Have you ever experienced the headache and veritable wild goose chase of trying to track down your dream dress at an affordable price? How about that time you saved for three months to purchase that to-die-for Michael Kors bag, only to find it sold out when you were ready to purchase?
What now? You may scour the internet for the exact item and come up empty-handed. You may find it, and it could be overpriced. Or you could find exactly what you’re looking for, at a great price. You order it from the company, wait with baited breath for weeks, and then the magical day comes when your purchase arrives on your doorstep. With hands shaking from excitement, you gleefully open the package, and just as quickly, you deflate. This is not what you ordered. Maybe it’s the wrong colour, or the wrong size. Maybe it’s a knockoff.
If you’re like most online shoppers, you’ve certainly run into this kind of problem before, and it can leave a sour taste, affecting your future online shopping purchases. Some even give up online shopping altogether!
Anthea Murray, Founder of The Fashion Sleuth, has mastered the difficult art of tracking down the perfect item in an overwhelming sea of options, so much that friends and family began approaching her for help. She recognised the frustration her fellow online shoppers faced, and understood the need for a service for the disgruntled masses.
“Sometimes customers look at what I am wearing and they’d ask me where I bought it. Other friends started asking, ‘There is a ring I want for my wedding, can you help me find it?’. Some of my male friends would ask for help when they wanted get their girlfriends’ gifts for Christmas,” says Ms Murray.
“Then the next thing you know, I start getting additional calls from people I’ve never met. Friends of friends would say, ‘Hi, we heard that you are really good at finding things online. Could you help me with something?’ That’s when the idea for The Fashion Sleuth kicked off.”
In November, Ms Murray launched The Fashion Sleuth, an online service that searches the web to find the holy grails of fashion consumers so desperately seek. The Fashion Sleuth launched in November. It’s a retrieval operation of sorts – the customer can describe the exact item, detail, size, and even how much they are willing to pay. The Fashion Sleuth’s staff then delves deep into the web to find the best matches.
Not only do they deliver the user’s best options, the risk of getting ripped off is almost zero. The Fashion Sleuth can smell a sour deal coming a mile away, meaning that if the user tells them they want an authentic Chanel pink quilted handbag, they will be getting the real deal. No knock-offs or designer imposters allowed! Not only that, but The Fashion Sleuth does not market “sponsored” retailers, meaning that no one’s paying them to carry favour.
In a radical departure from, perhaps, most other websites on the planet, The Fashion Sleuth is customer-oriented and not influenced by paying sponsors to promote their products. Instead, the startup maintains a massive database of online retailers to search from that’s updated daily, assuring that the user gets the most bang for their buck.
Further, not only is The Fashion Sleuth thorough, but also quick. Searches take on average 15 to 20 minutes, and results are delivered to the user’s inbox. The email gives the user a brief description of their findings, and if they’re pleased with the results, they pay a finder’s fee. $4.99 gives the user three results and hours of time saved if they’d searched for the items themself.
Users can sign up via a simple online form, or use a one-click registration with their social networking accounts. The Fashion Sleuth is still in its infancy, but the site fills a gaping hole in the retail industry, providing what is known as ‘time utility’ – that is, the biggest benefit of using their service is the time and energy consumers save.
Ms Murray plans to expand the site to include more search options and price structures, and new retailers are being added to the The Fashion Sleuth database every day. The site is quickly catching fire, attracting scores of new users each day. The future is looking bright for this Australian startup.
Take a tour of the site via www.thefashionsleuth.com.