CE member company StyleShuffler.com will launch its fashion mobile app this Friday, May 4 at The Gap, 341 State Street, during a public event from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
Founded by Madison entrepreneurs Aaron Larner and Pitt Fagan, StyleShuffler has the potential to change the way consumers shop and the way retailers and manufacturers make decisions.
â€œMy co-worker and I were inspired by Pandora, which uses algorithms to make music recommendations based on an original selection. We wondered if the concept could have business applications beyond music and the idea for StyleShuffler was born,â€ said Larner.
Shoppers use the scan function on their mobile phone to scan the tag on their favorite item at a clothing store and StyleShuffler automatically recommends complementary in-store pieces that pare well with the item. StyleShuffler uses proprietary technology to categorize each product it recommends with 10 to 30 attributes and the consumer builds a profile over time.
The experience enables consumers to purchase outfits they feel good about and provides retailers with first-hand data about what their customers want.
â€œWith enough data we’ll be able to predict style trends before anyone knows about them. We’ll be able to help shoppers find what they want, even if they have no idea what they are looking for,â€ Larner said in a recent interview.
His goals include building StyleShuffler into a 30-person company by 2016, based on implementing the app in 295 retail stores over the next four years.
In process that is not unfamiliar to entrepreneurs, Larner and his team refined their strategy several times before arriving at the current version of StyleShuffler â€œThe original idea was called â€˜Brainsyâ€™ and included art and home dÃ©cor as well as fashion,â€ said Larner. â€œWe found it too broad to be effective and with the help of advisors and mentors we met through Capital Entrepreneurs, 94Labs, Merlin Mentors and Wisconsinâ€™s start-up community, we identified a void in the fashion industry and refined our strategy to focus on clothing.â€
StyleShuffler tied for the top spot at the Elevator Pitch Olympics held at the 2011 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium and was part of the 94labs incubator program last summer. The company is currently a finalist in the Wisconsin Governorâ€™s Business Plan Contest.