Ask anyone who likes shopping, and they’ll tell you that one of the biggest issues in fashion right now is the lack of standardisation in sizing across brands and retailers. This is not only annoying for the customer, especially those shopping online who are expecting a certain size to fit them, but it ultimately leads to unwanted returns; something that retailers definitely don’t want.
However, a startup called EyeFitU is using technology to try and solve this problem. Sitting in the fashion and technology (FashTech) sector, EyeFitU has developed a software tool for clothes and footwear shopping that uses machine learning and the specifics of each brand and user to recommend the best possible fit for male and female.
The Startup Network spoke to EyeFitU founder and CEO, Isabelle Ohnemus, who told us more about why she set the company up and what she plans are next.
Give us the lowdown on EyeFitU…
EyeFitU is a personal fashion sizing app and platform, available to download globally for free on both iOS and Android. Our machine learning technology learns from every user who inputs their measurements into the system, creating a highly personalised experience. With our affiliated brands and online stores, the user is recommended items of clothing that will most likely be the correct fit.
Users have to make their size profile once and we do the rest in terms of sizing. In other words we are decoding for each specific user what a size, fit and style in a garment from Brand A means in Brand B so the focus is on inspiration, shopping. We have a vast selection of brands (and we constantly adjust our software to their new specifics) and stores available on our platform and of course all their sales and offers too; which makes it pretty cool for our users to see instantly what is available in their size. We also address the gifting sector with our multi-profile option: our users can make size profiles for their loved ones on our app so they can shop for them in the correct size.
Having your size profile in your phone is extremely practical when you do not wish or cannot try the clothes while instore as well. Our users just check our sizing recommendation in the store and select what to take in the fitting room or simply purchase it.
What do you think makes it distinct to any other companies – what’s its USP?
Our USP is our sizing engine that already works with very little information about users and clothing items, but improves with the quantity of people using our system and the level of detail they provide about measurements and preferences. We start with user’s age, gender, height, weight (that we match with statistical data) but support 12 individual body measurements. We also cross reference consumer’s sizing preferences in different brands. On the clothing side, we start with brands size charts but our Sizing Engine™ is fully flexible and can also account for specific garment measurements. We use all this information to establish what we call Virtual Size Charts™. This is unique because no two people are created equally and the level of information available from the brands also varies.
What is your personal background?
I come from a financial background, having spent over 10 years as a broker in stocks and derivatives for a global investment company. I am both an entrepreneur and a fashionista. I speak 6 other languages fluently, which comes in very handy when travelling internationally with EyeFitU.
What inspired you to start the company?
Fashion has always been a huge part of my life. I decided to turn my passion into a business and so I started organising private sales at home for my girlfriends who wanted to access the world of fashion in an easy way. The sales included new and ground-breaking designers from Italy, Denmark and France who had no actual stores. It was then that I discovered the extent of the inconsistency in sizing…and that’s where the idea of EyeFitU was born.
What is the story of the company from launch until now? How big is the company now?
We were founded in 2013 and are now a company of 12 with staff working in Zurich (where our headquarters are) as well as remotely in the US and Denmark.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far in your company?
A big challenge of ours is that sometimes technology isn’t developing fast enough for us!
What’s your biggest milestone/ which are you most proud of?
In terms of milestones, we made the Top 3 at the NOAH16 London startup competition and were therefore recently presenting on the main stage at NOAH17 in Berlin. We were selected as a Europe Top 100 Company by Red Herring and we were a finalist for Best App and Best Use of Innovation by Drapers Digital Awards 2017 in London.
We are most proud of the feedback we now get from consumers who are using our app.
What is your business model? How have you monetised your product?
We have a two-tiered model b2c and b2b. Our b2c is our app that is free for consumers and online shops. We earn a commission of the sales generated through the app and web with our affiliated partners. On the b2b side, our Sizing Engine™ is available for integration with online stores as a monthly to service.
What’s the next step for growth – is the intention to grow the business independently, or look for an exit via acquisition or similar?
We’re tapping into a huge market, with significant potential; so many mistakes and frustration comes from this sizing issue. Within the next two to five years, tens of corporations, e-commerce brands and thousand of users will have endorsed EyeFitU’s solution so it has become a must have and an industry standard.
Will you be looking for more funding?
Our first capital increase of around £1.5 million in April 2015. We are now raising a larger round and have secured more than half of it. We plan to close the round during the third quarter 2017.