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New site helps partygoers find perfect outfit

Tuesday December 10, 2013

New site helps partygoers find perfect outfit

With the silly season fast approaching, finding the perfect outfit for the office Christmas party is an unwanted chore for the “style challenged” among us. But a newly-launched website called aims to provide a solution.

The website crowdsources fashion ideas by getting users to create ‘LookBooks’ – entire ensembles, complete with accessories – that others can browse, like and share.

But the real advantage for those short of time is the ability to purchase entire outfits online from a range of Australasian retailers.

Company founder Olivia Willard, who is based at Massey University’s business incubator the ecentre, says the idea was borne out of frustration.

“I’m a busy person who likes fashion but gets frustrated when shopping for clothes,” she says. “It’s hard to find the time to visit multiple stores to find an entire outfit – you’re probably not going to get a bag and earrings from the same place as your shirt. In reality, you probably try on a few shirts and then race home.

“I thought there had to be an easier way of looking at a lot of outfits to get that style inspiration, something that was better than trawling through jumbled racks when you’re in a hurry.”

Ms Willard says caters to “a whole market of people out there who are style challenged or time poor and would love someone with a good eye to put entire outfits together for them”.

The site has also been designed to attract would-be stylists who want to show off their creativity.

“Little Black Frock is also for aspiring fashionistas who want to show their friends what’s on trend, ” Ms Willard says. “Creating LookBooks is really fun and creative. Your inner stylist comes out and you get instant feedback if people like your fashion ideas.”

Stylists can mix and match products from brands such as Sass & Bide, Kardashian Kollection, Karen Walker Jewellery and Lime Crime – with new retailers being added regularly. As items are dragged into a LookBook, the website gives a running tally of the outfit’s total cost.

The website launched at the beginning of November, just in time for the summer party season. Ms Willard left her full-time digital marketing job at talent directory in June and is now concentrating her efforts on making a success.

“It’s been a slightly scary but exciting learning curve. When I started working with the ecentre all I had was an idea. I really didn’t know how to validate my idea or build it into a business,” she says. “But I’ve received a lot of valuable advice that has really focused my original ideas into a simple, easy-to-use website.”

She has recruited an experienced design and development team of three to help her develop the website and with her own decade of experience as online marketer, including as an early employee at TradeMe, Ms Willard is confident that’s membership will grow quickly. Her ambitions for the site include launching into other regions and to broaden the site's product categories.

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