Written by Walter Grio
How many times have you shopped at the store and wanted an opinion? Should I get this? Should I buy it? Does it make me look fat?
Now before you scoff and say, “Oh no, not another social media app! Why should I use this?” Well, for one thing, you can ask the Pinxter universe of other fashionistas and get their opinion. You can post a photo of yourself in those new Christian Louboutin pumps and ask others what they think.
Do you like it? Does this look nice? Can I wear this at a wedding?
And secondly, you don’t have to bother your friends on Facebook or Twitter about your #OOTD (outfit of the day). The truth is that the people on those social media apps are probably hiding your feeds already. And plus, do you really want your mom’s opinion? What you need are people who care about clothes, style, and fashion. And those folks are on Pinxter.
In addition to clothes, you can ask what people think about your hair, your nails, or your makeup. Wondering if you should wear your hair up or down? Maybe you’re wondering if you should wear those earrings with that outfit. Just post it on Pinxter and ask away!
Brands and companies can also participate and find out what they should market or sell. Should we add an extra button? How do you like this color? It’s like a survey and a social media app all in one without harassing your customers to fill out a boring survey.
If you’re still not sold, then continue on below and read our interview with the founders of Pinxter.
Should you read it? YES.
INTERVIEW with SERGEI DUBOGRAEV (CEO) and DMITRI SIMERAZHKO (CTO)
Founders of Pinxter
Where did you get the idea for Pinxter?
SERGEI: It all started when I went shopping with my wife and sister and they spent 30 minutes deciding on one pair of boots. I jokingly asked if there was an app where you can upload and get real time feedback. Putting it in the back of my mind, I met Dmitri (co-founder) at a gaming conference in San Francisco in May. Dmitri has the largest application on VK.com with 21 million users and has extensive experience in app and game development. With my data and business background we began to collaborate on the project Pinxter and within 2 months we had incorporated the company and were investment backed. We took some of the best team members from large companies in Ukraine that included a designer, iOS developers, project manager and server developer. The app is constantly updated and we are providing an interactive platform for brands, fashionistas, celebrities and bloggers to connect with users as well as users to be inspired and connect with their friends. Pinxter provides users with a fun experience to buy, try on clothes and be social with what they love most – shopping.
DMITRI: My main experience came from creating applications for women. My main application was greeting cards on the wall which has 21 million users. I also have a good background in building social and mobile games. I have never been involved in Fashion before but it is a market this is missing some of the gamefication and data aspects that other markets currently have. In one sentence, Pinxter is our attempt to integrate mobile social network with a little touch of gamefication.
What differentiates Pinxter from the other social media apps?
SERGEI: Our differentiation comes in two aspects. The first is focus. When people use other apps, networks and sites they are usually mixed in with other aspects they might not be interested in. Pinxter focuses primarily on fashion and shopping. This gives the community more viability when people vote on your outfits or for a user to be inspired by others. The second is the Yes/No voting feature. A ‘like’ might not tell you all the information you need and we give anonymous feedback. This is appealing because hundreds or thousands of people interested in fashion around the world could vote on your outfit and create a good feedback model that you can’t get anywhere else. Isn’t it time to give your boyfriend or husband a break at the mall?
We both have never been in the fashion market before, but we believed that with how all the markets are changing — the combination of interactivity, mobile applications, and having a robust back-end for brands, bloggers, and vendors — understanding their consumers is very important. Also users like to see user generated content that includes people wearing clothes instead of models wearing clothes that they are interested in buying. Combinations of outfits and unique ideas is something you might not be able to find on a typical retail site but you can in Pinxter. Our co-founder Dmitri’s favorite brand and business is Victoria’s Secret. Not only for what they sell but also on how they conduct business, represent their brand and engage their users. We hope to work with them one day in collaboration with our platforms.
DMITRI: I love Victoria’s Secret! When I get into their stores I want to buy EVERYTHING there for my girlfriend! I can say that Pinxter was inspired by Victoria’s Secret.
What is the best and most challenging part about your job?
SERGEI: We are a small team and most of us wear many hats on different days. When you are a start-up that’s growing quickly there are a lot of opportunities that open up and the hardest part is managing and deciding which ones we will go forward with. Currently what we like most about the job is the ability to work with various people from different markets. Since we are engaging users with brands we work with all facets of business that include marketers, business executives, legal teams, data analysts, social media relations managers and everyone in between.
DMITRI: We were worried about people not using the application for the exact reason we wanted but were amazed when we saw that users used it and posted amazing content. They are tagging brands, voting and being inspired. In the moment it is my best project that I have done in terms of building a business the correct way. What I do not like sometimes is the time that goes into the business related aspects and features instead of optimizing and creating the application for the user. The balance is tough to find sometimes.
Can you take us through the process of what the journey’s been like?
SERGEI: When we began the business it was all about one application, “Pinxter” and we noticed that the back end statistics and value of information that comes in is something that can be applied to many markets. Our business has primarily been focused on fashion at the moment and our goals include working with various brands so they can engage and interact with the content they produce. For example, fans of a certain brand can choose the next line for fall and feel empowered that they helped make that choice. On the other end the buyers or advertisers for that brand get valuable insight on what the consumers want. It is a win-win situation for both user and brand at the end of the day.
DMITRI: Pinxter has been the most interesting project for me! This is the first project outside Russia / Ukraine. I am working with Americans and learning how to do business in America. And I want to pass this experience to my team. I think if we mix our Ukrainian development model with the American model of sales it will be successful!
I have created a super-professional development team and I realized that with the professionals, we can work much more efficiently! In addition we have the coolest investors! They have become part of the team and have helped us very well! Every business needs an Angel!
What are some of the biggest things you’ve learned so far?
SERGEI: The biggest challenge for us is that we are two guys who needed to learn the fashion market within months. I have learned more about the different brands in the past 3 months than I have in the past 25 years of life. On the other hand, one of the biggest aspects we have learned with users for applications is that they do not know what they want in an application until they actually are using it. Doing research on what people “feel” they need before creating is usually much different than what they actually need. “Brain versus Heart” is a good way of putting it. This is an important aspect we are now taking into consideration since the statistics on what people use is very important to developing the app further and listening to the user’s “usage”. One of the biggest challenges we also face is that opportunity to take on various directions in our social network and choosing the correct way to go.
DMITRI: Working with professionals in different markets and businesses to help your business is much more effective. This includes bringing together minds from investors, advisors, and business executives — and utilizing all of them as assets and partners to grow your business.
What inspires you to do what you do and what inspires you to keep doing it?
SERGEI: For both of us it is about changing and disrupting markets and bringing value not only to our company but giving the ability for our platforms to work in the favor of all of our partners, users and brands.
DMITRI: I have achieved what I wanted in my market and industry in gaming/Russia and so I wanted to create something for the United States. One of my biggest inspiration is Cal Simmons, one of our investors, for teaching me how to bring together talents and assets from different markets to grow a project. He’s a very professional and knowledgeable strategic investor. Also, Jonathan Ive for the design and thoughts on human interaction with applications, as well as Elon Musk for his branding and business approach with Tesla. But when I read this question the first thing that came to mind was Steve Jobs. I think he is one of the most brilliant people in the world and he showed how to do things differently. And I completely agree with him! It works! By the way, I still have not read his biography 🙂
SERGEI: Yes definitely, Steve Jobs. His ability to be one step ahead has inspired us to begin thinking about not only what will be here today, but what will also be here tomorrow.
THE PINXTER TEAM
For business inquiries, please email Jennifer Graham – jgraham[at]redpeg.com