Gilt cofounder Alexis Maybank is touting her next shopping venture, Project September, as the “first immersive visual shopping experience.”
The app, a shopping platform that comes out today, allows users to purchase directly from an image. Maybank founded the company with Leah Park, former Gilt senior vice president of creative.
“We’re connecting creators with audiences,” Maybank said. “We’re laser-focused on solving that challenge. It’s somewhere your audience sees what they love and can buy it.”
Once someone signs up and creates an account with Project September, they can import photos from their phone or use prepublished images from their other social platforms. They can also post one photo at a time or create “spreads” that can contain up to seven images with a cover page and easily tag any product with a direct path to purchase.
Users can make money off of the sales they drive for brands. Affiliate fees range from 8-15 percent depending on category, and Project September will take a small cut of this amount. Upon opening the app, users are greeted with a feed containing recent images posted from whomever they follow.
Early users of the app include Nina Garcia, Frederic Fekkai, Christy Turlington, The Coveteur, Style Me Pretty and Michael O’Neal. Bloomingdale’s, Coach, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nasty Gal.
Maybank and Park came up with the idea for the app while still in their former roles, they said during an interview earlier this week. At Gilt, they saw an uptick in online traffic coming from social media platforms but couldn’t tie the two together.
“There’s not a way to essentially earn from that work,” Maybank said of existing channels such as Facebook. It’s an additional revenue stream, she said. And once the app is live and users start to join, the platform is seen as being “highly scalable.”
Maybank insisted that it’s not a replacement to existing social platforms. She wants influencers to keep creating content for their followers on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest and urges the industry to view Project September as complimentary.
She declined to say how much she’s raised thus far, but William Morris Endeavor, or WME Ventures, Venrock, Greylock Partners and Montage Ventures all participated in a seed round.