Sara, founder of Shopest, and I first met and Unbound conference last year promoting our businesses. We got chatting in a primarily male dominated tech conference and hit it off right away. We have since both been part of accelerators such as CFE's FashTech programme and Natwest's E-Spark. She was also part of the 10 winners from the Cosmopolitan self made pitch and it's been great to see a friendly and supportive face at so many events. Both our businesses overlap in the space between fashion and tech and it's been inspiring watching her business grow. This month I've had a chance to chat with Sara about her startup and jewellery style! Disclaimer: she is a very stylish lady and her jewellery game is always on point...
Glitzbox: How did you come up with the idea for Shopest?
Sara: I was living in New York at the time, working in the garment district as a designer, and I booked a last minute holiday and wanted a new bikini. I had just moved to Brooklyn and knew there were a ton of cool shops nearby, but didn’t know any of the names. Being the lazy girl I can sometimes be, I did the smartphone search for Bikini’s nearby and instead of all the cool shops, what I got were online stores, waxing salons and tiki bars.
In frustration, I went to Macy's but I knew there had to be a better way, I substituted but there was no easy way for the cool shops nearby to be discovered or searched by me apart from by actually walking by.
G: What kind of customers to you envision using Shopest?
Right now we have 3 main groups; experience shoppers, time-starved and tourists.
The experience shopper comes on to see what to do and is really interested in the Sample Sales and the PopUps.
The time-starved, know what they want and just want to find the product around them.
And the tourists use it as a guide to London shops and retail events.
G: And what kind of brands?
Our focus is on independent brands, boutiques and emerging designers. London has the second highest brand penetration in the world behind Dubai, there is so much that we cut out some of the noise and bring a curated mix.
G: If you had one dream brand ambassador (dead or alive) for Shopest who would it be?
Rihanna all day every day, seconded by Drake, hopefully, there will be an EVO sample sale sometime soon.
G: Where do you see Shopest going in 2018?
We are moving into Berlin and Milan this year. There are so many independent stores and are massive tourist hubs.
G: What is the most exciting trend in the retail experience you’ve noticed in recent years?
Digital bridging the gap between the online and offline. Nothing replicates 'feel', online is great but trying before buying is just instinctive and something we have been doing for millennia.
G: How would you describe your own jewellery style in 3 words?
Loud, animal, overstated.
G: How do you feel when you put jewellery on?
I rarely take jewellery off! I have 2 chains and 1 earring that I wear every day.
Jewellery makes me feel finished, when I don't wear it or just have my basics on, I feel slightly naked. I love coloured stones and animal inspired jewellery. I also like how my pieces are conversation starters.
I mix gold and silver all the time and feel it is an apt representation of me.
G: Do you remember the first pieces of jewellery you ever owned or the most important piece?
I don't remember the first piece I owned, but the first piece that I remember choosing was a silver snake ring with gold inlay in Venice when I was about 13, I still have the ring now and it started my obsession with animal especially snake rings.
G: Do you have a favourite up and coming jewellery designer at the moment?
There is a brand new brand called Flukka from Beirut, they have just started and all the pieces are based on archaeological artefacts, I am waiting on a brass lion ring now with real ruby eyes.
G: What is the last thing you do before going to sleep?
I check my WhatsApp, I am a total addict.