Founder Friday with Sarah Neill: creating an online fashion community for women

For many women, one of the most exhausting aspects of the online shopping experience remains sizing. Despite efforts to double-check sizing charts, it can be difficult to find the right fit. What if the pants are too long? What if the top is too big? What if the t-shirt doesn’t fit well?

Fashion tech app Mys Tyler was born to help women find the clothes they love while reducing the environmental impact of constant returns.

“I don’t like shopping or reading fashion magazines,” admitted founder Sarah Neill. “I don’t like the process of getting dressed, but of course I have to get ready every day and I feel better when I like what I’m wearing. Living in New York when everyone around me was so fashionable, while I wore the same jeans with a t-shirt every day, I knew I had to up my game.”

She reached out to a fashion-forward friend to take her shopping, but quickly learned that stylish outfits that suited her friend’s physique didn’t necessarily suit her.

And so, in 2014, the idea of ​​an application to browse fashion by users of similar sizes was launched.

To date, Mys Tyler has raised $2 million from a mix of local and global investors, including institutional investors Mirvac Ventures, Antler, and notable angels including Brian Hartzer (former CEO of Westpac.) He has over 200,000 body profiles on the app and over 1,200 creators.

Of course, Mys Tyler wasn’t Sarah’s first foray into app development.

“My first app was called ‘Weather Than’, which shows you the temperature today and yesterday. It tells you if it’s warmer or cooler to make the weather relative, and it would do it in fun ways, like “it’s colder than an investment banker’s divorce” or “warmer than the new your mom’s boyfriend,'” she said.

“Then I built another app and another app, and I started doing all this side-hustling alongside my work in the telecommunications world.”

By 2020, Sarah had gained a wealth of experience in marketing departments from companies such as Boost Mobile, Ultra Mobile and Mint Mobile.

She explained, “It doesn’t matter what you market; your job is to understand your consumers and their problems. To understand what they are trying to accomplish. So on the agency side, it’s more creative and it’s about showing them how you solve their problem. But on the client side, you can suggest changes to the product to improve it. In this way, I found myself innovating within companies.

Source: provided

Launch of Mys Tyler

Sarah returned to Sydney just before the pandemic in 2020 and joined the Antler Global Acceleration Program to begin working full-time on Mys Tyler.

She came to the table with two clear trends she had noticed in the market.

“When I was at Mint Mobile, the last company I was at, I got to see how powerful affiliate marketing was,” Sarah said. “Before, you would see these crappy banner ads to sell products. But now, affiliate marketing is a great low-risk, scalable option.

So when users find clothes they like and follow the links online to buy them through the app, Mys Tyler can take a small commission.

She also wanted to incorporate the rise of micro-influencers into the app.

“We are seeing this trend shift from macro-influencers to micro-influencers on social media. Users are drawn to them because they seem more genuine and engaging and would actually respond to your posts. »

By recruiting them as designers, Mys Tyler could match users’ body data with them for fashion inspiration so women could see similarly sized women in various outfits.

Not only did this approach introduce different styles for users to try, but it also addressed the high return rates for fashion retailers that cost the industry a fortune and harm the environment.

“It felt like a huge inefficiency,” Sarah noted. “You can’t solve this problem with height, because height, body shape and other factors are important. So, by matching your profile with other women of similar measurements, Mys Tyler lets you see what the clothes look like with a better guarantee that they will fit you.

READ MORE: Eight inspiring female entrepreneurs share their secret to success in 2022

Sarah Neil
Photo by: Grégory Beltré

Inspire and support women

“In the first email I received after launch, a woman said to me, ‘Thank you, Mys Tyler. I felt fat and ugly most of my life, and now, at 76, I feel human,” Sarah recalls. “It was such a lovely message – and I was pleasantly surprised that a 76 year old man managed to find our app!

“It’s amazing to think that these women haven’t been represented in fashion for so long. They don’t feel out of place even though they are a perfectly normal size. In Australia, the average woman ranges from size 14 to size 16.

“Then there is also age, helping women who are maybe 45 or 50 years old. They seek fashion inspiration, but also want to be age appropriate. After all, you’re not going to wear the same clothes in your 20s as you did in your 40s,” Sarah noted.

“We found that age is huge. They are women with purchasing power who want to spend but don’t know what to spend their money on.

Now planning to expand into hair and beauty, Mys Tyler’s body data collection is proving invaluable to brands.

Sarah recalled a case where an American bra company was able to target its remaining inventory to specific users with that cup size through a super clearance or flash sale.

“It was a great way to reach people without diluting their brand because not everyone sees these ads,” she added.

The best advice received

According to Sarah, the best advice she received came from one of her company’s early-career investors who told her, “You gotta shoot, then be ready, aim.”

“That meant you just had to do something, then learn where you were at, then tinker and start building,” she explained. “You can have plans A, B, C, but it’s only when you start doing these steps that you realize that there are actually 17 other steps involved in getting anything done!

“I think women are very hard on ourselves, and that’s where we have a hard time getting started. We judge ourselves based on what we have done in the past. This is where we place our value rather than see the potential.

The successful launch of Mys Tyler to build a strong female community remains one of Sarah’s proudest moments.

“The women have developed friendships thanks to this network that we have built; they felt seen and represented. Sometimes when I’m having a bad day, I go back to the app to see those interactions and remember what we accomplished. »

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