Alexandra Van Houtte was a fashion assistant in Paris. She would sit in the back offices of magazines like Grazia, Glamour or international editions of Vogue for countless hours researching and cataloging looks for fashion shoots. The process, performed by fashion assistants around the globe, was monotonous and tedious.
“For a multibillion-dollar industry that is all about being on the cutting edge, the whole system was totally hopeless,” Van Houtte told PYMNTS.
She figured there had to be a better way. As with any great startup, out of pain comes a great idea. The idea was Tagwalk, which is being dubbed the words first fashion search engine. By using more than 2,800 keywords, users can search by brand, season, city, trend, color, fabric or style through 128,000 pictures.
Van Houtte told the New York Times, “Even if you are the best buyer or trend searcher in town, no one can have an immediate recall on that much content. Now, if you remember that Prada used neon last season and want to see who else did for a mood board, you can do it fast and with just a few clicks of your mouse.”
The business model does not depend on subscriptions or advertising. It generates revenue from its highly influential 25,000 person user base, who use the site on average three times week. There’s a consulting arm for brands on digital and social media growth, and a shopping component that generates revenue via affiliate links. Another feature is the monthly rate a smaller design houses can pay to be shown alongside a bigger house, gaining the eyes of busy stylists and editors. Smaller labels would pay about 150 euros ($175) while established houses pay 450 euros ($520).
The big feature is mining and selling data. Though the user base is small, its influence is large, so their site viewing habits make for some valuable data for those who need to understand them. For example, brands want to know who the top searches were for Fall 2018 and Tagwalk can provide that data.
“We can immediately see, and tell a brand, which looks are the most searched for, by whom and in which countries, as well as how a brand’s collection has fared compared to other brands overall. We think it’s a simple idea but with revolutionary potential.”