Throughout the July / August vacation period, the Rude Baguette will be running a series of interviews with some of France’s top and rising startups, where their founders give us more insight into their business, their future plans and what sets them apart from the rest. In our first installment, we talk with Charles Nouboue, CEO and Founder of fashion tech startup Fitle, a ‘Smartshopping platform’, where users can try-on clothes on their 3D self before buying them.
Tell us about Fitle. How did it come about?
I first had the idea a few years ago, during my first job as a fresh graduate. I was working hard and leaving the office long after the closing hours of stores. And when I tried shopping online, I was just lost in the thousands of different websites and the zillions of articles (on those sides). In addition, I couldn’t decide which size to pick for each brand. As a fashion lover, I knew I had to do something and that’s how the project was created.
Obviously there are many other shopping platforms / marketplaces online. However, you refer to Fitle as the first ‘Smart Shopping Experience’. Why is it so smart? How does it set you apart from similar services?
Fitle is a technological breakthrough in the busy universe of marketplaces for clothes. It is a powerful tool that completely redesigns the way we shop online, improving drastically the user experience.
Fitle is personalized and all-in-one: no need for browsing through hundreds of websites to find the articles you are looking for. Fitle brings them to you in a unique space and in 3D thanks to its cutting-edge technology. Fitle is smart: it sorts through all the clothes to suggest online those that fit you and match your style. You can now find you dream jean’s in less than 10 seconds.
Then, Fitle allows you to virtually try on clothes, without getting up from your couch. We are developing a groundbreaking technology to create personalized 3D avatars. Based on 4 pictures of you taken on our smartphone app and your height, Fitle creates your 3D self that possesses your exact measurements, face, eye color… You can then virtually try on, swap out and mix and match all your clothing choices.
Plus, Fitle saves all your past purchases in a connected wardrobe, allowing you to pair on your avatar the jeans you bought months ago with a sweater you plan to purchase today.
So you’ve launched a pretty well received crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, which, I understand, wraps up on August 10th. Why did you launch the camping? What benefits have you seen thus far?
Today, Fitle is self-founded thanks to love money and prizes (such as BPI France and Reseau Entreprendre 92). Our technology is ready to go, what we need to do now is industrialize our process and bring this amazing technology to the US and French markets. That’s the reason why we launched our crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.
Even more than the $50,000 we aim to raise, we are looking for people who feel connected enough to our project to take part in it. We need users to help us design what they want Fitle to be.
So far, we have received wonderful feedback from our audience and very constructive comments that will help us refine even more the user experience.
How do you define success (for Fitle)?
As I mentioned earlier, Fitle is not just another marketplace. We are aiming to redefine the way customer shop online and finally make retailers embrace the digital transformation.
Thanks to our revolutionary technology, we are able to automatically digitize all the clothes from partner brands and recreate them in 3D. From there to getting the largest database of clothes in the world, and in 3D, there is only one step… And over 250 brands are already on board with us!
Success for us would be for people to really change their standards in terms of online shopping, whether it is on the Fitle.com website or on a brand website. Customers have to start demanding for a better user experience from the brands.
What about international? Which markets will you take Fitle to next?
Fitle is already settled in New York and Paris for its two-sided launched planned for early 2015. Those markets are crucial for a fashion and tech startup like us.
And we are already thinking of Asia for our next hot spot: in Japan, South Korea or China, people are ready to adopt new technologies like ours for online shopping!
What are the next big steps for you as a company?
Once our Kickstarter campaign is over and our project funded, we will enter our beta-testing phase with our backers: creating the first 3D avatars of users, letting them try on our partners’ articles… Feedback will enable us to improve our technology in order to get the best site ready to operate by February 2015.
In the meantime, we are preparing our external funding. We just won the Paris Saclay Invest prize in front of business angels and funds, who were very enthusiastic about our project! We will keep you updated…