WHAT TO WEAR: EPIC AS A FREEWAY TO STARTUP SUCCESS
EPIC at AUA interviewed Karine Martirosyan, founder at What To Wear, to learn more about the startup’s operations, upcoming milestones, and the road forward with their startup.
What To Wear is one of the EPIC 2021 Fall batch startups that successfully graduated from EPIC and continues to build its venture.
- Please tell us about your startup. What products/services do you provide? What is the primary value proposition?
“What To Wear” is an all-in-one, AI-powered personal styling mobile application (app) that helps stylish wannabes find, create, and get looks from top-notch online shops according to the user’s body shape and size.
Moreover, the app shows recommended clothes on a 3D model of the user before purchasing and ensures an end-to-end online shopping experience with decreased clothing waste, reduced returns, and more environmentally sustainable fashion.
In the market, there are various apps that offer wardrobe services, style recommendations, and virtual fitting rooms integrated into some specific online shops. However, you can’t find all these features in one app. So the uniqueness of W2W.ai is that it’s an all-in-one solution with some other additional features. Also, we use AI technology for our recommendations, 3D modeling, and customers’ picture analysis, which is not widely used in these kinds of services.
- What is the inspiration behind establishing the startup?
As a child, I watched TV shows in which stylists transformed the women’s style by picking the right matching clothes for their body type and size. Growing up and seeing a lot of people actually struggle to find appropriate clothes for their body shape and size and occasion, I became passionate about creating a stylist service available for everyone by making it automatic, free, and easy to use. As online shopping becomes more and more popular following the pandemic, the problem of finding matching clothes increases exponentially.
- Does WhatToWear.ai have the potential for global success?
The problem which we try to solve is highly relevant today. 42.4% of US shoppers returned unwanted clothes last year; for every $1 billion in sales, the average retailer incurs $106 million in merchandise returns. We believe that the right management and right team will lead us to success.
- At what stage is your startup now?
After months of hard work, determination, and dedication to the startup, our team has successfully developed the mobile app, which is currently available on iOS and Android devices.
The integrated AI can successfully detect users’ body shape and size to create their 3D model. We are currently working on importing the 3D model into the app and developing a recommendations system for male users.
In parallel, we’re intensively conducting customer interviews and working on developing an online community of early adopters and potential users.
We’ve got many exciting developments coming up, and we are planning to recruit marketing and app development interns to join us, to be part of our team of innovation enthusiasts and experience the culture of a fast-paced startup.
If anyone is interested, please email us your motivation letter and CV at [email protected] In the subject line, please mention “Internship Application.”
- How has EPIC helped you build your startup?
EPIC’s contribution was critical in our startup’s development. It basically helped us set a firm foundation with all necessary components. We had the chance to learn from local and international knowledgeable mentors with years of expertise. It was a great opportunity to not only get knowledge and guidance, but also make connections with them, which is one of the greatest assets for entrepreneurs. Additionally, we were able to participate in startup- and investment-related events organized by EPIC absolutely free of charge, which was another opportunity for learning and networking.
Last but not least, EPIC provides us office space for our startup team to gather and work, again free of charge. This is a huge benefit, as many startups don’t have enough financial resources to rent a venue.
- What are the top three tips you would give to startups that apply to the EPIC Incubation Program?
My first and most important tip would be to join the program only if they’re truly passionate about their idea and ready to commit and expend effort for success.
Secondly, they need to be open to receiving and giving feedback, as this will give them a different perspective on the situation and help them answer many questions.
I would highly encourage them to attend all the sessions and do their homework. As mentioned earlier, with EPIC, you set the foundation of your startup, and you have to make sure it’s a solid one.
Then, NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. It’s important to highlight the importance of making connections. This is surely a determinant for startup success.
Lastly, make use of all the benefits EPIC offers. These will help you a lot and get you a few steps ahead.