Tinder meets Airbnb with fashion app IVALO
Fashion is a three trillion-US dollar global market which is dominated by major brands. But if you are looking for something more individual, Finnish startup IVALO has found a way to bring new designers straight to your fingertips.
On paper IVALO sounds like every fashion lover’s dream. Instead of competing with big brand retailers, the mobile app is a treasure trove of independent and up-and-coming designers wrapped in an intuitive user experience.
“IVALO is a curated fashion marketplace and all the brands are handed-picked by us. You can find designers you will not see anywhere else,” says Matti Lamminsalo, Founder and CEO of IVALO. “If you use startup lingo then IVALO is the Tinder of Fashion with the monetisation model of AirBnB.”
Users can choose which brands or product groups they want to explore, then browse through them on their phones. You swipe right to buy a piece of clothing or an accessory and the transaction is completed with a few taps or swipe left to see more products.
For designers, IVALO offers an easy access to a new mobile sales channel and all purchases are shipped by the designers themselves, so there are no setup costs or monthly fees. IVALO takes a 20 per cent commission on items bought through the app.
“There is practically no risk for the designers, they just spend an hour or two adding their products into the app,” Lamminsalo explains. “Over 90 per cent of the designers we have approached have wanted to try the service.”
IVALO has been well received since it launched in Finland in October and already claims to be the world’s biggest marketplace for Finnish fashion with over 80 brands (such as IvanaHelsinki, Lumi and Terhi Pölkki) in its marketplace.
Fashion goes mobile
While Lamminsalo is not a newcomer to the startup world, IVALO is his first step into the fashion industry. The idea for a Tinder-like marketplace stemmed from Lamminsalo’s own fashion designer friends who complained how difficult it is get their foot in the door. Intrigued, he started to research the topic.
“We interviewed 50 designers and found they are artists by heart and love creating fashion, but are often bad at selling and marketing themselves,” Lamminsalo says with a laugh. “At the same time the trend is towards people wanting to buy products from small, indie brands.”
Add to the mix the growth of online fashion sales, particularly on mobile devices, and Lamminsalo saw the opportunity to the start developing IVALO in early 2016. Now the startup has a five-member team and 150 000 euros in funding to drive the app forward.
Lamminsalo is happy with IVALO’s launch so far and says the app has been downloaded over five thousand times in its first five weeks. But Finland is only a springboard for the service, which aims to launch on the wider European market in early 2017.
“Finns on average spend very little money on clothes compared to the rest of Europe, so Finland is purely a test market for us,” Lamminsalo explains.
He has already gauged international demand by visiting fashion weeks in Paris, Madrid, London and Copenhagen and IVALO’s ambitions are high:
“We currently have 100 international designers waiting for the service to launch in Europe.” Lamminsalo says. “IVALO has only one goal that in five years’ time it will be the world’s leading service for product sales from independent brands.”
Text: Eeva Haaramo