Overall, the conversation highlighted what a massive change we’re witnessing right now when it comes to not only how we shop, but also how we brand and market fashion. “The last 20 years has been about atom-based business models shifting towards bit-based business models,” said Power. As an example, he points to how Netflix devastated Blockbuster.
At the same time, digital marketplaces have made retail more competitive than ever. “Just selling products isn’t working anymore,” said Van Themsche. “You have to give context through storytelling to package your product.”
The night also involved pitches from three startups: John Coombs showcased Rover Lab’s iBeacon, an engagement platform looking to transform your in-store experience. Beacons placed throughout retail stores might one day interact with our smartphones in ways that are location-specific. Beacons placed on runway models could also push notifications to audience’s smartphones at fashion shows.
Of all the pitches that night, I was most enticed by Bryan Gold from #Paid (spoken as “hashtag paid”), an automated platform that connected brands with influencers on social media.
On #Paid, celebrities and popular social media users on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat can create accounts and set a fee for incorporating a company’s product into their online profiles. Brands can search influencers based on number of followers and demographic specifications. Keep your eyes on this startup.
During closing comments, Bacelar emphasised how Canada is becoming internationally recognised for its startup scene. “There’s something going on here that’s being felt globally,” she said. “So be smart about it. Don’t let Silicon Valley take your future.”