Barbie Hull Photography

Today’s interview is with Francesca Helina of Live the Look .  Please visit their website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Hi Francesca thank you for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.

You are very welcome and glad to be interviewing with you!

I am an entrepreneur, style addict and social media connoisseur. I enjoy the busy lifestyle of many women out there, balancing work and home while taking time for myself when I can with yoga, a glass of wine with a friend or a manicure.

After a number of years working with entities across the fashion vertical while at Twitter, I found myself extraordinarily passionate about changing the way women shop for clothes and accessories online. I felt like they deserved more and the technology was there to give them a truly time saving experience.


How did the idea for Live the Look  come about?

I wanted to create Live the Look because I felt that women deserved more from an e-commerce experience. Every day we all get up, head to our closet and wonder what outfit to put together on our bodies. We may feel adventurous or safe or cold or sassy or spontaneous, but we all have to still get dressed. There was no option out there that actually tried to help women make that choice and took into account that we already have clothes – most likely quite a lot of them – sitting around.

There are a ton of pages and sites out there meant to inspire us through photos and media into copying what they wear, but I find them to be overall very aspirational instead of realistic in price or in wearability. I wanted to take what I did at Twitter with democratizing fashion experiences or content and try to democratize fashion commerce by making it reflective of real women and real choices.


And how long was the process from the original idea to the launch of the site?

We took about 4 months from idea to live prototype in December 2013. From there we just iterated into a beta after another 5 months of diligent work and feedback from customers.


How is Live the Look  different from other online fashion shopping sites?

Live the Look is unique in that it creates a personalized shopping page for each customer that reflects the styles she likes and the key basics she owns in her closet. There is no guess work around the products since everything is visually associated with your preferences. You are not left on a product page wondering what you would wear with a new top with because we show you that it would look great with your black pants you told us about when you took our quick quiz to sign up.

We can do this via our unique product categorization schema into an adaptive learning engine that utilizes algorithmic AI to create the custom experiences. We spent many months prior to launch testing and running the engine with over 1,000 different items to ensure we could generate quality results every time. From our current beta site, we intend to increase the specificity of the engine and the breadth of items offered.


Tell us a little about the designers and clothing manufacturers you feature on  Live the Look .

I am a big believer in the courage and scrappiness of new brands and designers. I want to be able support and discover them via a growing platform like Live the Look.

We currently carry a set of fantastic brands made in the US but another important factor is that they also create high quality, unique, on trend , wearable items that you are not going to see your friends in or find on a stranger walking towards you down the street.  If that roster starts to include international brands that meet our quality and style bar, I am happy to include them in the future and increase our selection


What are your plans for the future? How do you see Live the Look developing?

I would say that we are working very hard to broaden out our roster of items and make the styling engine even more useful. We also intend to go beyond only driving commerce on the site. Coming from a social background I always look to create a product that people want to visit every day.  We are going to launch features that create a destination where people want to visit us more frequently.  We will create styling resources, fun and community on the site as well as unique items to purchase.


I know it is early days as Live the Look has just launched, but what sort of feedback have you been receiving so far?

Thus far, we are receiving very positive feedback from customers and users. We also are getting great suggestions for additional features and things they want to see. We are always watching our mail as well as our Facebook page  and Twitter 


Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your company.  We really appreciated the chance to get to know you!


Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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