AllSaints global innovation team. Since then, we have been developing our concept into a fully functional app which we will be piloting in store this summer.
The brief that was set at the Decoded:Fashion hackathon to address the challenges and opportunities that come with using technology in the retail environment. We decided to focus our efforts on the customer. We spent the whole first day of the hackathon talking to each other and to great mentors involved in the event. We wanted to address the awkward moment when store assistants first greet a customer and somehow use technology to make this moment a bit more comfortable.
Decoded:Fashion is an international meet up that aims to get people in the tech and fashion industry together. It was founded by Liz Bacelar who is based in New York and has really been an incredibly influence on the industry by bringing people together and championing startups in the sector. The Decoded:Fashion hackathon in split into two parts which was co-sponsored by AllSaints, Conde Nast and the British Fashion Council.
The first round involved the two day hackathon where teams worked together to pitch ideas to a panel of industry experts. The second round involved five finalists pitching their ideas to William Kim, CEO of AllSaints, Lulu Guinness, and Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council in front of a live industry audience of 300+ people.
Pretty surreal. I went into the hackathon just looking to meet new people and ended up with the beginning of what is now a startup we're all incredibly proud of. That, alongside meeting some of what I can only describe as my "fashion super heroes" was pretty amazing. There was a moment during the weekend where we all looked at each other and realised we actually had a chance of winning - that was really exciting.
Bespoky works in three easy steps - the customer enters the store and browses the profiles of the available stylists at that moment, they then choose the stylist they like the most and meet them right away. After shopping together, the customer gives the stylist a simple rating out of five stars.
We are currently considering and evaluating two alternative business models. The first one is based on activation and service fees charged to retailers to use Bespoky. The second instead, would provide retailers with free Bespoky's services but would charge commissions on the stores' incremental sales achieved through the app.
Well we're all still doing it! Giovanni and Claudio work in finance and I work in a creative agency. We've kept our day jobs for the moment but believe strongly in Bespoky so we'll have to see what happens!
The three of us are incredibly motivated by the idea that we are making something we truly believe in. I think that's what has kept us motivated over the past 2 months.
In the short term, we want to become a service that truly enhances the in-store experience. While in the long run, we want to maximize the potential of a marketing channel often underestimated by fashion retailers, empowering stylists and sales associates to manage customer relationships offline and online.
This is the most exciting part of our app! Each stylist has a profile which features a profile picture, short description, personal style moodboard and list of skills. It also highlights any additional languages they might speak.
All this information allows the customer to choose someone who is most likely going to understand their needs. It also gives the stylist a platform to showcase their individual style and personality.
That is definitely the plan. Bespoky is an app that will work across many different brands and retailers. We're grateful for the opportunity to work with AllSaints first so we can test and learn from the pilot. Once we've done this we will be in a great place to speak to other retailers.
Also, you can follow their journey on Instagram where they post weekly videos of their progress!