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The big entrpreneur 'kill my idea' thread


yadayada
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Im posting this because I have an idea and not the skills to execute, and would like some suggestions.

 

I was looking at some pictures of some v well dressed celebrities, and thought to myself that I dress pretty badly. And the reason is not money, but I just dont like shopping. Usually i cant find much, and end up just buying something. Because I dont feel like spending 3 hours walking in and out of stores and trying alot of things on. Usually after half an hour I am sick of it already. I also dont know where to find stores with well priced but solid clothes.

 

ANd buying online sucks, becuase you cant fit it.

 

So how about a website that helps you with this, and makes it much easier and less time consuming?

First you enter sizes of your own clothes to determine the users size . This is because different sized clothes fit differently. Armani's XL is some other brands M. This would be handy if you just want to order online. But I could see how this part is difficult to execute.

 

Then you can put together your own outfit on the website. Try different combinations, and maybe get some suggestions which colors go well together. Get suggestions and pictures of different styles. You could ofcourse easily share pictures on facebook to get feedback.

 

Then after you are done, you are shown where to buy these clothes online or in the area close to you (maybe put in your area before you put together your outfit).

 

I think the execution part requires a knowledge of fashion, and will take up alot of time of putting together a database of clothes and how well they fit. Also a database of where to buy which clothes. This is probably quite a bit of work.

 

But if this would exist, I would use the shit out of it. Because I hate and suck at clothes shopping. But I like to look good :) .

 

Thoughts (on execution, keeping off competition etc)?

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Given that this is a value investing forum and there's even "how frugal are you" thread, input from this board may not be as relevant as many people here may not be your target demographic.  I.e. I think this is the wrong demographic to try.  I myself would like the idea, but I wouldn't want to pay for the service because I am also frugal, and your idea does indeed take a lot of work.

 

For killing/validating your entrepreneur ideas, I would suggest finding your target demographics through reddit/facebook, but at the same time - i believe many people will say that it's interesting to avoid offense, and the only way to truly test if your idea is viable is to charge money in advance.  Noah Kagan/Tim Ferris does this and has volumes of posts dedicated to validating ideas, it's kind of the "new age" of entrepreneurship.

 

The best way to validate ideas IMHO, cheaply if not free is to kickstarter it.  If you think your idea is great, kickstarter it, market the hell out of that, and see if it resonates with people.

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Idk, I think fashion just changes too much and it would be too hard to monetize. 

 

There are also sites with tons of information that are free (but not the exact service you are proposing).

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/malefashionadvice

http://www.reddit.com/r/frugalmalefashion/

 

Edit:

Just found an interesting site: http://crowdapparel.com/

Crowd sourcing for bulk discounts

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Given that this is a value investing forum and there's even "how frugal are you" thread, input from this board may not be as relevant as many people here may not be your target demographic.  I.e. I think this is the wrong demographic to try.  I myself would like the idea, but I wouldn't want to pay for the service because I am also frugal, and your idea does indeed take a lot of work.

 

For killing/validating your entrepreneur ideas, I would suggest finding your target demographics through reddit/facebook, but at the same time - i believe many people will say that it's interesting to avoid offense, and the only way to truly test if your idea is viable is to charge money in advance.  Noah Kagan/Tim Ferris does this and has volumes of posts dedicated to validating ideas, it's kind of the "new age" of entrepreneurship.

 

The best way to validate ideas IMHO, cheaply if not free is to kickstarter it.  If you think your idea is great, kickstarter it, market the hell out of that, and see if it resonates with people.

yeah and it seems easier then ever to get funding for start ups. This should also appeal to people who dont want to spend much on clothes. Or want to put together a nice outfit on a budget. It would work like an online app where you can compose your own outfits on some virtual model, and then you are directed to the place where they sell these exact clothes. It would be a time saver , and you can put together nicer outfits.

 

And it would have built in little hints like, what colors not to put together etc.

 

ANd it would be free. I think you would need other ways to monetize this.

 

And to build up a database of where to get what clothes, you simply go to clothing stores to ask for their inventory. I am sure you could provide them something in return for this small service.

 

Basicly it would make shopping more efficient and effective if you are not savvy with picking out nice clothes. And most men arent I think.

 

http://www.trunkclub.com

 

Sounds somewhat like trunk club. They pick expensive clothes for you and send you outfits. You send them back what you don't want. It pops up on my Facebook newsfeed a lot. I've never used it.

No this is different, you cannot quickly compose your outfit, and it is more expensive. Also a limited selection I think. It is more an advanced online clothing store. My idea is more a broker idea, wouldn't sell any clothes.

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The real killer is that two Armani XLs are not the same size and cut. What you need is tailored measurements or an image file which are uploaded to a vendor who makes the item for you, and as far as I know both ventures exist already.

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Had a thought this afternoon.  I'm surprised no one has invented a 'netflix' for women's shoes.  This would be for stylish shoes that are for a few uses, or dress shoes for a special occasion.  You sign up, then pick the shoes you want.  You wear them a few times then send them back, they're sanitized and mailed out again.

 

My wife is always buying shoes for one dress or one outfit.  The shoes are barely worn often.

 

Here's how the economics would break down, say $15 a month for this service with the limit of two pairs of shoes.  Or you could pay $30/mo for better shoes.

 

Each pair of shoes might have 100 users before they're worn out, each user wears the shoes 5 times, so a shoe goes to 20 customers.  That's $150 per pair of shoes.  Now say you get volume discounts and really only pay $40 per shoe, that's $110 per shoe for workers, taxes, IT systems etc.

 

I think you'd get more uses out of the shoes or could get them even cheaper.  Maybe work with a knockoff manufacturer to make imitation stylish shoes that look almost exactly the same for a fraction of the cost.

 

The hurdle for this is the 'ick' factor.  Who wants to wear someone else's shoes?  If you clean and sanitize them what's the problem?  I'd happily buy anyone's men's dress shoes if they're very lightly used and sanitized.

 

The key to making this work is getting women who aspire to having fashionable shoes, but who are very light on them.  I can see adding a fee if you destroy the shoes, a replacement fee.  If someone keeps a pair for six months and wears them out before sending them back you charge them a fee to cover the cost.  So you get the cost of the shoes back, plus you also get the monthly payments for months when they weren't getting any new shoes because they were working on destroying a pair.

 

This seems like an interesting business problem to tackle.  Clearly venture capital would be needed up front to build out some sort of inventory system, and also to acquire the shoes themselves.

 

I wonder what other rarely used items could be subscribed to in the mail in this manner?

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fyi,  there are many startup in the new york city area that are in this space, doing various thing that are similar ... many

 

they are not well known yet ... or ever will be

 

i honestly can't recall any names, i have been to various incubator in the new york city tech scene, i have seen encounter many fashion related startups, by mail or sharing fashion or curated fashion etc.

 

it's a giant big blur for me after seeing so many, i can't recall any :)

 

here is one example:

 

http://www.topshelfclothes.com/

 

 

EDIT: most likely whatever idea you have, someone else already had it, it all boils down to "implementation"

 

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http://paulgraham.com/ds.html

 

Do things that don't scale. You don't need to build the whole darn website before you even have a business. You do need to be able to provide the service to your customers, however, which it does not sound like you are able to do. That's the real sticking point, not the idea.

 

You can get a co-founder who understands fashion trends, but you'd also need a technical co-founder. You don't really need you as a founder, so it doesn't make sense for you to start the venture.

 

The business side of any venture can be gauged by actually starting the business. Hopefully you can do this without spending much money (do things that don't scale, automate/build out the infrastructure later). If you ship a product, even if it's a very crude v1.0, you get customer feedback and can make tweaks. Most startups don't end up looking anything like they had planned at the beginning. You just have to iterate quickly and do more of what works.

 

And, like others have said, the value is in the execution, not the idea. A lot of people were working on websites that allowed people to rent out apartments to strangers, but only Airbnb is raising capital at a $10bn valuation.

 

If you get to the end of your college days and you still haven't started a business, I doubt you ever will. Lots of people have ideas, few even attempt to execute.

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Thanks for that article. Bodymetrics looks really interesting. I think this is where the real money is. If you can develop a great body-mapping product, it will solve a lot of problems for online fashion retailers. Issues with clothing size are probably the most important thing that's holding online retailers back and a competitive advantage for traditional stores. I think Amazon would pay a lot of money for a startup that is able to solve that problem. They're probably working on a solution themselves. At some point the problem will be solved by someone. An online shop could automatically filter out all the products that don't fit you. People would worry less about a product not fitting and be more inclined to shop for clothes online. Product returns would go down, driving down costs. Online shopping for clothes would become much more attractive to consumers and the cost advantages and convenience compared to shopping at a B&M store would become more important to them.

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If you get to the end of your college days and you still haven't started a business, I doubt you ever will. Lots of people have ideas, few even attempt to execute.

 

That's just like saying if you make it past 25 and haven't made it big in music yet you never will. There are many famous musicians who prove this wrong.

 

There are a lot of things I'm doing now that I would have never had the experience or ability to do when I was in college or younger.  I started a business at 30, although I was always entrepreneurial when younger it was my first foray.

 

My dad started his own business this year in his 60s, by all measures it's going fine.  I never knew he had the entrepreneur gene in him, but when push came to shove he went out on his own and did what needed to be done.

 

I wish I could find the stat but there's a breakdown of business success by the age of the founder.  Businesses started by founders in their 30s and greater usually become profitable and survive.  This is because people that age can't afford to fail, they have a house, a wife, kids, a lot of things riding on their decision.

 

I'd say a lot of experience on this board invalidates your claim.  How many investors are there who started managing money (running an asset management business) in their 30s and 40s who never started anything in college?  There are many! 

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Thanks for that article. Bodymetrics looks really interesting. I think this is where the real money is. If you can develop a great body-mapping product, it will solve a lot of problems for online fashion retailers. Issues with clothing size are probably the most important thing that's holding online retailers back and a competitive advantage for traditional stores. I think Amazon would pay a lot of money for a startup that is able to solve that problem. They're probably working on a solution themselves. At some point the problem will be solved by someone. An online shop could automatically filter out all the products that don't fit you. People would worry less about a product not fitting and be more inclined to shop for clothes online. Product returns would go down, driving down costs. Online shopping for clothes would become much more attractive to consumers and the cost advantages and convenience compared to shopping at a B&M store would become more important to them.

isnt the problem also to know what clothes fit to that size? That is something that is constantly changing. There are roughly 3 body types, and getting your body type and measurements shouldnt be that hard?

 

How would you match up certain measurements effectively against like a L Hugo boss sweater? It also seems that it is in the interest of a clothing line to not make this too efficient right? You want this to be uncertain so people stick to your brand once they found something they like. And you want people who dont fit for your brand to buy as much clothes before they move on to another brand. If it becomes more efficient, people buy less clothes.

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If you get to the end of your college days and you still haven't started a business, I doubt you ever will. Lots of people have ideas, few even attempt to execute.

 

That's just like saying if you make it past 25 and haven't made it big in music yet you never will. There are many famous musicians who prove this wrong.

 

There are a lot of things I'm doing now that I would have never had the experience or ability to do when I was in college or younger.  I started a business at 30, although I was always entrepreneurial when younger it was my first foray.

 

My dad started his own business this year in his 60s, by all measures it's going fine.  I never knew he had the entrepreneur gene in him, but when push came to shove he went out on his own and did what needed to be done.

 

I wish I could find the stat but there's a breakdown of business success by the age of the founder.  Businesses started by founders in their 30s and greater usually become profitable and survive.  This is because people that age can't afford to fail, they have a house, a wife, kids, a lot of things riding on their decision.

 

I'd say a lot of experience on this board invalidates your claim.  How many investors are there who started managing money (running an asset management business) in their 30s and 40s who never started anything in college?  There are many!

 

I guess I really meant 'startup,' not just any business. Sure, many businesses are better started by people with experience (asset management is a good example). Startups, defined as speculative ventures that have huge growth potential, can be started by anybody. The majority of VC-backed startups have founders that are 30+ years old, but I'm talking about the likelihood that any one person will ever start a startup. The people I knew in college who are now working on startups were also working on startups -- or at least 'businesses' -- when they were in college. I also knew people in college who had a lot of business ideas but never put them to the test; none of them run a business today.

 

My point is that if you are not resourceful or curious enough to start a business in college, you probably are not among the small segment of the population that will eventually start a startup. I'm just identifying character traits, not saying that someone needs the 'experience' of a college business to start one later on.

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My variation on this idea is make it a subscription clothes-buying service. You would have a Netflix like queue, which would be augmented by a recommendation engine based on your size and selections. Each month the site would send you the top $100 or $200 from your queue. It could be asset light by third party sourcing instead of keeping inventory.

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On the side-topic of entrepreneurship and age, from a PBS article:

 

Research that my team completed in 2009 determined that the average age of a successful entrepreneur in high-growth industries such as computers, health care, and aerospace is 40. Twice as many successful entrepreneurs are over 50 as under 25; and twice as many, over 60 as under 20. The vast majority — 75 percent — have more than six years of industry experience and half have more than 10 years when they create their startup.

...

The lesson here is that ideas come from need; understanding of need comes from experience; and experience comes with age.

 

It's a stereotype that only/mostly young guys start companies.

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On the side-topic of entrepreneurship and age, from a PBS article:

 

Research that my team completed in 2009 determined that the average age of a successful entrepreneur in high-growth industries such as computers, health care, and aerospace is 40. Twice as many successful entrepreneurs are over 50 as under 25; and twice as many, over 60 as under 20. The vast majority — 75 percent — have more than six years of industry experience and half have more than 10 years when they create their startup.

...

The lesson here is that ideas come from need; understanding of need comes from experience; and experience comes with age.

 

It's a stereotype that only/mostly young guys start companies.

 

Fair enough. My sample is obviously biased because I'm 24 years old, so most of my experience is with young people. There are young people who have a lot of ideas but come up with all sorts of excuses as to why they can't execute them; those are people that I write off as 'not the entrepreneurial type.'

 

I know lots of middle-aged and older men in the oil & gas business that started their own gig. That's my model of over-40 entrepreneurialism.

 

So I guess my data set is a bit skewed. But I'd still bet that someone who is young and has aspirations to start a business, but doesn't ever get around to it while they're still young, probably won't ever start a business; they're missing that entrepreneurial compulsion.

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To run a business, it is easier if you get yourself a competitive edge. This can be having the right connections or being an expert in some niche area. If you have those, plus some capital, the chances of success are higher than without. A potential entrepreneur is more likely to have these connections/ expertise and possibly even capital with a few years working experience in their industry of choice, rather than just being a college student.

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On the side-topic of entrepreneurship and age, from a PBS article:

 

Research that my team completed in 2009 determined that the average age of a successful entrepreneur in high-growth industries such as computers, health care, and aerospace is 40. Twice as many successful entrepreneurs are over 50 as under 25; and twice as many, over 60 as under 20. The vast majority — 75 percent — have more than six years of industry experience and half have more than 10 years when they create their startup.

...

The lesson here is that ideas come from need; understanding of need comes from experience; and experience comes with age.

 

It's a stereotype that only/mostly young guys start companies.

 

Fair enough. My sample is obviously biased because I'm 24 years old, so most of my experience is with young people. There are young people who have a lot of ideas but come up with all sorts of excuses as to why they can't execute them; those are people that I write off as 'not the entrepreneurial type.'

 

I know lots of middle-aged and older men in the oil & gas business that started their own gig. That's my model of over-40 entrepreneurialism.

 

So I guess my data set is a bit skewed. But I'd still bet that someone who is young and has aspirations to start a business, but doesn't ever get around to it while they're still young, probably won't ever start a business; they're missing that entrepreneurial compulsion.

 

Not everyone has the resources, economic and otherwise, to have the luxury of starting a business when they're young.  Some people also take longer to grow into themselves and find their way.  Don't confuse the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world as being the common experience of everyone.  Also, don't confuse a relatively narrow niche of tech startups with starting a business generally.  For example, plenty of plumbing or electrician businesses get started and I doubt most of those are started by someone who is young.  There are far more plumbers and electricians starting their own business than there are tech startups.

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