Without a grown-up version of Garanimals, the children’s clothing brand with hang tags that give directions for mixing and matching the pieces, some adults are lost. Michelle Bacharach was one of those style-challenged people, which made clothes shopping frustrating. Findmine is her solution, technology to take the friction out of outfit-building.
“About 5 percent of the population has that ‘eye’ to see a beautiful dress and know how to style it,” said Bacharach, whose Findmine technology allows consumers to “complete the look” around every product in a retailer’s inventory, both e-commerce and in store.
The hybrid technology, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning, bridges the gap between the art and science of retail, Bacharach said.
“Retailers don’t give consumers ‘how to wear it’ guidance,” she said. “Our system takes a retailer’s aesthetics and builds it out. Their vision is represented faithfully.”
According to Bacharach, Findmine has increased conversion rates and average order values by up to 100 percent for clients such as John Varvatos and Rica, a boutique in La Jolla, Calif.
Findmine maps a retailer’s catalog of products and inventory. Consumers can manually create their own outfits or approve looks assembled by the algorithm. “We see the consumer’s top-performing outfits,” Bacharach said. “Google shopping indexes their products.”
Retailers license Findmine’s technology. “We’re a plug-in to retailers’ e-commerce platforms,” Bacharach said.
In addition to apparel, Findmine can suggest furniture that goes well together and matching decor, compatible electronics and even ingredients for recipes.
Findmine in 2015 won a slot in the first class of XRC Labs, an accelerator established in partnership with The New School Parson’s School of Design and global management consulting firm Kurt Salmon.
Bacharach got the idea for Findmine six years ago when she was attending New York University’s Stern School of Business. “I had a B-school friend whose husband is a computer scientist,” she said. “He tipped me off to AI and machine learning. We were working on the technology for two-plus years. Initially, I thought it would be a consumer-facing tool, but we were asking the shopper to change her behavior. We switched to a B2B in September 2015.”
Bacharach still wants to develop consumer-facing technology, but there are other retail problems she wants to work on first. “There are apps that depend on the retailer for RFID,” she said. “Instead of a QR code for tagging, you can weave coding into the fabric itself. You can scan the garment connected to a device or fabric with an electrical impulse.”