Tag: technology

More Subway & Less Runway, Getting Wearable Tech In Front of Buyers

I love Hussein Chalayan. To me he is the originator of wearable technology. While his pieces are more runway and less subway, I believe that he crosses the barriers between the tech imaginary and fashion- simply amazing. The new wave of fashion tech designers are looking to go beyond the runway and start to make products that can be added to the closet and worn regularly.

Fashion Tech











Technology and fashion can mean many things, not just adding lights to a jacket. Designers these days are looking to create new materials, fibers and design products that are symbiotic with your lifestyle- aesthetics first. While designers have been playing with new wearable tech products for a few years it has yet to be taken seriously by the mass market. Maybe because wearable tech sounds funny?

Aside from renaming the industry (a personal thought), there needs to be a platform to sell these products. Do they fit in the advanced contemporary market? Is it aspirational luxury? How does one classify? Tech News reported back in April that TopShop was sponsoring a contest with Imarks to support brands in gaining visibility from buyers. TopShop was also providing free business education and mentoring. Its important to see relevant players in the retail space get behind fostering new talent especially in wearable tech since the field is very young.

Fashion tech

Just a couple weeks ago, Mashable reported on the new press on nails by Oyster that allow you to hop on your subway ride with your nails! Talk about simplicity.

For designers who are interested in innovating into wearable tech I suggest signing up for the Third Wave Fashion blog. They are one of the first accelerator programs specifying in fashion technology. If you happen to live in Paris, I suggest checking out the accelerator program sponsored by Galeries Lafayette: Lafayette Plug & Play. It is a dual program between Paris and Silicon Valley. You will get the opportunity to be mentored by VP’s at Birchbox, Galeries Lafayette and Farfetch, and have the opportunity to work with VC’s in shaping your business. You can apply here.

As the former Director of startup, AHAlife, I know how amazing and energizing it can be to work in the tech space. It can also be demanding. There are unchartered waters you are entering and unlike traditional business models you are mastering the synergy between U/X, utility and product. There is more on the line when you work with investors, so I suggest taking your product ideas to platforms like Indiegogo (check out this cool campaign by Zenta) where you can crowdfund the resources to play with new ideas. I remember backing a project that ultimately never came to market (FIN), and I wonder how many other projects on this list will never ship (Digital Trends). But that is part of the fun of it. We are in an age of exploring. What you make today might be irrelevant next year. We all know that we need to wear pants, so I guess if we wanted to play it safe we would go into that market. But that’s just not the beauty of life. We were all meant to make something happen, and if fashion tech speaks to you “Bon Chance”.

I am a retail strategist and consultant for startup and growth stage fashion brands and retailers. Working through a business model? Email hello@scalingretail.com

Startup Cheat Codes: 7 awesome cloud-based tools that destroy unnecessary business expenses, wasted time and frustration.


Post by Ryan Gilbert:

Startup Cheat Codes: 7 awesome cloud-based tools that destroy unnecessary business expenses, wasted time and frustration.

Juggling 1-8 different roles as a small business owner can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. 

Web apps have become powerful business tools over the past few years, sight unseen, right under the noses of entrepreneurs.

While building my own business, I discovered these online resources that saved me thousands in outsourcing fees and working hours. They’re all accessible by internet, intuitive and best of all, free (with 1 exception).

Website creation


Strikingly makes it really hard to come up with a good excuse for not having a professional website. They feature free, amazing templates that you can quickly personalize using their intuitive interface.


Time efficiency: high
Time cost: 1 hour to create a professional website, portfolio or product page
$ Savings: $100-$1,000 depending on your previous website design plans

Drawbacks: You have to upgrade to premium to use your custom domain.You’re limited to 1 site from the start.

Graphic Design


Canva is a Godsend if you don’t know Photoshop. Anyone can use this cloud-based graphic design tool to make near-professional designs. You get access to Canva’s free library of icons, designs and drawings; higher-quality photos start at just $1.


Time efficiency: medium
Time cost: 30 minutes-2 hours to create a design, depending on you experience in the field
$ Savings: $100-200, compared to hiring a graphic designer
$50/month compared to Adobe Creative Cloud with Photoshop

Drawbacks: If you’re using Canva, you’re probably no Picasso. You can make good graphic designs on here, but it takes some time. Still, it’s considerably less time than learning photoshop or explaining the project to a consultant that lives across the world.

Management Dashboard / CRM / Sales


Insightly is the best free control center for any business in regard to sales, leads and administration.  Look no further for a CRM solution.

A free membership on Insightly.com offers:

  • To-do lists, contacts storage
  • Lead and project tabs for team-based tasks
  • Email alerts and reports
  • Syncing with Google Apps & Email


Time efficiency: medium/high
Time cost: 1-2 hours to set-up
$ Savings: $65/month, compared to Salesforce Professional package (similar to Free features on Insightly)

Drawbacks: Lacks some of the neat, Premium Salesforce features

Management, outsourcing


“One of the top 10 reasons for entrepreneurial failure is not delegating the “intelligent grunt work.”
-David Newman

Fiverr lets you do just that: outsource your work- for cheap. Freelancers on the website offer specific jobs and name their price. Work is sold by the ‘gig,’ which always costs $5.

The amount of work for $5 will buy you varies with each freelancer, but here are a few examples of things that cost $5:

  • Logos
  • Infographics
  • Site traffic, marketing, SEO optimization
  • User feedback, testimonials

You can also request a specific job to be done and multiple freelancers will come to your aid. The website’s review and workflow system makes it easy to stay productive and find the best bang for your buck.


Time efficiency: High
Initial time investment: 1-2 hours to register, find the right Freelancer, and provide directions for their work
$ Savings: Pennies on the dollar compared to similar freelance jobs on other sites; no fees for the buyers

Drawbacks: High demand drives up wait queues for work anywhere from 1-14 days.

Marketing, A/B Testing, Landing Pages


UnBounce is a free marketing tool used to create landing pages, sales pages and test marketing strategies. You still have to plan your marketing strategy well and ensure your landing page generates conversions. That being considered, it’s an incredibly cheap and effective way to analyze useful data.


Time efficiency: medium/low, depending on experience in marketing
Time cost: 2-3 hours to set up an account and landing page
$ Savings: $500, compared to hiring a website designer or marketing specialist

Drawbacks: Larger learning curve, unless you’re already experienced in online marketing

Accounting, Finance and Budgets


Wave Accounting can give you the productivity of a CFO with the requisite knowledge of Accounting 101. Wave can track all business expenses via linked bank accounts. Premium starts at $9/month, based around increased customer support.

These features come standard in the free version:

  • Financial snapshots and graphs of your business
  • Invoices, receipts, bills, accounting
  • Multiple users, auto-generated accounting reports


Time efficiency: Very high
Time cost: 1-2 hours to set up financial accounts and adjust balances or transaction categories (which you’ll likely need to do)
$ Savings: Compared to QuickBooks, $50-200

Drawbacks: I can’t think of any significant cons! Please let me know if you’ve spotted any.

Automation, Administration


IFTTT is an automated web system that runs on simple recipes which make it execute tasks throughout the internet.

It can perform administrative work but can also save you a significant amount of time.


Time efficiency: high
Time cost: 1 hour to set up a few good recipes that will save you tons of time in the long run
$ Savings: $0- unless you decide to fire your administrative assistant

Drawbacks: Can be distracting and superfluous for many tasks.
You might find yourself automating systems you don’t use all that much because it’s just so much fun.

“You don’t need to have a 100-person company to develop that idea.

– Larry Page, Google

And you don’t need a team of full-time employees to pursue your business, product or blog. Free resources can be leveraged to offset smaller profits margins from small operations or increased competition. It’s not about learning the algorithms or advanced techniques behind these tools. When you’re starting out, it’s about utilizing what you can to move forward as quickly as possible.

Ryan B. Gilbert

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Custom Blazers: Maddy Maxey

Interesting interview with Maddy Maxy from Open Forum. Its exciting to see  a woman learning code and enter into fashion tech on her own.

TAKEAWAY: Getting scrappy is important, if even to learn the elements you may need to eventually hire out for.

“Maddy Maxey is determined to be perpetually caffeinated. It’s a strategy integral to her success. “I think it’s important to have coffee with as many interesting people as you can. As your network grows, it gets easier to receive input on your business ideas,” she says. “I have three coffee meetings today, which is great because I happen to love coffee.”

Maxey is an idea-generating machine. Interested in fashion, she began taking sewing classes at 8 years old and landed a summer internship with Tommy Hilfiger at age 16. Maxey graduated from a San Diego high school in spring 2011 and went straight to Parsons The New School for Design in New York City on scholarship, determined to be a fashion designer.

It wasn’t too long, though, before school started to bore her. She quit after one semester and, in spring 2012, launched Madison Maxey, a custom-made line of women’s blazers. Also interested in computer programming, Maxey taught herself to code and came up with the idea for a software company that would help speed up the garment-making process, by turning a photo of a customer into a pattern that would fit that customer perfectly.

Now all she needed was money. She was granted a Thiel Fellowship, where she received $100,000 toward her business goal and agreed not to go back to college for two years. Today, at 20 years old, she is working hard to make her dreams of fashion innovation a reality.


How did you develop an interest in fashion?

My dad was 6’6”, and he had to sew a lot of his own clothes while I was growing up. I found that interesting, so I decided to take sewing classes when I was young and it just went from there.

When I was in high school, I made a commitment to sew one garment per week, just to learn. I made costumes for school plays, and a few times girls hired me to make their prom dresses.

Why did you decide to quit Parsons after one semester?

I enjoyed school, but realized that the experience I had in high school and during internships was the same thing others were going to college for. They were learning things I’d already spent hours reading up on at night when I was younger.

How did you decide to start Madison Maxey?

I went to a private school, so we had to wear blazers. None of them fit me the way I’d hope they would, so I thought about making them better. Madison Maxey dissolved in January 2013.

Why isn’t the company still around?

Production was pretty tricky. Making custom pieces in the U.S. is really expensive. I didn’t want to outsource, so I went to Chinatown in New York City and asked around to see if there was anyone who made clothing. No one would talk to me. It was a struggle.

The price point was just too much. And I wasn’t selling to my peers. The blazers were meant for older women and it was hard to break into that market. Plus, I had a co-founder who was still in school and our priorities drifted apart.

How did you become interested in the Thiel Fellowship?

By mid-2012, I’d become interested in technology and how it could change the face of fashion. My sister told me about the fellowship and I immediately wanted to be part of it. During the application process, I pitched a concept called Meld, which is an enterprise software system that would optimize garment manufacturing. Basically, someone would be able to take a photo of a customer and translate that photo into the perfect pattern for the customer’s body.

I was granted the fellowship on May 9 and love it so far. Fellows are not allowed to have outside jobs, which is great because it allows us the freedom and time to work on our projects.

How is your fellowship project going?

Well, I can’t really talk about the specifics, but basically I’m working on getting the technology made for this product. I’ve found another company that is working on similar things. They have the tech know-how and I have the fashion know-how, so we are talking about working together on this project.

In the meantime, I am trying to be a better computer programmer, so I’m planning to launch a new project called Crafted in mid-August, right before fashion week in New York. Crafted will be a digital content site for upcoming designers and factories. It will provide information about starting a fashion business. I’m hiring writers and designers now. It is really exciting.

Taking off time from college can be seen as a big risk. Do you recommend other young entrepreneurs do the same?

I think it really depends on your track record, the way you learn and your motivation to do things on your own. I believe that if you’re ambitious, hardworking and snappy, you will be successful no matter what. You might fail, but you will learn so much in the process. Life is about experience and sometimes it makes sense to give yourself four years of time—instead of debt—to work on whatever you want to do if you are destined to be successful anyway. ”