Top 10 Innovative Start-Ups of 2016 You Need To Know About

As you may have noticed, I haven’t done my regular “Top 5 Style Tips” column past several Fridays. One of the reasons is because I’ve been doing my best giving you content straight from fashion week, pushing out several articles a day. Paris Fashion Week wrapped up recently, and I’ve been putting my regular schedule on hold while I celebrated my birthday and my husband’s 30th. I managed to fit some skiing in at Olympic Valley (Squaw) and visited the “Biggest Little City In the World” (Reno). Before all that, which I’ll tell you about in a later post, I spent some time at the Launch Festival in San Francisco.

As CFDA considers how to overhaul NYFW and how to bring the looks presented straight to consumers without a delay, tech start-ups seem to be the answer. NYFW received a massive overhaul of the reservation system through Fashion GPS, and plenty of designers have chosen the social media route to present their collections. There’s a great need for meaningful technological innovation in fashion. The purpose of Launch Festival is exactly what the name implies: launching start-ups.

The start-ups range from subscription boxes, to custom jewelry apps, influencer apps, virtual reality simulation programs and crowdfunding projects. It’s an enormous playground of next-gen inventors. I’m lucky enough to go to the festival with my husband every year. He typically looks for cool companies to invest in while I look for neat things to introduce into my life and to you guys.

10 Innovative Start-Ups:
  1. PoundWishes: You guys know how much I love animals. I’m always on the lookout for innovation in animal welfare, and this one makes pet’s lives easier to extend in critically underfunded shelters. Because shelters typically have difficulty raising money for operating costs, PoundWishes aims at providing crowdfunding for animals that may need more than average amount of cash (usually, $784 is required per year to maintain an animal at a shelter).
  2. Trove: This was one of the first few companies I approached. The founders told me they were actually based in NYC, which is even cooler! Trove is essentially a platform that allows you to design and order custom made jewelry! You choose individual elements of rings, bracelets, necklaces or earrings and preview the 3D model of the design on the screen. They’ll send you a 3D printed replica of your design so you can try it on and make any modifications you’d like (all of this is free). You then confirm and choose the metal. Best part, pieces typically range from $26-$50. BONUS: YOU CAN GET A 3D PRINTED RING FOR FREE NOW!
  3. Chicly: “Chicly Inc. is an early stage fashion technology company that develops mobile software applications for smart devices that enable customers to request Live Fashion Stylists On Demand via Face to Face Video Consultation. Our Chicly Stylists will put together the perfect look, and recommend new products for customers. Chicly Customer Database keeps track of body types and their favorite styles, brands, and outfits.”
  4. BazaarChat: “You can look for any product or services in Bazaar.  We will connect you shops, businesses, retailers and brands from local and online markets.  Some examples: ‘I am looking for a cute dress for a date night’ // ‘I need to get my nails done now’ // ‘Is there a plumber who can help me with this leak’.” You’re getting connected to all the stores/services around you, and you start a conversation based on your product or service needs.
  5. MatchCo: You use your phone camera to create a custom shade of foundation. The app scans your skin undertones and shade to detect a perfect blend. The bottle of foundation is somewhat pricey, giving the prized Giorgio Armani formulas a run for their money, but you can’t beat a perfectly matched bottle!
  6. Wrkbench: This is like Asana on crack. It’s a huge collaborative whiteboard, allowing all members of a team to write notes, attach PDFs, record voice memos, take pictures and attach to the giant “whiteboard” on the screen. It’s pretty awesome for a team environment and for individuals running a business or planning something big.
  7. ShipWallet: Total game changer for me. I realize this is made for the retailer, but as a consumer who loves to shop online, I wish all retailers converted to a system which provides a myriad of shipping options instead of “slow” and “stupidly expensive.” The shipping options take into account local delivery, drop-off points, and real tracking through notification. Old trusties like priority shipping through USPS are still there, alongside a plethora of other more independent providers that might otherwise be unfamiliar to you. I know this doesn’t look like much, but it’s such a brilliant idea.
  8. Mercato: This is currently launched all over Brooklyn and in select Manhattan locations, so if you’re an NYC dweller, you’re in luck. If you’re elsewhere, fingers crossed they expand quickly and efficiently. They essentially select the cream of the crop local specialty stores (i.e. bakery, cheese shop, coffee shop, etc.) and provide the retailers with a straightforward and easy way to get online and provide efficient delivery to their customers. You can shop at different stores, the stores get together and combine their goods which they deliver to you at the end of the day.
  9. Comparably: While it’s still starting up and gathering data, this could be an incredible tool for fashion bloggers everywhere. We’re always confused about what others make in our field. Think of this as a one-stop shop to anonymously compare your salary and earnings and see whether you’re fairly compensated. At the moment, it’s catered to the tech industry, but I can imagine it growing quickly as more people enter their salaries.
  10. Evertoon.com: This is pure fun. You can make short animated videos featuring anyone! The technology scans a photo/selfie, wraps it to a 3D toon, and accepts any commands you type in. Think of it as a geekier DubSmash.