How London Startup poq Studio is Changing the Mobile Commerce Space

Mobile fashion apps are hot. And the options seem endless. Consumers can now do things like “window shop”, share photos of their favorite finds, and purchase and trade new clothing . But not every brand is able to afford a custom shopping app. Enter poq Studio, a startup located in London that makes this option possible for small and medium-sized retailers at an affordable cost.

Recently, the team launched a new app for Tatty Devine, a quirky British jewelry company, and so far it has been downloaded to mobile phones across the world more than 10,000 times.
The startup has been around for over a year and has launched several successful mobile fashion apps (across iPhone, iPad and Android platforms). The team’s background is in e-commerce and this past May, poq Studio won their first round of investment from UCL’s (University College London) Bright Ideas Award 2012.

Most of the startup’s customers are currently based in the UK and across Europe (about 80% of downloads come from there). Not surprisingly, the next most active markets to download are the US and Japan.

“With every app that we launch, we learn more about what it takes to be successful,” Michael says.

According to Michael, though fashion brands have traditionally been slow to adopt new technologies compared to other retail sectors, this is changing. And the mobile space is the perfect fit for the fashion industry.

“In terms of technology-adoption, many big brands are beginning to develop their mobile strategy, but there’s a lot of potential for smaller brands too. There are more and more, especially young designers, who develop their digital strategy first,” he points out. “By using a fashion-tailored platform, we can keep the price affordable for smaller brands but still create beautiful apps for them. This means, we give fashion retailers an easy and fast way into mobile commerce and the user experience of our apps is as good or better than very expensive ($20,000 – 100,000) custom-built apps from digital agencies.”

“Fashion shoppers will always be keen about buying the next ‘most stylish’ item. Through a mobile application, shoppers are first to get to know about new products and can purchase them whilst on-the-go, before they sell out. Mobile makes fast fashion even faster,”  he says.

He’s got that right. What fashion fan doesn’t want quick access to what’s now and what’s next?

Since we’re so excited about what Michael and the poq Studio team are working on

(and let’s face it, we love anything British), we’re partnering up!

Details coming soon about our first live Twitter chat.


New Partnership with

Recently I accepted an offer to become‘s editor. is a mobile app that helps shoppers find new boutiques in the Bay Area and stay updated on the freshest finds within each shop. My role is to choose my top personally coveted items and feature them on the blog, highlighting the rotating list of the team’s favorite boutiques. Images from each post will also be posted to’s new Pinterest board called “Editor’s Picks”.

As our partnership progresses, I’ll bring you information about local boutiques’ social media savvy and photos from events I attend (these will be on the FB page).

For now, check out my first post which features finds from two boutiques in The Mission, mira mira and HANGR 16.


Get in touch with the Pretty Innovative team at

if you want to collaborate in any way!

Skirt Alert Helps with Your Local Fashion Forecast

Checking the weather forecast on your iPhone can get pretty boring, but now you can check the local weather and fashion forecast all in one place. Skirt Alert is a GPS-enabled app that lets you see the current temperature, wind chill, and precipitation, and let you know if you want to consider wearing a skirt. The disclaimer? WikiBros, the Netherlands-based team who created the app, says they cannot be held responsible if your skirt gets wet in the rain. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, this app says every day is skirt day, so use wisely.

Fortunately for me, it’s a nice day in San Francisco, and my skirt will be just fine.

Tory Burch Ups the Ante on Digital Presence

Over the past eight years, the Tory Burch brand has grown into something of a fashion phenomenon. I can barely think of a day when I haven’t seen a girl in Tory ballet flats or toting a handbag with the famous Burch emblem prominently displayed on its side.

Most recently however, Burch has been focusing on more than fashion design and the debut of her Resort 2013 collection, but also on upping the ante of fans digital experience with her brand.

Very recently, Burch gave her blog a makeover and launched her first ever app for iPhone and iPad.

Why the digital updates? For starters, just think of how many brands now have e-commerce sites, blogs, and Facebook pages. Since these three things are pretty much fashion brand standards at this point, brands have to go above and beyond to stand out and stay relevant (besides just creating great fashion design).

Burch’s blog makeover launched this week along with a smattering of posts focused on the color blue. Tory Burch Facebook fans were asked to check out the new blog look and new navy pieces, of which over 1,125 people “liked” the post in the matter of hours. According to Burch’s creative director, the blog hasn’t had a face lift since 2009 and it’s now more “visually driven”.

Burch’s new app (available on iPad and iPhone) lets users get cool perks, like free shipping and invites to exclusive events. Obviously, app users also get another way to connect with Tory Burch’s world.

While nice, neither update really surprises me. It was due time for a Tory Burch app (yay!). And given the popularity of sites like Tumblr and Pinterest, photo apps like Instagram, and how long infographics (even the terrible ones) have stuck around, I’m not at all surprised about this blog’s visual turn.

However, one other major development is on the calendar. Later this month, shopping through the e-commerce site will be available to 30 international countries. I’ll be tuned in to see how cleverly the Burch brand interacts with these new markets, and ok, perhaps saving to buy a certain navy bag.

eBay Advertises Mobile Fashion App

Never having been one to use eBay as a go-to mobile spot for fashion buys, I do have to say that I liked seeing eBay’s ads at the Powell Street Bart station in downtown San Francisco over the weekend.

These ads are part of a campaign eBay is running called On Your Mind, with the slogan “When it’s on your mind, it’s on eBay.” The full campaign is a mix of TV, outdoor display, and social media ads. The outdoor ads started running on October 17 in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, an LA. Ads that are at street level incorporate QR codes.

One report predicts that eBay’s mobile sales will be more than $4 billion by the end of 2011. I wonder how much of this sales volume will be from fashion enthusiasts trying to score deals on clothing, shoes, and accessories.

Digitally Chic’s #DCApps Event Recap

Last Thursday, 6 of my close friends and I hosted another Digitally Chic meetup. This time we featured fashion and lifestyle apps from around the Bay Area whose creativity was shown through small group demos and one on one discussion.

Participating apps included:

Meet Gatsby (lifestyle)

Localmind (lifestyle)

Pose (fashion)

Poshmark (fashion)

ShopNear.Me (fashion)

Snapette (fashion)

StyleSays (fashion)

Boutiika (fashion)

The event was hosted at Roe Restaurant in SOMA.

Being silly with some of the DC co-founders after the event

Just one year after we met for drinks and realized we all had a love for fashion and tech in common, we’re 230+ members strong in our Facbeook group, but also have a public Facebook page (where all of the event photos are located) and Twitter account you can follow for more updates: @DigitallyChic.

And, we were very honored to have our Apps & Apps event featured in the San Francisco Chronicle!

What’s next? Our first birthday party! That’s right, we’re currently organizing our one year celebration, so stay tuned for details coming soon!

All of the DC co-founders celebrating Sharon's college graduation!

More event coverage:

From Natalie (Miss Social)

San Francisco Chronicle

From Ashley G (FashionablyA)

Apps coverage:



Digitally Chic:

Scavenger Hunt

ASOS Ramps Up Global Fashion Marketing

The other night I was spending some time browsing ASOS (one of my favorite online shopping destinations for the past three years) and noticed a few changes to the site, which led me to do some research on the brand. A lot of changes have taken place lately!

Three Website Updates

Three new sections of the site caught my eye, Marketplace, Outfits & Looks, and Blogs.


Under the Marketplace section of the site, users can now shop independent boutiques and labels. So far, brands from the UK, US, Ireland, New Zealand, Russia, and Sweden are participating. And, each boutique has a blog so visitors can see what’s new and learn about a brand’s view on fashion and lifestyle.

Outfits & Looks

Under the Outfits & Looks part of the site, users can assemble outfits (very Polyvore inspired) and can upload pictures of themselves (very style) to be judged. Very smart of ASOS to incorporate ideas from two major fashion websites to make its own site more social. But, it would be nice to only see images that clearly include at least one piece from the ASOS site for inspiration. Maybe this could be an idea for a contest?

Blog focusing on music

The other new section is Blogs, which is comprised of five blogs. Each one has a different subject, including one about styles seen during Fashion Week and one with a music related theme (guess someone else reads The Vogue Vibes?). Personally I don’t see the point of 5 separate blogs on the main section of the website, unless the brand is trying to ultimately be both a social shopping destination and editorial go-to place. After all, fashion magazines and eCommerce are merging these days.

iOS App

In addition to making the eCommerce site more social, ASOS has also been busy delving into the mobile space by recently launching a shopping app (available on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad).


During a recent press release, E-Commerce Director James Hart said, “Following year-on-year growth of over 800% in mobile revenue, I’m delighted to release our iPad and iPhone shopping apps.”

Key features of the app include full integration between it, the website, and the mobile site, a “Save for Later” option (something I wish the website offered for a longer period of time), and GPS, for helping with locations where customers can drop off returns.

Global Strategy: with a Focus on Men

ASOS is also working on a marketing campaign to reach for a larger global customer base.

Specifically, the brand hopes to target more male shoppers through a new campaign for which brand has released a few videos that introduce the Urban Tour. ASOS hopes to entice more men to shop on its website by incorporating dance and other forms of pop culture, which is where most men get their fashion inspiration from (not runways). Soon, viewers will be able to click of dancers from some of the campaign videos and purchase.

Here is the teaser video:

Oh, and a few more things- ASOS has a section of the site dedicated to the brand’s favorite Twitter users, its Facebook page is constantly updated (with contests!),  and has found a way to incorporate Instagram. All in all, I’m impressed with all of the digital changes ASOS is making these days. Other fashion brands can learn a LOT by seeing ASOS’ fashion marketing lately.

Anyone else knock-your-stilettos-off impressed?

International Intrigue

Edited by Taylor Davies

This weeks selections for Links a la Mode take us all around the globe and back again. From vintage shopping in Paris and Istanbul to picking the best from fashion weeks abroad, our community is buzzing with news and thoughts from overseas.

Of course we couldn’t leave out some more local stories entirely, so we’ve sprinkled in a selection of fall inspirations from som American bloggers; from menswear to DIY projects to some ethical debates in advertising and journalism.



If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE. The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode group will be published later today. ~Jennine


New Boots at Shopbop: Jill Sander, Sam Edelman, Jeffrey Campbell, KORS, Ash,Costume National, Hunter Boots, Sorels, Frye, Kelsi Dagger, Juicy Couture, Minnetonka, NDC, Coclico, Vera Wang, & Joie.

ShopNear.Me Merges the Worlds of Online and Offline Shopping

Whenever I go shopping for clothes in San Francisco I tend to just focus on the area around Union Square. Two reasons: I know what I want and where I want it there, and I’m usually short on time. But it’s nice to know that I can cut down on time even further by using ShopNear.Me.

The App’s Usability

ShopNear.Me a new iOS app that gives users information about sales and arrivals at stores they care about. Users can also set up alerts for their favorite stores, and browse the app by products so as not to miss out on a great piece by sticking to their usual stores. Without waiting until there’s time to visit new stores on a whim, users can browse products in their San Francisco neighborhood of interest for goodies they love. Though right now the app features mainly boutiques in Hayes and the Marina, the team is working to expand coverage into the Mission and SOMA.

And the best part, is that coming soon, users will be able to reserve items while on the go.

You won’t have to be torn between seeing an alert go by about beautiful shoes you don’t want to miss out on or attending a startup’s launch party. You can do both!

The Team

I recently had a nice chat with co-founder Yuan Zhang, whose role entails business development, marketing, PR, raising funding, and investor relationships. Phew! But she said it doesn’t feel like work.

According to Zhang, shopping is “a visual experience”, and this app fits that desire of consumers. There are apps out there that list store directories, or sites like Yelp, where users can write reviews of their shopping experiences, but no real visual way to find out what’s inside stores in the area quickly. (Talk about finding a perfect niche in need of some help).

Other team members include Programmer Ben Wong and Designer Loc Ngo (co-founders of Startuply), and Programmer Steve Zu (formerly of social gaming company Lolapps).

The Boutique Perspective

To get the boutique perspective, I took a quick trip to meet with Marissa Olson, Owner of Chloe Rose, a women’s clothing boutique on Union Street.

Olson, in no way new to fashion, or online marketing, said what first drew her to using the app for her store was that she was approached about it.

She finds that to keep her store running smoothly and market online, she does what every boutique owner should do- she has a checklist of promotional things she does. She updates Facebook and Twitter at least once a day if possible and ShopNear.Me when new items arrive in the store.

ShopNear.Me really offers a “store front” to boutiques. With the pretty pictures and thoughtful search options, I’m excited to watch this app take off.


The Story of Snapette, an iOS Fashion App

I can’t tell you the number of times when I’ve been out and about and seen an amazing shoe that I took a picture of to text to my mom or one of my girl friends. In the end, these pictures would either end up saved on my phone or eventually deleted. But now I am able to save all photos to one place, Snapette, where other fashion fans will be able to enjoy my finds and I am able to see theirs too.

Last Friday, I sat down with Sarah Paiji, a co-founder of Snapette, and she told me the story of how this cool new fashion app came to be.

The Story

Sarah Paiji, originally from a suburb of LA, found herself on the East Coast for the past 8 years, including time in school at Harvard and working for Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Co and Berkshire Partners. Most recently before Snapette, Paiji was studying at Harvard Business School. It was through an HBS alumni event where she met Jinhee Kim, an HBS alum more than two decades her senior, and more importantly, a woman with a very big idea.


According to Paiji, the two had a short meeting over coffee, after meeting at a Harvard alumni event. Soon after, Kim invited Paiji to spend her January 2011 term with the Kim family in London… to launch a company. Snapette.

With “no dominant social app yet” in fashion, and mobile being a space with such great growth potential, Paiji decided this was a chance too good to pass up.

After the two recruited a technical person to join their team (and for a month in London), the real work began.

Luckily, a tweet Paiji made about their new app was found by Dave McClure of 500 Startups, a startup incubator located in Mountain View, and soon McClure was inviting the Snapette team to relocate to California and work from the 500 Startups office space.

Just yesterday, 500 Startups hosted its second ever Demo Days, a place for its entrepreneurs to present their ideas to investors and press. The Snapette team presented, along with more than 20 other startups, as the culmination of their 3 month period in the 500 Startups accelerated program.

Think about it, within 8 months, Snapette went from an idea, to a company, and to a company that publications like Forbes and VentureBeat are now covering. That is pretty inspiring.

The App

Paiji describes the app as this: like Milo for fashion.

Source: The Fashionable Bambino

Snapette lets users upload an unlimited amount of content to the app (available on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) and browse other users’ finds as well. For now, users can see shoes and bags that others have uploaded from around the world, and content uploaded by nearby stores. Users are able to search by brand, store, description, or “New”, “Near”, and “Hot” ratings of products.

And of course, there is further social integration with sites like Facebook.

Right now the Snapette team is focusing its efforts on working with boutiques in New York, LA, San Francisco, and London, including San Francisco-based boutiques like Heidi Says and Gimme Shoes.

Why stop with shoes and bags? Well for now, the Snapette team decided to just start with those products because “women are passionate about them”, according to Paiji.

Within 6 months, Paiji hopes to see the team add more features to Snapette and figure out whether to decide to focus more on fashion or the social experience.

*Note: A big thank you to Hong Quan of 500 Startups for the introduction.

I’m Feeling Lucky

I treated myself to a new magazine this weekend, and if you couldn’t tell from the title of this post, I chose Lucky Magazine.

Not only was I (and still am) super excited about the piece on “90 Days of Outfits: Our genius styling guide to dressing for $5 a day!”, but was intrigued how technology was integrated throughout the magazine.

Here are my five favorites:

1. Behind-the-scenes video of select parts of the mag that draw you to the website by way of mobile-friendly bar codes, text message, or simply typing in on your browsers. Videos of Heidi Klum’s photo shoot, the last nine outfits of the 90 featured in the piece mentioned above, and how to get frizz-free hair with the products discussed on page 153 are some of the behind-the-scenes looks you can find. (Note: you must first download the free app at before scanning the codes).

2. Invitation to connect with Lucky’s “digital concierge” by way of iPhone app or Basically, by setting up an account on this site, you can save time shopping at work (whoops, on your lunch break). Browse items on the site by brand, price, color, and size and then choose the option to either find it online (like any other social shopping site ) or find it near you. After entering a few more details, the Lucky Concierge team will contact the store to see if the piece is available and put it on hold for you to pick up later in the day. Oh yeah, and you’ll hear back from the Lucky team within the hour during the business day by email or text confirming how to go about picking up your purchase.

3. Every page with items of clothing include a text-to-buy option, that lets you immediately purchase favorite items from the issue without having to hunt all over.

4. Blogger highlight #1: Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai of got a shout out for their clothing designs and blog, and between Feb. 7 and 11, guest blogged for about the Lucky blogger conference, FABB, and New York Fashion Week.

5. Blogger highlight #2: A showcase of seven inspirational style bloggers and their spring trend obsessions, including the women behind,,,,,,

Great read this weekend, but the tricky part will be to stick to my budget since I’d really like to now own the wedges in the Top-Sider ad… the trench on page 91… the the woven belt on page 100, the purple dress on page 134… the dress on page 136… the Fendi on pae 138… the floral dress on page 195… the pleated skirt on page 199… the leather dress on page 202…