Spanish entrepreneur Mercè Saperas Aymar is the CEO and Co-Founder of a Tinder-inspired fashion app, called YUMEHUB. The idea is simple: you upload a photo of your outfit, and other users swipe right to like it, and left to dislike, giving you instant feedback.
Where did the idea come from?
When Mercè Saperas Aymar first met her co-founder Patricia Jordà Morillas, they quickly discovered that they had two passions in common: fashion and technology. Since then, they knew that one day they would start a company together. Even when Mercè moved to New York City in 2014 to pursue her MBA degree — leaving Patricia behind in Barcelona— the two stayed in close contact. “We kept talking about different ideas and exploring different business models we had in mind, to see if we could find one to work on and pursue,” says Mercè.
After Mercè’s move to New York, she found it hard to find quick, honest, fashion advice. “My mom, like me, is a fashion lover,” says Mercè. “We normally send each other different outfits through WhatsApp saying, ‘Hey, what should I buy? What should I wear? Does this look good?’” But with the time difference between USA and Barcelona, Mercè was unable to get trustworthy feedback on time. “I was sending screenshots to my mom because she was the only one who would tell me honestly, ‘you don’t look good in that.’” By the time her mom would answer, Mercè would have already made her decision or left the store.
Mercè describes a conversation between her and Patricia: “I said to her, ‘how cool would it be if someone could reply immediately to you with honest feedback about how you look?’” The pair realized in that moment that the idea had potential to be a great app. Eventually, YUMEHUB became the end product of the friends’ shared idea.
How does it work?
Officially launched in March 2017, the premise of the app is simple: users swipe through pictures of outfits that other users have uploaded. A swipe right means they like it, a swipe left means they don’t, and a swipe up means they “super like” it. This design was inspired by the popular dating app, Tinder, where the same technique is used (for people, not outfits).
If a user wants opinions on their own outfits, they can share their pictures either in singles, or in sets of two. A single picture gives other users the option to simply like or dislike the outfit, whereas the two-picture option asks others to decide which outfit looks better. “If you’re looking for answers, that’s the place,” says Mercè, describing how liking one outfit automatically dislikes the other. “You can only choose one. What happens if everyone likes both of them, or dislikes both of them? The person gets no answer. So you can only swipe right on your favourite of the two.”
YUMEHUB also uses an original algorithm that connects users with content depending on how they behave and react to certain displays. “The app itself is quite complicated,” says Mercè. “We use artificial intelligence to adopt the content to each user.”
“Let’s say you have a particular style and you give feedback in a particular way,” she explains. “The app will keep learning who you are and what you like, and then it will show you different pictures based on that. At some point, users will open the app and all be visualizing different things.”
What makes the app original?
Fashion advice groups and columns have existed for decades. Facebook has many social groups where members post an outfit and others can comment and give feedback. But Mercè says what makes YUMEHUB stand out is its lack of words. “The method of feedback is extremely simple,” she says. One of the aims of this wordless function is to allow people from all over the world to give feedback to others without a language barrier.
“What if someone in Tokyo wants to give you feedback?” she says. This separates the app from other social media accounts where written reactions are given in comment sections.
YUMEHUB is also designed to eliminate harmful words and comments. “This is not an app where people can text and tell you, ‘You look great, you look fat, you look bad.’ It is an app where people can receive fast and honest feedback, that’s it,” says Mercè. The straightforward system acts as a middleman and removes the possibility for harassment and bullying.
She also describes the anonymity of the app as one of its best features. “We are not a social media app,” she stresses. “We do not have that social media focus. There is no way to know where feedback comes from, and this is how we can ensure it is honest.” Mercè mentions her experience with honesty, and how she only trusts her mom’s willingness to be open with her. “People want to hear the truth,” she says. “We are solving a problem for those people that have no way to get honest opinions.” The anonymous umbrella allows users to make unbridled decisions and swipe through their favourite options.
What’s next for YUMEHUB?
“We’d like to be a 360 degree app in terms of fashion,” says Mercè. “In the end, we want it to be a platform that answers all your style and fashion questions and you can be inspired by others.” She lists a variety of functions they eventually want to add on: “The app will help you choose your best outfit, give you special offers, know what you like and what you are going to like, connect you with brands, and give you fashion perks.”
“One of my favourite features that is going to come at the end of 2017 is going to be a function to have feedback from professional stylists,” says Mercè excitedly, describing a format where users will receive instant advice from fashion bloggers and fashion experts.
She also explained a future feature that will allow users to submit a picture of a piece of clothing, and others will send back pictures of that item used in an outfit. “I think it will be really useful, because a lot of the time I buy something just because I love it,” she explains. “But then a lot of the times I’m going, ‘Oh, how am I going to wear that? What do I even combine it with?’ So just by sending a picture to YUMEHUB, they can send me pictures of that same item combined with something.”
When asked if it would become a paid app, Mercè highlighted that YUMEHUB will always be a free app, but they may add some paid features under a “premium” label. She also mentions that they “don’t want this to be an app that will push ads and brands all the time. This is a place for peer to peer feedback and to help each other be inspired.”