By Juliana McLeod
Photos: Sarah Tahami
On Oct. 22, Loredana Padurean, who attended school in Switzerland and Romania and has taught in Italy, Switzerland and India, took time away from her busy schedule to speak with Fashion & Retail Society members about her start-up. DressMe For, an outfit-styling app for iPhones, allows users to look through various collections created by the app’s stylists for the perfect, occasion-fitting outfit.
At the beginning of the event, Padurean approached the society’s secretary and said, “How do you shop, Emma?” Emma proceeded to explain that she’s a serial shopper, and goes out every weekend to look for new clothes.
Next, Padurean went up to the society’s president, asking the same question: “How do you shop, Jennifer?” Jennifer admitted she shops more than necessary, but tries only to buy clothes when she needs them (cue Padurean’s joke that the last time the app creator “needed” to shop was in fourth grade when she was forced to shop for her school uniform).
As members were giggling over Padurean’s joke, Jennifer continued her explanation, saying that she did not enjoy the shopping experience in stores like H&M, where there is too much going on. Padurean could not agree more, and told the group that this was the reason for her creation of the DressMe For app. “Macy’s-like stores” are too large and intimidating, she said, because the inventory is overwhelming.
“Women have this very complicated algorithm when it comes to the search,” Padurean said. So, she created her app in order to accommodate this algorithm. When women go to their closets and see a massive pile of clothes, but no potential outfit, they can go to the app. On DressMe For, a female user can select one of the following categories: Trending, Mood, Occasions, Weather, Closet or Favorite. From there, the user continues to select categories until a list of potential outfits pops up.
Let’s say you need to run errands on a rainy day. The weather is not inspiring you to go all-out in your outfit, but you want to dress nicely for the day. Simply use the “Weather” category to browse through a plethora of outfit possibilities that match your own wardrobe so you can get an idea of what to wear. But what if you come across a dress that’s on the app, but not in your closet? No worries — the app sells various brands for lower costs than in-store prices. DressMe For even aims to purchase outfits that stylists have put together so customers have more of a chance to buy the outfit.
The company gives any stylist the opportunity to show off his or her talents by compiling outfits for the app. If app users are fond of the stylist’s collections, the stylist can be “followed” by the user. Current stylists are from all over the world, including Hong Kong, Australia and India.
The overall goal of the app is “to give shoppers a curation experience,” Padurean said. This can be compared to the experience received with a personal shopper, minus the 60-90 minutes it takes to work with a personal shopper. Padurean also stressed the importance of keeping collections on the app for as long as possible in an effort to prevent her customers from suffering from inventory changes, as happens in larger stores.
If the app does not sound user-friendly enough, Padurean ended her presentation explaining that she does not force customers to complete surveys to determine their style because “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Essentially, if a customer is using a styling app, her style is probably not nailed down enough to take a survey on it. The app also does not require an email and password. Only when the user decides that she’s truly fond of the app may she create a sign-in.
Padurean’s last words to the group came out as clear advice: “For a start-up, the number one thing is to know what you want to do.”