Back in the early 2000s, I remember tearing through the pages of Teen Vogue to check out the latest in celebrity fashion. While I knew how to get my hands on those Juicy Couture tracksuits, not everything was that easy. That dress that Marissa wore to prom on The O.C.? I needed that. But where could I find it? Could I even afford it?
Back then, we were accustomed to four fashion seasons per year, all of which required six months of lead time and offered little flexibility. Zara, of course, changed all of this by using data to accurately predict trends and by developing a highly responsive supply chain with frequent turnover of product in a short period of time, thus creating the all-important “now or never” moment for the consumer.
But now, thanks to the constant inspiration from celebrities and influencers, we’re in a world where Millennials and Gen Z’ers know exactly what they want. They don’t need a Forever 21 or a Zara to predict trends weeks out and to manufacture clothes that may just sit on the rack untouched until the promotional sales cycle hits. In many other aspects of their lives (food, transportation, content), they have come to expect personalized experiences on-demand – fashion should be no different.
In the age of Instagram, celebrities and influencers shape our fashion preferences more than ever, yet our ability as consumers to actually purchase the desired clothes hasn’t changed. Either we don’t know who made them, or if we do, we can’t afford them. Social media makes us aware of these trends, but doesn’t make these trends accessible. Millions of people like and comment on photos of celebrities and influencers every day, but the countless “Love that jacket!” comments or the “Where can I get that dress?” questions remain unanswered. Choosy changes that.
When we first met Jessie, Sharon and Mo, the co-founders of Choosy, we were blown away by their vision for the future of ecommerce and fashion. They described a world in which a Kim Kardashian admirer could comment on her latest outfit and receive a message that same day with a link to that outfit for $50. Even better, she could have it in her closet within a week.
Choosy’s combination of machine learning and natural language processing technology to determine demand for trends coupled with an unrivaled supply chain enables personalized and on-demand real-time fashion for all. Rather than relying on trend research to mass produce clothing that may or may not resonate with consumers, Choosy enables consumers to direct the production of clothes themselves how they want when they want, with little to no waste.
While it’s rare to meet a company with this type of vision and the technology to back it up, it’s even rarer to meet the perfect team to execute that vision. Jessie, Sharon and Mo met on the trading floor at Citigroup after college and uniquely complement each other’s skillsets. Jessie is the operational and manufacturing genius who has a real eye for fashion, Sharon is the brilliant engineer who utilizes the latest machine learning research from her Harvard PhD program to build robust algorithmic systems, and Mo is the financial and growth guru who is using his trading skills to master customer acquisition. This team moves at breakneck speed, always anticipating potential challenges and acting quickly to address them.
At NEA, we strive to invest in big ideas. We have reached a turning point in ecommerce where consumers’ desires and needs are not properly being fulfilled by retailers and brands who are essentially guessing what consumers want. We are excited to be a part of a journey with a team that makes your wish their command.