If you’ve ever wished you could shop the streets of Soho from your sofa, or browse boutiques in Bucktown from Boston, or check out celeb-favorite shops in LA from your favorite coffee shop in Chicago, today is your day.
We’re talking about Reppio, a super-awesome Chicago startup that officially launched this morning. The site brings local shops online and together in one place, while also bringing them to a national audience. Reppio is currently in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, so you can browse the wares of hundreds of the coolest boutiques in these cities online. 🙂 🙂 🙂 is all we have to say about that.
To tell us more about Reppio, we talked to one of the founders, Annie Margaret Dean, about where the idea came from, what can be found on the site, how to sign up and more. Take it away, Annie!
WHAT’S THE IDEA BEHIND REPPIO?
We’re all about local discovery and exploration. In food, you use Yelp or Urbanspoon to discover food spots like a local. While travel and or looking for cool activities, you have sites like Airbnb or Metromix that helps you feel right at home. But in shopping, all of these magazines and ads are marketing the same mainstream shops found in major shopping boulevards (Mag Mile, Fifth Ave., Rodeo Drive).
Our mission is to enable anyone to shop like a local. Anyone who’s walked along the streets of Soho or Venice Beach know some of the coolest shopping happens off-the-beaten path. We want to embrace (and encourage) the experience of stumbling upon a hidden gem; and we believe that technology can help people connect with these unique shops.
WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM?
We all (the founders) have a ardent interest in local fashion & cool lifestyle products. But at our former jobs, we couldn’t really stay up to date because we were working crazy long hours in finance and management consulting. We didn’t have the luxury of checking a bunch of different shopping blogs or walking into a bunch of random neighborhoods for hours in search of cool stores (even though we wanted to).
However, one thing all of us had in common was plenty of time in front of our computers. The shopping, the sharing, the exploration all happened at our computers. So we thought, how great would it be to bring a local shopping experience onto one, easy to follow platform that any of us could use in our own time.
And what we saw from other online sites was that the experience was very utilitarian-driven (what we like to call “purposeful shopping” i.e. search & find). But, in real life, when you go shopping with your friends, most people don’t know what they’re looking for; they just like the aspect of stumbling into something cool, finding something that hits their style that they didn’t purposefully set out to buy (what we call tangential discovery). And because so many online shops were focused on global mainstream retailers and just e-commerce or m-commerce, we thought that the broader tech community was inherently missing how people shop locally — whether local shopping means your neighborhood or a favorite small boutique that you visited a year ago while traveling.
HOW MANY STORES ARE CURRENTLY REPRESENTED FROM CHICAGO?
We currently have about 150 stores in Chicago.
WHAT SORTS OF STORES DO YOU FEATURE?
We curate what locals tell us are their favorites — again, our focus is on unique and non-mainstream. Specifically, we have items running the gambit from men’s and women’s fashion, to home decor & gifts.
YOU LAUNCHED REPPIO IN BETA OVER THE SUMMER, BUT YOU’RE RE-LAUNCHING TODAY. WHAT’S NEW?
We’re launching a completely redesigned site that allows for the introduction of two new cities (NY & LA) as well as our City Guides. All of the legwork we put into this launch will allow us to expedite the debut of new shopping destinations. SF and Miami are coming in December, and our goal is to be launching international destinations in 2014.
We’ve had thousands of beta testers providing feedback regarding how we could improve the shopping experience. What you see today is a reflection of authentic user feedback.
That said, we are continually striving to improve the user experience and are always happy for feedback. Any Lux & Concord user is welcome to reach out me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE LIKE, BOTH FROM RETAILERS AND CONSUMERS, TO THE BETA LAUNCH?
Our users loved the unique shops we had, but we learned that there are only a small portion who shop exclusively unique and local. Most people mix and match, and we needed to provide a balance in our curation.
Our retailers believe in our vision and have been working with us from our initial prototype onward. Now they’re more excited than ever because with our expansion, they’re getting access to new markets & customer bases.
HOW CAN PEOPLE SIGN UP FOR THE SITE?
Starting today, you can sign up with email or Facebook.