Today I want to share this community with you guys; because, sharing is caring. Mode Republic is to my knowledge the only community out there that rewards members for their contributions; in cash! Of course, you can use your chic-points over at Chictopia to buy a reward and over at Weardrobe you can shop that look; but Mode Republic is much more than that. If you win one of their monthly competitions - you will both be the new cover model and win a $100 cash reward. In addition they have prizes for the 2nd and 3rd best look as well - and who doesn't want some extra pocket-money to spend on those must-have shoes!? I just had to have a little chat with Nancy Ting, the founder of Mode Republic.
- Tell me a little bit about yourself?
My name is Nancy Ting. I was born in Hong Kong and moved to Toronto, Canada when I was a teenager. After graduating from college, I moved around quite a bit for work, e.g., London (UK), New York (US), Beijing (China) etc. I was a programmer/consultant building Internet applications for a number of years and then went back to pursue my Masters in Business Administration at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- When Mode Republic was born?
When I finished my masters degree, I made a career change and went into finance. After doing so for a year, I realized that my passion was still in technology. I resigned from my finance job in August 2008 and decided to create my own career by combining two of my passions in life - fashion and technology. I came up with the early concept of Mode Republic in October 2008. I spent the following months doing research, refining the business model and forming partnerships with online stores. The company was formed in August 2009 and we first started reaching out to fashionistas end of January 2010 with our first contest - Valentine's Day Dress to Impress Contest.
- Could you tell me a little about how you came up with the idea?
I love fashion! One of the things that I enjoyed most when I worked in different parts of the world was to check out how people dress! Seriously, there are so many stylish people in the world who should be models or stylists! I am sure within everyone's circle of friends there are bound to be a few stylish friends whose dream was to build a career in the fashion industry but might choose not to for a variety of reasons. I have also met many aspiring designers, stylists, models and fashion photographers who are so talented but they told me how tough it is to break into the fashion world.
So I thought with the Internet and the success of web sites such as thesartorialist.com and lookbook.nu, wouldn't it be great if there is a platform which allow stylish people to showcase the world their style and make some money from doing so? Also when I read fashion magazines, there is always a "splurge" Prada version and a "steal" H&M version of an outfit. I only wish that there are more than 2 options!
So I came up with the idea of writing a computerized program that matches what the fashionistas are wearing with all the similar items from our partner online stores. Then what happens is when a sale goes through, we have agreements with the online stores such that they pay us a commission. I think it is only fair to reward the photo contributors for submitting quality photos! So I designed a revenue sharing program, such that we track the particular photo that led to the sale of an item, and we share part of the commission that we receive with the photo contributor as our way to give back to our community of fashionistas. The fashionistas can focus on styling great outfits, instead of worrying about keeping up with Internet technologies or dealing with partnerships with online stores.
In sum, our goal is to create a platform, such that aspiring designers, stylists, models, photographers or simply, stylish people can collaboratively create a fashion magazine to showcase the world their style. Shoppers could get inspired by their looks and create their own style through "Shop This Look". The photo contributors in turn get rewarded based on their contribution.
- Where do you go from here?
In the past 2-3 months, we were able to form some significant partnerships with some online stores! So right now we are working hard to integrate many products from those stores to our "Shop This Look"! Stayed tuned for our full launch for shoppers! It will happen within weeks!
Check out the site here, and become a member if you want! Don't forget to add me as a friend too; so I can check out your looks!
*Friday favorites: every Friday I'll recommend a unique store, an awesome blog, a lovely book or something else I love. I'll chose things I genuinely love, not just random stuff - but if you want to recommend someone or something to me, just send me an e-mail at contact.barbro [@] gmail.com