Looklist has officially entered a public beta. Now any-and-all fashion lovers can test out our fashion “inspiration engine” to discover and be inspired by the best fashion content on the Web. I wanted to take a minute to provide a little background about Looklist– why we built it, what it can do, and where it is going.
The idea, like all great startup ideas, arose out of frustration. I used to spend hours and hours scrolling on street style blogs in order to find images of garments, trends, or themes I had in my mind. I’ll admit I would go a little “scroll crazy,” but it was difficult to track down anything specific amidst the chaos of crowd-sourced fashion content.
Have you ever tried to find a large set of high-quality images showing men wearing blue jeans, black shirt, eyeglasses, and brown boots? Well, good luck trying.
Google Images yields a number of underwhelming and irrelevant results, and those big pinning and blogging platforms are still struggling to master search. Let’s say a popular fashionista posts a photo of a cool red shirt, and hashtags it with #awesome #want (which happens all the time) Now there is no way for anyone else to search for that red shirt. And don’t even get me started on attempting to find images with more than one item (for example, red shirt with black jeans).
After wasting way too much time on these fruitless searches, I realized the main reason for my scroll craziness – there is no layered search for fashion.
We have grown accustomed to amazing digital search experiences from Kayak, Amazon, eBay, Cars.com, Hotels.com, etc.. These sites are paradises of sliders, keyword bars, filter categories, and checkboxes that enable you to “layer” your search, meaning you can add search parameter on top of search parameter until you find your heart’s desire. Imagine trying to find a flight or buy a car without it.
I think every corner of the Internet needs detailed, deep search like this. One keyword rarely cuts it anymore because there is a ton of content on the Internet and most of it is a mess. And with the continued profusion of crowdsourcing and social media, it’s just getting messier. This lack is particularly pronounced with fashion, because it is a section of the Web where people put a huge emphasis on minute details.
And so I set out to try and fix this problem. My background is in digital advertising, so I love figuring out problems, building products, and working with designers and developers. I tracked down an awesome fashion-lovin’ gal to help manage the content curation process, reached out to an amazing designer to make the site as sexy as possible, and brought on one of the best full-stack developers I’d ever worked with to be our CTO.
We added images to the database like crazy and found some early users to play around with the tool. Looklist started to grow on its own, and I realized that the opportunity here was much bigger than fashion. This was a chance to reimagine search as I thought it should be – an experience where the results never stop, “similar” items are accurate, and it is easy to save and share everything you love.
Our vision also extends beyond search. Long-term, we will help brands target potential customers more effectively and create trend analysis reports. Being able to present someone who searches for “white boat shoes and yellow chinos” with relevant J. Crew products, or tell fashion CMOs that 24 year old girls in Brooklyn are furiously searching for striped shirts at the moment, is pretty valuable.
Finally, we plan to expand the technology behind Looklist into other verticals. We built the tool in a clean, simple, repurposable way that will allow us take on any messy-content problem out there. The second category is coming soon!
So please play around with the tool, join the Beta, and offer your feedback. Thanks!