This app helps you build a stylish wardrobe around clothes you already own

Fadstir relies on your preferences, crowdsourcing
This app helps you build a stylish wardrobe around clothes you already own
Posted at 5:00 AM, Sep 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-27 05:00:50-04

Once upon a time, there were two guys who had just graduated from college and had no idea how to dress well for job interviews.

They searched the internet in vain for simple, straightforward advice on what to wear with the clothes they already had. But during that fruitless search they found an opportunity.

And that's when the app Fadstir came to be.

In their quest to build a business, they moved to Cincinnati and became part of The Brandery, a business accelerator in Over-the-Rhine, where they now work on their business.

Who are these guys?

Eman Igbinosa and Tenzin Chagzoetsang, both 28, who became friends while students at Stanford University.

After graduating in 2010, Chagzoetsang worked at NBC Universal as a page, much like the character Ken in "30 Rock." Then he worked in advertising at Sony Pictures, where he once played basketball with Adam Sandler, and worked on the campaign for "Ghostbusters."

Igbinosa worked for Google in product quality, or as he put it, "cleaning up the web from all that is evil." Later, he worked for YouTube and Android.

They started building Fadstir in 2015, the year they met the man who would become chief technology officer for Fadstir, Rob Resma, another Sanford alumnus. Igbinosa began working on Fadstir full time in summer 2015, and Chagzoetsang and Resma in the spring of this year.

How does Fadstir work?

It's an iPhone app that starts by asking you to agree or disagree with a few statements that reveal your clothing preferences, such as, "I'm willing to pay more for quality." Then it allows you to select an item of clothing you already have, such as a blue shirt, and offers you a selection of pants or other items to pair it with.

The options are crowdsourced from selections that other users have uploaded and rated. If you see something you fancy, the app enables you to click on it and buy it.

It's similar to another local clothing app, Cladwell. The difference, Chagzoetsang said, is that Cladwell is about creating a "capsule" wardrobe of less than 30 interchangeable pieces, but Fadstir is about finding complementary clothing for clothes you already have.

"We're trying to do something for people on the go," he said. "For the young professional who needs a quick answer … who uses their phone to automate things in their life."

Do they have any users?

Since the latest version became available in the Apple Store in July, about 5,000 people have downloaded the app, which is free.

How does Fadstir make money?

The business receives a percentage of each clothing sale made using the app. But the owners are also trying to create a revenue stream by licensing the software used to match clothes.

Chagzoetsang declined to say how much revenue they have made so far.

Do they have investors?

None aside from the $50,000 investment The Brandery makes in each business it admits into the program. Until Fadstir received that investment over the summer, the owners had bootstrapped everything out of their own pockets.

"We loved the Fadstir team for a number of reasons," said Brandery program manager Justin Rumao. "Not only are the guys all Stanford graduates, but they're taking their past experiences and passions in fashion, marketing, and machine learning and combining it to develop the most intelligent way to cross-sell online."

What's next?

They are working on several pilot programs with e-commerce stores, which can help them give users better recommendations. Also, they'll be paying attention to user feedback to fine-tune the app.

What's owning a business like?

It requires a lot of patience, Igbinosa said.

The owners have learned that things they expect to happen within a month often don't happen for four months, or even six.

"Adjusting to that, within the first year, was super important for us," he said.

They also didn't realize how much time they'd be spending together.

"I think this is more time than I've spent with anyone else in my life," Chagzoetsang said of Igbinosa.

They do get on one another's nerves, he said, but they've agreed to let the other know when that happens, and to talk about it.

"I can see that things could go bad quickly," Ibginosa said, "if you didn't have that strong friendship."