A new app will help users buy products featured in ensembles put together by the industry’s favorite street-style stars, fashion editorials and personal style bloggers.
Described as “Pinterest meets ShopStyle” by director of business development Sarah Kunst, Kaleidoscope debuts today by way of a collaboration with Modelinia.com.
This story first appeared in the February 15, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The project was founded six months ago by Ryan Junee and Max Skibinsky through startup and parent company Inorpia, and they’ve already raised $1.25 million in seed funding from New Enterprise Associates, SV Angel (Ron Conway), 500 Startups (Dave McClure) and Venture Partners, to name a few. Junee has served as adviser to 500 Startups and StartMate, as product manager at YouTube and even cofounded Omnisio (now part of the Google machine). The two were keen on creating an e-commerce solution with a gaming and social aspect — which is just what Kaleidoscope is.
Users can take inspiration from images of fashion — whether from their favorite street-style blog or an editorial — and they can purchase the product. If a model or blogger is wearing a pair of white patent leather peep-toe wedges, if users click on them, they will see about 10 results from different stores, according to Kunst. “Sometimes it’s the exact look. It’s similar to the idea of the look for less that people do in fashion — but it’s not just about a cheaper thing,” Kunst explained. “It can be a more expensive or a similar version.”
The program has a built in tool that crawls sites such as Asos, The Outnet, Net-a-porter, Shopbop, bergdorfgoodman.com, neimanmarcus.com and macys.com twice per day (although these retailers are not partners) — and the technology updates the app if an item sells out during the course of the day.
In terms of monetization, the key plan is to partner with brands. According to Kunst, from a product end this means that said brand’s images and shopping results would get preferential treatment, as long as the product is relevant to the corresponding outfit. On the image end, every time a user opens the app, the first image displayed might be a photo from a brand’s look book — or a “more organic way” for a company to reach its target audience, said Kunst.
“Something like our app has such a broad range of content, [and] people are using it to check and see what new pictures are there. It doesn’t feel like an ad, it feels like inspiration and aspiration. You’re giving users fashion inspirations and a way to think about dressing and try a new outfit or something new. But brands will be able to do it in a way that inspires people to buy their clothes,” Kunst said.
The app is available for Android devices as of today, and iPhone and iPad versions are expected to be released in the near future.