Pranav Dharma, a former IBM engineer, self-described “fashionable” geek, and founder of new women’s apparel startup Modington, thinks that today’s online e-commerce sites don’t reflect how women really shop for clothes and accessories. So he decided to create one. Enter, Modington.
“I was inspired by observing how my wife shops,” says Dharma, “she would get a dress, then started hunting for accessories. I thought there’s room for improvement there [with online shopping], because the current websites don’t seem to capture this natural manner in which women tend to shop,” he explains.
At first glance, it may seem like Modington is a competitor with Polyvore, the popular virtual styling and fashion community which lets users mix and match to create personalized outfits online. But Dharma says that he doesn’t really think of that service as a competitor. “Polyvore is the granddaddy of the user-sourced outfit creation approach. However, Polyvore is an affiliate-driven site. I wanted to go for an end destination, e-commerce site,” he says.
Dharma saw the potential for Modington based on how women were sharing outfits from Polyvore on Pinterest. “All these Polyvore outfits are insanely popular on Pinterest, and you see the women were commenting ‘I want this outfit now!’,” he says. And, he added, ShoeDazzle also recently shifted its model from subscription-based e-commerce to a more traditional approach, but one which involved curated stylist-driven collections of shoes, handbags and jewelry.
Like ShoeDazzle, Modington offers stylist-designed collection, in this case, featuring an outfit and accessories. The plan is to allow women to buy each item individually, or get a discount for buying the entire collection at once. (That latter part will go live in a few more weeks, he says).
The company is starting very small – just 19 outfits are available right now, with 5 more coming in a week or two. Modington buys all the items wholesale, mainly from independent designers, including Moon, Esley, and Heartbreaker collections, to name a few of the brands offered. Dharma wants to launch small (oops, TechCrunch’d), to gauge user response before scaling. Oh, and he could also use a co-founder, too.
It’s Friday, so you may as well blow that paycheck on some cute clothes.