The pandemic has really affected the industries at a large scale and startups are not an exception. However, what is overwhelming is the participation of more and more women in the startup space with every passing day.
For today’s section, we have Meghna Saraogi, co-founder and CEO, StyleDotMe, a fashion tech startup with an AR product that is transforming the shopping experience in India. Saraogi enlightens us on how has her voyage been so far, and how is she combating challenges everyday, and how the fun lies in breaking stereotypes…
Knowing that gender biases exist, how difficult is it to be a woman and thrive in your specific field?
Gender biases exist, not just in this industry, but any industry you dive into. How one treats them and deals with them is what matters. I do not walk into any meeting or an investors pitch thinking I am a woman and so, I should be treated differently. All I want is to be treated with respect and equality. I am a firm believer of the fact that if you are passionate about your product and you believe in what you envision; you will get through the hurdles and there will be miles to go before you stop. I understand and recognise the responsibilities that envelope us but being an entrepreneur teaches you important lessons like multitasking and not giving up, which can be employed in your personal life. A lot of people I meet question the commitment of women entrepreneurs around them but the fun is in breaking the stereotypes, isn’t it?
What role do you think your technology plays in contemporary times (especially retail)?
In today’s dynamic times, retail is at the pinnacle of pivoting into a new way of operating. Technology-driven businesses use data mining and processing to scale multifold quickly.
Products and services use omnichannel solutions to enhance customer touchpoints in order to curate a customised shopping experience. We, at mirrAR by StyleDotMe, are aiming to provide our customers with a world class seamless experience by bringing the jewellers closer to their consumers, not just via their phone and desktops but also through an intuitive experience in the store.
Our aim is to help our clients build connections with their loyalists by integrating our technology. We have studied that a webrooming consumer who experiences trying-on jewellery virtually online is more likely to purchase the product.
In the changing retail landscape, our technology is aimed at making sure the brand stays relevant, online and offline, via the digitisation of inventory and optimization of processes.
Can we rely on technology solely to be the panacea for all problems? If so, how?
The radical shift in the retail landscape towards technology has proven to be benign. I am sure we all recognize that with technology, the possibilities are endless. However, it’s not the only factor that leads to the success of a brand. The right mix of technology and human interaction with the ability to blend the physical and digital aspects into one holistic brand experience can spell magic for dominant players while communicating their value proposition to consumers.
What are the immediate and long term milestones for your company like?
The plans for the company are to scale up and transform mirrAR into a complete augmented reality platform. We aim to be the leaders of augmented reality in the jewellery industry around the world: to empower every client we ever work with and to elevate the shopping experience of any customer who uses our platform. Ours is a ‘local’ product, but we can assure you it’s as powerful as any other, globally.
Challenges are an inevitable part of the business. Could you highlight on some you had encountered
StyleDotMe’s aim has been to disrupt the retail model with our immersive AR technology. We have built a breakthrough technology for an industry that is traditional and insulated against disruptors such as ours.
Initially, when started out, social acceptance was the biggest challenge. Jewellers were hesitant to expose their carefully protected family businesses to change. The product seemed unfit to a set of brands because they believed in personalised consumer experience in-store, without actually realising that that was exactly what our product thrives on.
However, in less than 2 years, we have grown with and nurtured a brand army of about 150 clients across the country. We worked day in and day out to customise the application based on the Jeweller’s recommendations, thereby making it viable for the industry. The product development of mirrAR is strongly driven by valuable feedback from both, our partner-clients and our customers.
How can we have more women joining the bandwagon?
Empower them. Invest in them. Help them upskill. Make them believe in their own superpowers. And once you do, you know you have a winner!
If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]expresscomputeronline.com