Hello and welcome to another incredible Farm Brand interview. This week, we were honored to speak to two incredible individuals, Chloe Kan and Garrett Schraad, behind a soon to launch fashion eCommerce platform known as “Showay”.
Not only is the story of the Showay team, comprised of Chloe, Garrett, Keying, and Antoine incredible and inspiring, a testament of bringing an idea to life through hard work and creative approaches at innovation; but Showay is also an app that you are going to want to be a part of.
Intertwining a social media like shopping experience that you can enjoy with your friends and family, the app's specialized algorithm curates specialized collections of clothing as you shop from ‘under the radar’ brands that can now be found thanks to their platform, learning the things you like and those that you do not.
Let's get into the good stuff, so enjoy reading below as we explore both the team and the ideas that brought Showay to life.
And when you're done reading, make sure to check out www.shopshoway.com to discover some fun and upcoming brands like us! And of course, stay tuned for the official Farm Brand flagship store launch on Showay this coming February 2021! Follow @ShopShoway and @FarmBrandInpsires on Instagram and Facebook to receive latest updates leading up to the app launch date!
Farm Brand: "I would love to learn a little bit more about you as the individuals behind your business. What makes you who you are? Anything you would like to share, from your background to schooling to anything in-between!"
Garret- "Yeah, of course! So we have four main partners with this and we are actually all from four different countries. I am from the US, Chloe is from Canada, and our other team members are from France and China.
I think that the diverse perspectives this has brought upon us has really allowed us to grow as a company and learn from each other and at the same time gain more perspective.
In terms of my personal background, I am from Oklahoma and moved out to California 3 years ago to go to college at USC, majoring in finance. This is where I met Chloe and the other team members. We started this about a year ago and It been an incredible journey learning about business and ourselves.
A series of events kind of happened during Covid when Antoine brought up the fact that it was really hard for small businesses to survive, especially in the retail setting.
We really just got thinking on that idea, one thing led to another, and Showay was born!
Farm Brand: "Right on! So you all basically met at school and branched back out to your respective hometowns now because of current events, yes? Garret, you are back in Oklahoma, and Chloe, you are back in Canada?"
Chloe: "Yes! I am from Vancouver Canada and decided to go to USC. I just wanted my own space and to kind of do my own thing, and at USC that is where I met Garret, Antoine, and Keying, the three other partners.
I think what is interesting is that we weren't the best of friends before Showay, and we kind of just met at school, so we didn't know each other well before.
So what is really cool is just how close we've become as friends once we started getting into building a business."
Farm Brand: "You know this makes me think, they always say to never merge friendship and business, right?
So where you guys are different is that you are opposite! You weren't really friends before this at all, and instead business has turned you into friends, so do you think this has served you positives with your business partnership relations?
Chloe: "Yeah! So I think with my own friend group outside of Showay we think really similarly. Birds of the same feather flock together.
But because all four of us have our original friend groups, when we do come together this leads to a ton of innovation and new ideas.
For example, if I say I don't like something and garret says he does then we can talk about it and figure out exactly why, whereas if we were friends we would probably have the same ideas and therefore have nothing innovative to talk about.
Collaboration is important not just because it's a better way to learn. The spirit of collaboration is penetrating every institution and all of our lives. So learning to collaborate is part of equipping yourself for effectiveness, problem solving, innovation and life-long learning in an ever-changing networked economy.
- Don Tapscott
Farm Brand: So the idea of Showay was born, and now that we know more about you and how Showay manifested into an idea, let us talk more about this app!
If you want to just give us a rundown on Showay that would be awesome and we would love to hear it!"
Chloe: "So Showay is essentially an eCommerce platform that meets social media. We want to be a marketplace that allows people to shop in a whole new and different way.
So previous to Showay online shopping has been very individualized, so we thought that, especially because of Covid, you want to be with friends while you shop even though you can't.
With Showay, you can basically shop online with your friends. You can share things with them, show them what you like, and many other things like that. It adds a component to eCommerce that makes it feel more real life as if you are window shopping with friends online!
We wanted to find a bunch of small brands that are up and coming with actually good products that we can support. We don't want to be just another big box store, like Amazon, because there's enough of those.
A lot of people want to shop and support small brands, but it's kind of hard to find these small brands that are actually legitimate. So Showay is not only a way to interact with your friends while shopping, but also a way to find these really cool small brands and as a way that people can interact with these brands.
Words from Shopshoway.com
Farm Brand: "That is amazing. So you guys are really doing the hard work of weaving out the non-legitimate brands and the big box brands to then provide to the consumers a place to easily find companies that need our support these businesses, yes?"
Chloe: "Yeah, that's exactly what we want to do!
We want to be a place where you know your business is safe and the products are good so that we can impact and support the actual individuals behind these small businesses that need it more than anything."
Make sure to follow them on social media to stay updated!
Farm Brand: "So part of this too is this collaborative shopping experience.
Do you want to get more into the social aspect of Showay and what that entails? What can you do, share images, like pages, etc? Let's get more into that if you'd like!"
Garret: "Yeah, you can see what your friend's purchase, brands can share videos or photos of their products, and we have a really unique concept that allows every user to basically add their favorite clothes and brands to a board similar to the Pinterest fashion board that their friends can all see.
E-Commerce is very bland, and we wanted to make it entertaining. E-commerce is very monotonous in the sense that the stores and the items are different, but in the end, the shopping experience is all the same."
Farm Brand: "Right! I mean, there's really just not much human interaction when it comes to online shopping. So you are adding a human element to eCommerce shopping that makes it sound so much more fun!
Is it profile based shopping?"
Chloe: "Totally, you have a profile picture, your name, and bio and things like that. It will show your friends and followers and on your profile page, it will show your style board.
So yeah, exactly like you were saying, during a birthday or the holidays you can go on and see your friend's style or things they like to better shop for them and buy the exact item. You know they don't have it, the right size will be there, all of that!"
Farm Brand: "Right! Where gift giving on Amazon can be so boring and such a guessing game, this is actually personal!
So your app is seriously incredible, but part of what Farm Brand is so interested in is the Entrepreneurial process.
Do you want to talk about your funding process at all as young entrepreneurs? What was that like, how did you go about it, and what kind of challenges did you face along the way?"
Garret: "So we really decided to de-scale this as much as possible. We really saved a lot on the development cost of the app because we knew someone that was a developer, so mainly most of our expense is in marketing, which is still a considerable expense.
So what we decided to do in the beginning was to pull together the money that we made through summer internships, other investments, things like that, and self-fund!
We might work on raising money down the line, but right now we are self funded."
Farm Brand: "I love it! I think that is a testament to small business and the pursuit of following a dream.
So talking about your team again, what you are doing is utilizing the strengths of your team and other family members or friends to fill these gaps of things you don't know or things you need.
Where are these people and all of these pieces of advice coming from?"
Chloe: "Well, I think that we come from a special position because we are all a form of a business major. We've been taking the same classes at school and learning what you're supposed to do, but of course, what you are supposed to do isn't necessarily applicable becasue they always give you a perfect scenario in class.
So I think that we are all very lucky because our parents also come from a business background so they have real-life experience that we can take from and apply.
We have also been pretty lucky to have a couple of amazing professors to give us advice, so from our schooling to our parents to our teachers and everything else we have an incredible combination of knowledge."
Farm Brand: "If it is hard for me to source and find small brands when I am shopping, how do you all go about it?
What are some of your strategies for finding these brands and what are the checkmarks to determine if a brand is right for Showay?"
Chloe: "Yeah, so I of course really want to meet the person behind the brand. I want to put a face behind who I might be talking to behind a screen. You can learn a lot about the person and the brand this way. If it is really something they are passionate about and if it is their 'baby', or if they are simply viewing it as another 9-5 job.
Being a small brand it is clearly hard to grow, so we want to find those who are passionate and not just those who want to pay the bills. And for me of course shipping is important as well, because the end goal is of course for consumers to get their product, so their shipping has to be timely and reliable as well."
Farm Brand: "On top of creating a social element to shopping, you are also literally just making the shopping experience easier and more accessible on a consumer end.
So speaking of consumers, how do you plan to market Showay to these consumers and not just these brands?"
Chloe: Yeah, so we do have a marketing strategy in place and we are going to utilize all the social media that we can, as well as influencers and some ads.
But at the end of the day we are really just learning, so we hope to see what ends up working and investing more money there, but we really plan to focus on social media and social media ads because most e-commerce occurs through those elements.
I think it's the best way to reach our consumers and our audience."
Farm Brand: "For someone that doesn't know anything about Showay, how do you plan to stand out against some of the other marketplace giants and let it be known exactly what it is that Showay provides?"
Garrett: "Well, we can kind of do that in two ways!
First of all, I think we are extremely unique in the sense that our platform is completely unlike any other competitors. Whether it's the interactive, entertainment, or any other experience that we have added, plus the awesome brands that we have found of which our consumers may have not known about, should really help us to stand out.
But then of course that does raise the question of how are we going to market those things.
I think that it is really critical to us to highlight our uniqueness and our differences to our customers and simply make it known that they are going to get an experience out of Showay that they simply cannot get anywhere else.
We also need to create a network effect, so when one customer uses Showay they can easily get their friends or family on board as well."
Farm Brand: "Word of mouth! What a powerful tool it is indeed.
So we kind of get where you are in the present, but what are your plans for Showay, both in the short and long term future?"
Garret: So I think we want to focus on our core competencies, so that's basically in the fashion industry helping small brands reach customers that they have never seen before.
But of course, we want to expand beyond that. Our goal is to launch around 20-25 brands and we want to then expand that to around 100 within the first two years while also expanding our features.
We want to focus on our algorithm so that the shopping experience is personally perfected and we also want to incorporate a live streaming component which is very popular in China right now.
Farm Brand: You mention algorithm, do you want to speak a little more on this?
Chloe: "Sure! So basically when you are shopping Showay will learn the things you like. When you interact with an item or a brand, it will know this and try and pinpoint other similar items and brands.
So it helps the consumer in the sense that they are being presented with relevant brands to the things they like, and it helps the business because they are being put in front of a relevant and engaged audience."
Farm Brand: So cool! Let's say someone moves from Florida to Maine.
I am guessing that Florida Showay page would show boardshorts and other beach-related wear, whereas after spending some time up North and looking through winter clothing, it would slowly transition to show me more relevant Maine-worthy items, yeah?
Like these! Just click an item to shop, and remember to check out our entire website for other incredible collections.
Chloe: "Yup, exactly!"
Farm Brand: "For any potential brands that maybe want to be a part of Showay, what can they do if they are interested in possibly joining? Is this going to be only fashion or will there be any other product verticals as well?"
Garret: "Right now we are fashion specific but we do plan on incorporating some other accessories in the future.
If you are a brand, the best way to reach us is through Instagram, so just send us a direct message and we will get back to you!"
Chloe: "We also have a form that you can send to us that is more of a formal way of reaching out, but Instagram and email are always easy and simple ways to reach out and get things going."
Click HERE to fill out the form!
Farm Brand: "Right on, so either fill out the form, send them an email, or simply send them a DM!
With where you stand in your journey so far, first of all, what is the most fulfilling aspect about this entrepreneurial journey, and what has been one of the most challenging aspects that you have come to discover?
Chloe: "So I think for us it's both starting something that is completely our own as well as being able to help people through this process. I really do think your business should mean something or do something good for the world or for people, and I think that Showay does both of those things.
I think that the most challenging thing so far has been being college students and not being taken seriously. The old way of business is often done in the sense that if you are not older and experienced, you aren't reliable, so that has been kind of a challenge.
But because we are so big on social media and because we are a fashion brand, I do think that has helped us to be accepted as a serious business and as serious entrepreneurs."
Farm Brand: "Totally, the standard norms of an entrepreneur and what it means to trust someone should absolutely change, as I think they are.
Any closing words for us here? About Showay, life business, anything you can think of to send this off?"
Garrett: "I think it is always just important to believe in yourself and just know that you are in charge and that anything is absolutely possible. It's a really important lesson in entrepreneurship."
Chloe: "I completely agree with Garett. If you think you have a great idea, you should take it and run with it. My whole thing is that you will never get the winning lottery ticket unless you actually buy it and actually go cash it in!
If you are always having a doubt in your mind then you will never try and move forward and try something that is innovative, so I think if you can try something new, then you should try something new!"
This article was brought to you by your friends at Farm Brand.