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Brief Published: 25 May 2017

Decoded Fashion, London 2017: Start-Ups to Watch


A hotbed of innovation merging fashion, retail and technology, Decoded Fashion’s London Summit welcomed a vast number of start-ups, all stating their cause. We spotlight our top four. 

  • BrandHeroes: Making Micro-Influencers Work – Local Heroes Drive Engagement: Channelling the growing smarts of using micro-influencers instead of social media superstars (see Marketing with Micro-Influencers and Tiered Luxe & Micro-Influencers in Re-Engineering Exclusivity), Danish agency BrandHeroes specialises in matching brands with small-scale, local influencers.

    Pulling data from Instagram, BrandHeroes acts as mediator – identifying influencers that match brand-desired criteria on age, audience and locality to become brand ambassadors. Relevance is measured in terms of local followers, average engagement, credibility (BrandHeroes’ staff act as the arbiters of taste) and quality of follower relationships (the extent to which they interact with individual posts).

    Ambassadors create content matching set brand guidelines; brands monitor activities via a bespoke dashboard. Influencer-generated content can also be exported by the brand and used on any of their marketing channels. Influencers aren’t paid – instead, they’re rewarded with products and the promise of an elevated profile.

    The agency is currently working with 14,000 influencers in 140 cities and brands including Red Bull, Danish fashion retailer Bestseller and car manufacturer Mini
  • To The Tens: Shoppable Social Community: Akin to our previously highlighted social commerce apps Villoid and Project September, LA-based social commerce app To The Tens enables fashion aficionados to take photos of, share and shop fashion looks – receiving a commission in the form of points for any products they hyperlink.

    Like Instagram, users follow other users (including brands and influencers) and have a personalised feed. They shop straight from pictures by simply tapping an item, and check out in-app. To make their images shoppable and receive their commission – which can either be cashed as real money or put towards a purchase like a credit note – users add hyperlinks to products within their images by connecting to the relevant brand’s inventory (assuming that brand is affiliated with the app). Retaining key levels of control, brands can also review, accept and verify posts – linked items only appear below users’ posts after a successful review. Brands themselves can also upload hyperlinked ad campaigns.

    Equipped with a dashboard, brands monitor what content users are generating, resulting in a library filled with marketing-ready imagery. The app is free to all; To The Tens takes 16% commission on all sales. See also Monetising Social Media, 2016.
  • BuyAPowa: Word-Of-Mouth 2.0: British referral platform BuyAPowa is a ‘plug & play’ solution that retailers can use to reward customers who refer them to others by sharing unique links. The solution embeds seamlessly into existing retail systems, with brands choosing from discounts (as offered by beauty e-tailer FeelUnique) or ‘added value’ concepts such as goodie bags or access to events (as preferred by beauty boutique SpaceNK).

    Like predictive text for social media, BuyAPowa’s solution automatically recognises whatever device or social platform and adjusts accordingly. Once the system establishes that the link has gone to a new customer, recipients are redirected to a BuyAPowa-powered branded referral area within the brand’s website.

    Brands are equipped with a dashboard to monitor and identify key advocates and analyse referral motivation – delivering insights into the types of rewards corresponding with the greatest number of referrals. According to BuyAPowa, the conversion rate of a referred friend is 7.7% higher than the average online conversion rate of 0.5%. 
  • Pictofit: Mobile Virtual Fitting Room: Austrian augmented reality start-up Pictofit’s smart fitting-room app enables customers to virtually trial clothes via their mobiles. It transforms imagery within the app’s ecosystem (look books, advertising images and web-shop imagery from partner retailers, such as Zara) into overlays that can be tried on a bespoke avatar of the user by swiping right. Users upload a picture of themselves or choose from similar-looking avatars. See also Gap x Google Tango Dressing Room and A/W 17/18 Catwalk Comms