Former Google employee Abigail Holtz is looking to help shoppers discover the right apparel with her new startup Affinity, which offers a “Pandora for fashion” type functionality.
Holtz told Forbes that the online service uses a mixture of recommendation technology and human input to provide fashion suggestions for shoppers based on factors like style, fit, body shape and occasion.
“When we started building Affinity, the key focus was personalization. I was interested in personalization specifically because it had come up on every project I’ve worked on during my nearly 10 years at the intersection of fashion and tech (at startups and at Google), yet was still not solved well,” Holtz explained.
“Personalization is so important in retail because if you don’t get the right items in front of the right people, they won’t buy anything. So it’s a problem that all merchants face.”
The site breaks down clothing into straightforward categories and offers a user interface that allows shoppers to like or dislike the options presented to them. Using an affiliate business model, Affinity receives a cut of purchases shoppers make when they click through directly to a retailer’s site.
“I’m a big believer that a product needs both sizzle and steak. Our recommendations, or ‘picks,’ are the sizzle — what gets users excited and keeps them coming back. Picks are topical/seasonal, trend-related (basically what you should be shopping right now), and fun to look at and rate,” she said.
“The rest of the site — the personalized shops and soon-to-launch features like personalized browsing by category/occasion/trend — are the steak. They offer shoppers utility and convenience by making it easy to shop hundreds of retailers at once and find whatever they need or want, without having to go through site after site digging through page after page of items they would never even consider buying.”