“HangTrend” is a place where you can explore the newest fashion items, share them with your friends and find inspiration for new outfits.
Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘Avidar’ regarding his start-up company “HangTrend”;
1. What is it exactly that you do and what “HangTrend” is all about?
HangTrend is a place where users can explore the newest fashion items, share them with friends and get recommendations for new outfits.
Hangtrend has over 1 million products from 10,000+ brands.
Users can find clothing and accessories that they like and add them to their “Closet”. The closet is a way for users to express themselves, add items they like, own, or want to own and showcase their style to their friends.
2. When has “HangTrend” been founded? And what stage is “HangTrend” currently at?
HangTrend was founded in December 2011.
Our product is currently in Beta phase but we are swiftly moving toward getting our product to the next level.
HangTrend is currently in the process of raising some seed financing and is actively looking for strategic investors.
We are currently a small team of business and engineering professionals looking to grow and take our idea to bigger markets.
3. What is “HangTrend”’s business model and how does it work?
The business model has 3 main revenue generators.
1. Affiliate Marketing – Every product on our site is purchasable; we’ve partnered up with the 4 largest Affiliate Marketing Programs (Google, Amazon, LinkShare and Commission Junction) to ensure all of our items are available. On average, we receive about 13%. Currently have over 10K Brands and 1M products growing daily.
2. Dynamic Targeted Marketing – This is our proprietary revenue stream. Our algorithms allow us to quantify a user’s style. Using this quantification, we are able to offer retailers direct product placements to target demographic users whose style correlates well with their products.
3. Data Analysis – Based on product and user data we collect, we can offer trend forecasts and analysis, User preference analysis and competitive analysis (general or product-to-product)
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Val and Leore were college roommates and met Enea through a mutual acquaintance.
Val is in charge of all things related to Business Development. He focuses on Marketing, Sales, User Feedback, and partnering with top tier retailers for our site.
Enea is in charge of all things technical.
He leads our development team and solves all problems related to the the web.
Leore is the project manager of the group. He works with everyone to make sure everything gets done correctly and on time.
He develops and creates all the back-end algorithms and ensures our project gets in the hands of the right users.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
Our secret sauce is two fold.
Our proprietary algorithms are able to quantify a user’s style and based on their style we are able to recommend them new and relevant products that they ultimately would wear and purchase.
Our recommendation engine is unlike anyone else’s and since we have so many items on our site you are not limited to one brand or one style.
On hangtrend you can get introduced to new products and find stuff that is your style and in your price range.
Secondly, we have created a trending and trend setter software that helps us determine new trends and what users set those trends.
This information is extremely valuable and retailers are willing to for this information.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has “HangTrend” achieved so far?
Our current growth has been completely organic and growing fast as our users are spreading the word to their friends. Some big milestones have been:
1. Partnering up with the big 4 affiliate networks
2. Bringing in our first dollars
3. Having users consistently come to the site and enjoy our product
7. Who are your competitors? And what is “HangTrend”’s competitive advantage over them?
Our biggest competitors are Polyvore.com, FantasyShopper.com, Svpply.com, and Thefancy.com
Our Competitive Advantage:
1 . Recommendation engine – Hangtrend works to improve the user experience by providing relevant recommendations to users. We have developed algorithms that allow us to quantify a user’s style, and we can use that data to determine which clothes a user is most likely to wear and purchase. Relevant items are key to users enjoying the site, so providing them with those items improves the user experience greatly.
2. Proprietary algorithms – as well as the recommendation engine, HangTrend has developed a number of other algorithms to innovate in our field. We are able to identify “Alpha-Consumers” or “TrendSetters” on our site, which we can then leverage with the brands we work with. These users are the ones that influence which styles are picked up by the general population and which ones flop. We are also able to perform analytic on brands and items, to see how they compare to it’s competitors.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
The biggest obstacle we’ve faced so far was getting major retailers to trust us with their product.
Many of these retailers have very specific brand images that they spend millions on every year to develop and maintain.
They target specific customer groups based on their image and don’t want to alienate customers by partnering with an unknown start-up.
This is a problem that we’ve been able to overcome with a lot of retailers, but not all.
For the large retailers that we’ve worked with to get on the site (Macy’s, Urban Outfitters and many others), we’ve reached out to their executive level managment to open up a dialogue about what we’re trying to do with HangTrend.
Often, just one or two phone conversations allows you to build enough trust for the retailers to let you offer their clothes on your site.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Data. Its all about the data. These days data is so valuable.
If you can get clean, organized, and updated data you can transform that data into a great product.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
Continuos hard work and a firm dedication to the project will take our group to the top.
We are smart, we are skilled, and we know when to ask for help.
11. If “HangTrend” succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
Right now we are focused on fashion but if our startup succeeds, we can move to other verticals such as groceries, electronics, etc.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build “HangTrend” based on?
This is an area that we see is in need of disruption.
We have personally and first hand experienced the pain of online shopping and are on a mission to reshape the way people shop online.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
We’ve learned tremendous things from users and how they specifically interact with our products.
What people say and what they do is completely different. Trust actions and behaviors not words.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Our biggest obstacle in 6 months is going to be continuously generating relevant content to our users.
Users will slowly be expecting better and better recommendations and we have to make sure that we keep up with their expectations.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
The benefit for the user is an expanded experience when shopping for clothes online.
It’s the ability for the user to have a social experience while shopping online.
HangTrend brings the advantages of internet and physical shopping together.
HangTrend allows users to search thousands of brands to find the exact clothes they are looking for.
They can add them to their virtual closet, where users can create outfits, explore friends’ closets, share items and give/receive feedback with their friends.
It’s the unification of the physical shopping experience with the convenience of digital space.
16. How did customers/users find out about you?
Our customers have found out about us through the traditional use of social media.
We currently have active Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Secondly, we have reached out to many fashion bloggers to try and spread the word.
Last, users have been spreading our site by word of Mouth.
17. Who are your current customers/users? Who are your target customers/users?
Our users are primarily fashion focused women between the ages of 19-36.
18. Where do new customers/users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
The majority of our users come from University Campuses.
We have targeted them because they are young, tech savy and many of them are interested in Fashion.
They also tend to be very socially active, and unafraid to communicate with their friends when they find new websites that they like.
We have been growing based on a modest marketing campaign at select university campuses, and through organic growth, as users invite their friends to the site.
19. What do your customers/users say about your product and/or service?
User’s have been positive about what we’re trying to do and where we’re headed.
Many users exclaim their surprise that this hasn’t been done before, and still others are excited to be able to interact with their friends while buying clothes.
We also get a lot of feedback and feature requests.
User want to have even more control of how they share and how they can interact with one another.
20. How are you going to scale?
We are using the facebook approach.
We are currently going from University to University making sure to get groups of friends on the site at the same time.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
We don’t really feel that we have anything missing.
When customers ask for something we usually try to build it if there huge demand.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Yes, fashion has no bounds! We are planning to internationalize by partnering with local retailers and online e-commerce companies that already have a foothold in the international marketplace.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
We can get huge. Think Pinterest but on a worldwide scale! We are planning to do this one day at a time by focusing on our core product and making our users happy. Users come first!
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
We are currently looking to hire new developers as we expand and move to our new offices in the coming months.
To apply for a job or get more information please email Leore at email@example.com
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
We are currently looking for strategic investors.
Investors can reach out to Leore at firstname.lastname@example.org
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Don’t wait around for your dreams to come to you.
If you have an idea and want to make your dreams come true then be proactive. Only you can make it happen.
Remember, 1 out of 175,000,000 people win the lottery. The 174,999,999 need to reach our dreams the old fashioned way. Work hard!