The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns of 2020 turbocharged online shopping, with consumers, unable to visit shuttered stores, ordering everything from furniture to fitness gear from the comfort of their own homes. But as everyone who has ever purchased an outfit online knows, finding the right fit can be a struggle. According to analysis by McKinsey, 70%1 of returns in the apparel industry are caused by poor fit, putting pressure on retailers, customers, and the environment.
German start-up BEAWEAR, the brainchild of Verena Ziegler and Dr. Frauke Link, has set out to fix this growing problem. The B2B fashion tech company uses AI-driven technology to create a “digital twin” of your body making it easier to try on clothes virtually. Their aim is to enable users to visualize garments on their avatar and use that to select the correct fit, thus reducing clothing returns and over-production. This not only saves the fashion industry money but is good for the environment too as it reduces wastage.
Navigating the realm of possibilities and beyond
Our start-up team had different motivations for wanting to work with BEAWEAR. Some of us were driven by our experience in the fashion industry; others were motivated by the concept of circularity. What brought us all together was our passion to come up with creative, innovative, and versatile solutions.
Under the guidance of Professor Arnaud Chevalier, we explored the various areas where we could assist BEAWEAR. These included finances, marketing, sales, and business strategies. We agreed to assist with a marketing strategy and toolkit as this would provide immediate and future benefits to BEAWEAR. Our main aim was where to position BEAWEAR and how to present them to maximize the traction with both retailers and the eventual end-users, online shoppers.
Our takeaways from the project so far:
As we explored the different business opportunities and markets that BEAWEAR could enter with their AI technology, were reminded by our coach not to stick to the basics. To come up with innovative and creatives ideas for how BEAWEAR could grow, we had to escape the boundaries of what we perceived as possible. We quite literally escaped reality and explored how BEAWEAR would fit into the future of virtual reality.
Agility and tenacity are keywords that highlight our experience. We learned first-hand from our founders that the path of a startup is never clear cut and requires a spirit of perseverance to navigate. We brainstormed different routes to different markets and allowed these routes to scatter in different directions in our minds. Eventually, we stitched the dots together into a clearer marketing plan for the road ahead.
Ultimately, we learned the importance of striking the right balance. BEAWEAR has so many potential avenues to explore with its amazing AI technology, but the words of Helen Keller ring ever true – “I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something.” There was great importance in understanding what we and BEAWEAR could do and then deciding what was best to do given the resources.
Randy Komisar, in his book, The Monk and the Riddle, proposes the concept of “The Deferred Life Plan” plan. It is this notion of doing what you have to do so that one day you can do what you want to do. Working with BEAWEAR and being a part of their efforts to reshape the world we live in has shown us a glimpse of the “The Whole Life Plan”.
Aanchal Khurana, Craig Plaatjes & Amogh Sharma