A Q&A with Uncovet co-founder Heather Lipner. The Santa Monica, California-based company was founded in late 2011 and launched publicly out of the Science startup platform in mid-June.
SUB: Please describe what Uncovet is, and the value proposition you offer to consumers.
Lipner: Sure—we’re a personalized shopping service, presenting real-time on-trend home and fashion goods across all genres. Our style graph maps users to newest trends they’ll like, helping customers refine and develop their personal style.
SUB: Who are your target users?
Lipner: Our customers are the trendsetters. They are passionate about fashion and home decor, always interested in the new, unique and stylish.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Lipner: OfaKind, in the sense that we have a similar audience. However, Uncovet and OfaKind are very different companies. Uncovet’s product is social-driven and we feature a new personalized set of 25-plus products daily, at a discount, from new to vintage pieces, with an inventory range of 1-to-100s. OfaKind does not offer discounts, features one product a day at a limited quantity, and there is no personalization.
SUB: What differentiates Uncovet from the competition?
Lipner: We understand the trends within the design and fashion world. We only present unique, cool, on-trend products. Our customer is fashion-forward and passionate about style. Our style graph maps our customers with products they will like, allowing them to get what they want first. No other company is dedicated to this audience and their likes in such a deep and socially rewarding methodology like Uncovet.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Lipner: End of 2011. Our first steps included strategy, branding, site design and team.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Uncovet? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Lipner: I’ve been in the tech and design world for my entire career, solving problems and improving the way we do things. I really wanted to create one place to get unique, very cool products first before they are all over the major retailers. Uncovet is presenting tons of new products everyday—they are all on the cusp of a trend and our community is strong, social and passionate. It’s been gradual in the sense that we continue to develop new site functionality to support the community and growth.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Lipner: There’s a lot that needs to get done on a daily basis. In addition to that, we have many product improvements we release weekly. The biggest obstacle is getting everything done in a very short time period to the highest quality.
SUB: You just launched publicly last month. Why was this a particularly good time to launch?
Lipner: We needed to make sure we could handle the day-to-day business to keep our customers happy—enough inventory, site performance, customer satisfaction. Once we could handle all the traffic and customers we were ready to move out of private beta.
SUB: Do you plan to raise outside funding in the near future?
Lipner: Yes, contact [email protected] for more information.
SUB: What are your goals for Uncovet over the next year or so?
Lipner: We will be releasing mobile applications, deeper social features, and servicing international customers. Moreover, it’s all about our customers and of course new customers.
Uncovet – www.uncovet.com