Genius Idea: A niche in the online fashion discount market that caters to working women.
As a young attorney in Minneapolis, Zahra Aljabri and her colleagues struggled to find fashionable clothing appropriate for a work setting.
Many women are conservative dressers, so we think they have a very wide market.
We wanted to follow the trends, and we wanted to find a way to do it that was better than layering with camisoles and jackets or taking things to tailors.
Confident that a large number of women must face the same challenges, Aljabri developed a business plan for Mode sty, a flash sales site that caters to conservative dressers.
The site, which wont launch officially until this fall, ran its first 48 hour sale on June 27, and will further test the market in a few more sales throughout the summer.
Everything sold on the site which includes recognizable brands like BCBG Maxazria and Rachel Roy, as well as lesser known designers is assigned to one of three coverage categories: low, medium and full.
In the first category, short sleeve and form fitting garments will appear; in the second, elbow length sleeves and necklines that dip 2 beneath the collar bone; and in the last, garments that run from collar bone to feet and drape loosely over the body.
Aljabri says she isnt completely sold on the flash sales model, since companies like Gilt Groupe and Ideeli are not yet profitable.
The same difficult economic conditions that make life difficult for full price luxury retailers can help a discount luxury retailer like Gilt Groupe if it plays its cards right.
By the time the company launches, it may begin selling clothes through a Mary Kay like affiliate network model, or in the style of a more traditional online retailer.
Right now Mode sty is competing in a business plan competition called the Minnesota Cup, which, should they take the top prize, will net them $50,000 in startup capital.
After the competition closes, Aljabri and her technical co founder plan to seek out additional investment.
What other niches do you wish flash sales or other kinds of discount sites catered to.
Series presented by Microsoft BizSpark
The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible byMicrosoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives software startups three year access to Microsoft software development tools, marketing visibility to help promote their business and a connection to the BizSpark ecosystem, giving them access to investors, advisors and mentors.
There is no cost to join, so if your startup is privately owned, less than three years old and generates less than US $1M in annual revenue, sign up today.
Kenneth Kennedy is a fashion journalist based in Hong Kong, China. Kenneth has a passion for fashion stories and loves writing about fashion news and fashion opinions that matters most to its audience. Kenneth spends a lot of time discovering and researching latest fashion industry news stories in order to make sure the latest and greatest stories are brought to you first on Stylerchic.com.