A new fashion app created by entrepreneurial Griffith MBA graduate Sarah Neill has tapped into a common complaint by women shopping online and a problem that’s costing the industry globally $1 trillion each year.
As the number of e-commerce transactions continues to skyrocket, Sarah says her start-up helps solve the problem of fit, for time-poor women who want to purchase online but struggle to know how the latest fashion might look on them.
The former career marketer, who graduated with a Griffith MBA in 2010, says the shift from retail stores to online has led to a range of issues, everything from poor fit to a lack of body confidence, difficult return policies and huge costs for industry.
“Fit-ness has become an issue and the statistics show that of all the clothing and shoe items we buy online, we’re not happy with the fit of 91 per cent of them, which is something most people will relate to,” Sarah said.
“We return up to 40 per cent of the things that we buy but we might not return some because we bought them on sale, or we just didn’t get around to it and we missed the window, as a result, we end up with things in our wardrobe we don’t really wear.
“For the industry, it’s a huge issue, because the cost of returns is approaching globally $1 trillion a year.”
The Mys Tyler app offers a fit algorithm which takes into account someone’s height, shape, size and colouring, to match users to stylish like-bodied women around the world who are already shopping for clothes that will fit them.
“It was an idea I first had in 2014 when I was based in New York and that I’ve spent years thinking about. Eventually, I moved back to Australia to build it.”
The app was officially launched in August 2020 using celebrities as matches, and upgraded in February this year with real women from around the world sharing their style.
Sarah started the concept within the confines of local incubator program Antler and has just completed a seed capital raise to continue product development and growth.
“About 25% of our users are in Australia and the rest are international with the bulk between the US and the UK. We’re Sydney based but have been global from day one,” she said.
“We already have more than 35,000 women using our app, which is pretty incredible, approximately 1% of these women are also contributors, so they are sharing their outfits and style with our community.
“We’ve had amazing traction and our early users and contributors are incredibly loyal.”
Sarah came to Griffith for her MBA while working for an advertising agency located across the road.
She says unlike her undergraduate experience, she enjoyed parallels between her daily grind and her studies, which were completed part-time.
“I think I understood business a bit more and so all of a sudden, all the things that I was learning made sense, and a lot of times I realised I’d already done it but just didn’t know it had a name.
“I really loved that I could apply what I was learning directly into work immediately.”
She said the other highlight of her MBA study was the opportunity to work overseas.
“I chose to do two international intensives, one in Denmark, and one in Malaysia, and those were incredible. The best relationships I have from my MBA were actually from those intensives.
“After my MBA, I moved to New York and was running sales and marketing for a company.
“I saw an opportunity and pitched an idea to the owner of the company, who was also a bit of an entrepreneur, and he suggested that rather than building it as a project, I should build it as my own company and he’d fund me to do that.”
That early start-up provided a wealth of business experience for Sarah, helping her to realise she could run her own.
Griffith MBA Director, Associate Professor Stephanie Schleimer said Griffith Business School’s full-time MBA program was ranked number one in the world by the Corporate Knights 2020 Better World MBA Ranking, ahead of a field of 150 global MBA programs.
“Our MBA embraced sustainability as the core of business thinking and acting long before the majority of businesses realised it was crucial to operating successfully,” she said.
“Our graduates often speak about a transformational learning journey throughout their MBA and the realisation that a value-based and sustainable mindset is key to their professional (and often personal) growth and fulfilment.
“We are creating value through social, financial and environmental approaches that lead to sustainable businesses and communities. and we are preparing global citizens, with a special focus on the Asia-Pacific region.
“I have been following Sarah Neill’s start up journey and applaud her for applying her business acumen to solving an issue experienced by millions of women but also causing a significant burden to industry.”