One stylish new app

“Instagram for fashion,” Villoid lets users play with styles and instantly purchase what they like

Photo: iTunes  Screenshot of the Villoid app.

Photo: iTunes
Screenshot of the Villoid app.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

Just before New York Fashion Week Alexa Chung told her two million Instagram followers that she was launching a new shopping app called Villoid. It’s like Instagram for fashion, but with a buy button so the customer can purchase their favorites instantly. Villoid is like a dressing up box, where the customer can experiment, celebrate, and play with clothes from hundreds of brands as well as upload their own images to match the mood.

The startup has been around for a year under the name of SoBazaar. That company was started by Jeanette Dyhre Kvisvik and Jarle Snertingdalen as a daughter company of Telenor Digital Media. Dyhre Kvisvik has experience from McKinsey & Co., as a TV hostess and lawyer, and has started several mobile marketing and e-commerce companies. Snertingdalen has worked for the game company Funcom.

The Villoid app was launched in Norway and reached a 25 percent market share within a few months. Today the company has ten employees and is located in the incubator, MESH, in downtown Oslo.

The app is backed by Telenor, a Norwegian telecom company, and Shibsted Media Group, a global online media company. The startup makes money through generic and individual agreements, advertising, and other relevant agreements. Developing the app is risky, but the good news is that it is very easy to scale up. The business plan is to reach customers by involving users with many followers on social media like Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube instead of traditional marketing.

Photo: iTunes

Photo: iTunes

Dyhre Kvisvik teamed up with fashion icon Alexa Chung in New York to create and launch Villoid. Chung knows the fashion industry, but lacked the technology insight. She had thought about creating her own app. Together they might be dynamite in the fashion industry. Only five years ago, a few fashion editors would decide who and what was cool. According to the CEO and founder, that decision has shifted to the people. Today community trumps the elite. Social media stars are more important to young people than movie stars.

Villoid merges social media and community thinking with e-commerce. The app has social features inspired by several popular social networking apps, where users can share favorite products on an interest board, follow like-minded fashionistas for style inspiration, and use the buy button to get their favorite products shipped to their doorstep. Users think of it as a place to create mood boards using products, which are shareable with friends and also can land right in the customer’s closet with a simple purchase.

The world is changing, and the marketplaces are changing with it. Commerce based on mobile is growing and apps are growing even faster. Villoid tries to be at the forefront of that development!

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 20, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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