A lot of people need help picking what to wear, and if you’re not one of them, yay you. But for the rest of us mortals, deciding what to wear is almost herculean (“almost” because every fashion illiterate has staples that never fail them). If it’s hot, you wear short sleeves, and if it’s cold, you wear long sleeves. Simple, right? Nooot exactly.
There’s an outfit for every season, event, time, or even age, and not a lot of people have the time to to think up appropriate garb for wherever they’re going. So the main problem is, you want to look good, but you have neither the time nor knowledge to figure out how.
Founders Chubi Nwagbara, Kirsten Anderson, and Joe Philip Nzewunwah had people like us in mind when they started The Vane. The three entrepreneurs with backgrounds in engineering and finance decided to come together to create a one-stop platform for both professionals and fashion conscious individuals who want to look good all the time.
In their words, The Vane is a mobile lifestyle social e-commerce technology that blends fashion, social media and travel; delivering a personalised shopping experience. The lifestyle site is for style-conscious men and women who do not have time to thoroughly think of what to wear to work and formal or informal events. TheVane cuts down decision-making time by simplifying data into relevant information.
The founding trio saw an opportunity to satisfy a demand, and they took it. The Vane is a place you can view trends, see what similar people are buying, get recommendations on what to wear depending on your location or what to pack for trips, and also shop for these items if you don’t have them in your wardrobe.
Available on iOS and Android, The Vane fuses fashion personalisation, e-commerce and travel. It makes lives easier by helping users shop, make daily fashion decisions and pack for a trip. This is done by creating a personalised shopping experience based on demographics, behaviour and preferences. They are also on Twitter and have a merchant platform that enables sellers their post products on the site.
Growing a business, much less a startup, is not an easy thing to do, but each founder brings to the table something pertinent to the growth of the company. The academic and professional background of each team member has been helpful in making the idea of TheVane become a strong reality. Kirsten Anderson is a retail and fashion company director of strategy. She has an MBA from Columbia Business School and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas, Austin.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Chubi Nwagbara brings his experience in business development to the table. He has an MBA from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and has also dabbled in post-merger integrations consultancy. Chubi moved to New York in 2013 after his MBA and decided to start working on The Vane.
The team also has finance covered. Over the course of his career, Joe Philip Nzewunwah has gained international and local markets exposure. He has been a Wall Street investment banker and has also facilitated fundraising and strategic market entry for a private equity firm. He also has an MBA from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor’s degree in finance.
Speaking on their success so far, Joe Philip Nzewunwah said, “I believe it all comes down to the team. When you consider the background of the each member of the team, their passion and belief in the idea and their relentless effort to execute; everything else just falls into place. It has not been an easy journey, we are learning and we will continue to learn from our mistakes but ultimately when it comes to The Vane Nigeria, we dare to win!”
The Vane officially launched in Nigeria yesterday, May 2, 2016, and branching out to Nigeria was both a personal and business decision for the founders. They have seen great work from Nigerian designers and have also recognised the interest from global markets for Nigerian products. So they decided to help bring Nigeria to the international scene. In their words, “We have witnessed the Nigerian music and movie industry emerge from the shores of Nigeria to the global front. We feel it is time for Nigerian fashion culture to take its own stand on the global stage.” Also, the fact that Nigeria has a booming economy with a strong emerging lifestyle conscious middle class doesn’t hurt.
Running an e-commerce business here in Nigeria is anything thing but smooth, what with problems in areas like logistics, internet connection, online payment services and even commitment from merchants. But Joe Philip and his team are confident they will overcome the challenges that come with working in the Nigerian market.
Right now, The Vane is a self-funded project but according to Joe Philip, that’s just because the founders wanted to make sure they had a solid platform before seeking out investors. Now that they are live and fully operational, they are ready to welcome investors.
All The Vane wants to do is help give life style. For users, that means access to ideas for fashion and lifestyle decisions. For the merchants, it means publicity and export. In the long run, TheVane hopes to set a new standard for e-commerce and also create global awareness for its Nigerian merchant partners.