Every girl’s been there: standing in the dressing room, staring at yourself in the mirror with a puzzled look on your face. Should I buy it? Does it make my hips look big? Sometimes, a second opinion is all we need to save us from a fashion disaster or to give us that extra confidence boost before heading to the register. Fashism.com is the perfect way to get your second opinion- only; you get a whole online community of fashion lovers that let you know what they really think about your outfit. Only a click away, this innovative gateway to the real fashion world can be accessed by simply downloading their iPhone or Android application, giving instant feedback for those suffering from major fashion dilemmas.
Brooke Moreland, who founded Fashism.com in 2009, was the girl standing in the mirror with indecisive written on her forehead. “Whenever I’d go shopping, I would agonize over my purchases,” Brooke dishes to InterviewHer.com, “I wanted to find a way to ask a lot of people their opinions at once.” Since a website like this hadn’t been invented, Brooke decided to take action into her own hands and build it herself. The first step was constructing a prototype, in which Brooke’s friend, who was a programmer, assisted in making her dreams a reality. She shared this unique concept with her friends who were ecstatic about the idea. One friend in particular was a huge advocate for this website.
Ashley Granata had met Brooke at a mutual friend’s party. After following Brooke on Twitter, Ashley had seen a look that she had tweeted from the website. She was instantly hooked. Instantly, Ashley’s brain was flooded with creative inspiration and new ideas for the website. Ashley had always been in the online and fashion worlds since graduating college and was working for L’Oreal at the time she met Brooke. After following Brooke on Twitter, Ashley saw her tweets of outfits posted on the website. She immediately sent an e-mail to Brooke asking to meet up for some drinks in the city. During their meeting, Ashley and Brooke instantly clicked. These girls go to show that a random person you meet in your life can turn into a rare, incredible connection. With Ashley’s fresh ideas and Brooke’s experience, this dynamic duo was a force to be reckoned with.
Once Ashley joined the Fashism team, both her and Brooke took a huge leap into the unknown by quitting their day jobs to solely focus on growing the website. “It was scary to quit our jobs knowing that we weren’t going to make any money yet,” Brooke tells InterviewHer, “However, it was so much better to have a partner to go through it with.” All of their time was now directed on fundraising for the site as well as getting the word out in any way possible. Social networking sites had become their new best friends. Their strong passion for the website was extremely apparent, in which they spent every waking minute doing whatever they could to appeal to fashion slaves around the world.
Another major step in creating buzz for the site was finding investors who were as passionate about Fashism.com as Ashley and Brooke. After putting together an entire presentation filled with slides and unique approaches, they pitched their ideas to a woman who was interested in investing in early-stage companies. “It was really nerve-wracking because we were hoping for the best but we had no idea what to expect,” Ashley tells InterviewHer.com, “She actually really helped us with our presentation and gave us tips on what to do when pitching. Afterwards, she told us that if we could make money on our own, she would invest too.” This sparked the fire that helped push Ashley and Brooke outside of their comfort zone and into the offices of several potential investors.
One person in particular whom they approached was none other than Ashton Kutcher. “I know he invests in a lot of technological companies and I had heard he was trying to get involved in a fashion related one,” Brooke spills to InterviewHer, “So, we flew to Los Angeles, pitched the idea and it resonated well with him. Then, out of nowhere, Demi Moore walked in and sat in the meeting. They were both really supportive and open minded about our pitch. It was really awesome to see their reactions to our ideas and get their feedback.” Both Ashton and Demi were so enthralled with this idea that they decided to become official investors of the site. Other investors that have backed the site include: Nina Garcia, the fashion director of Marie Claire Magazine and judge on Project Runway; Guy Oseary, expert businessman; Foursquare CEO, Dennis Crowley; and fashion designer, Steven Alan. Not only were these huge steps in the right direction for Fashism.com, but the unwavering support and guidance of their investors has allowed for the site to flourish into the source of fashion inspiration worldwide.
Now, let’s be honest. People love taking pictures of themselves. They want everyone to see how well they rock their new stilettos and little black dress. By posting their pictures on Fashism.com, they’re able to get a complete stranger’s honest opinion as opposed to a friend’s who doesn’t want to hurt their feelings. The best part about the Fashism community is that they’re so involved in giving constructive criticism to their fellow users that they are able to give their advice on why or why not something works, as opposed to a simple saying your outfit is “pretty” or “ugly.” For example, at a Lord and Taylor prom themed event hosted by Fashism.com, girls attended to pick out their prom dresses. Not only were they able to browse the sea of rhinestones, ruffles, and silk for the perfect dress, but the girls were able to get several other opinions by simply uploading the picture to Fashism.com, potentially saving several girls from a major fashion no-no. Another out of the box idea was the “Gaga Entries” contest. This entailed young women to dress in their most elaborately exquisite Lady Gaga inspired outfit and post pictures of it on the website. The one with the highest rated outfit would get free tickets to any concert they wanted. “This was a huge undertaking and definitely scored a lot of publicity for the site,” Ashley states to Interview Her.
“There have definitely been some challenges along the way,” Brooke explains to Interview Her, “There was a point where we were trying to raise money and we didn’t have a tech person working with us at a time. Interested investors didn’t want to invest in our company unless we had a tech person.” Their challenge: to find someone with the same vision as Ashley and Brooke, who was easy to work with and likeable within a few days and convince them to quit their day job. A seemingly impossible feat, this power couple took initiative and got it done. “If there’s one piece of advice that I would give to women entrepreneurs, it would be to read Play Like a Man, Win Like A Woman by Gil Evans,” Ashley divulges to Interview Her, “It talks about the unwritten rules of business that changed my life. I always recommend it to anyone who would be interested.”
After being featured in the New York Times’ Style Section, the website was seen by a much broader audience with different perspectives to be shared. Now with more than 50,000 users, $1 million in investments, and one million page views a month, Fashism.com has become the brutally truthful pair of eyes that every girl needs when it comes to dressing yourself- night and day.
Written by: Blair Cassuto