The Loop is a tool made for fashion retailers to better understand how customers behave and why they buy from their stores. This data helps brands improve their in-store customer experience, and facilitates operational efficiency. Unlike tools tracking one dimension of shopping, like people-counting or thermal-sensors, we capture unique information on how people shop using information generated by shoppers themselves, enabling clothing stores to survive in a digital world.
The Loop us an early stage startup with three partners working on developing the product.
The Loop team is led by Bunmi who has a background in Fashion, E-commerce and Product Development at Amazon and Yoox – Net a Porter. The product is run by Oz, who is an expert Product Development, Design and Architectural Engineering. Oz is an MBA from the University of Oxford, with a Diploma in Artificial Intelligence from Columbia, and a Masters from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Lastly, Operations & Partnerships are coordinated by Napala who has spent her professional career in Growth and Strategy for early-stage startups and luxury retailers. She holds an MBA from University of Oxford and graduated summa cum laude in Biochemistry from Saint Mary’s College of California
I was afraid of entrepreneurship because I saw my family’s business collapse. Consequently, I never wanted to pursue any ideas, because I was afraid of the risk of failure. However, in time, I realised that rather than look at my past encounters of entrepreneurship as a warning, I was better off looking at them as lessons and examples. I got more confident in my abilities and less insecure about my shortcomings and I knew if I never tried to bring at least one of these ideas to life, I would always regret it.
Translating an idea from imagination into a living breathing entity
The Loop was a finalist in the Pembroke College Estee Lauder Innovation Challenge in March 2018. Even though we did not win, we got positive feedback from competition judges and executives from Estee Lauder. We then proceeded to share the idea with professors at Said Business School who are deeply connected in the retail industry. They were very excited by the prospects and encouraged us to pursue the idea. They went further connect us to individuals in the fashion retail industry. At that point, we realised that we had our fingers on the pulse of a major opportunity in fashion.
Listening Skills: because there is always something new to learn on your journey
Courage: some of the demands and conversations you need to have are intimidating or uncomfortable but you ought to muster the courage to overcome that fear
Analytical Skills: every entrepreneur will have to be an expert on every aspect of their business in the initial stages. It is crucial, therefore to learn how to analyse situations, data, and information quickly to enable one interrogate them and make informed decisions.
Waking up every morning being completely driven to get this infant business into a fully grown company
Natalie Massenet, she started selling luxury clothes online when no-one thought it possible. Eventually, she founded the largest luxury company Net-a-Porter and invested in another groundbreaking luxury marketplace, Farfetch. The Loop aims to be the tool that revolutionizes the century-old model of fashion retail and I believe we have a lot in common with Ms. Massanet.
I would like to understand how best to present the Loop to fashion retailers to convert them into active clients
I would like to know if she believes in the Loop and can see it as the kind of company she can attach her brand to
Lesson 1: Not resting. While an entrepreneur’s life is driven by the business, it is critical to have time set aside to rest, rejuvenate and de-stress. Even if it is a few minutes in the day.
Lesson 2: You do not have to say yes to all help. There are many people who might purport to help or invest but as an entrepreneur, it is important to be very discerning about who you give such access to
We are still in the process of fundraising
Currently, we are self-funded
There are three very great things about being an entrepreneur in Oxford
– There are many resources in Oxford to help you get off the ground
– There is such great talent in Oxford that also has an entrepreneurial passion
– There is always encouragement on every corner
Oxford University Innovation
The Oxford Foundry
Give yourself enough time to test out your business and have a hard checkpoint defined that will determine whether you continue, or give up