Create the Future. Today

Apps such as Local Books are already helping literature lovers to get closer to the authors they admire, but our latest spotting is taking the unusual step of inviting fans to start reading before the manuscript is even finished. Silvia Hartmann’s Naked Writer project aims to complete a novel in front of an online audience using Google Drive. Readers will be notified via social networks when Hartmann is about to work on the book, enabling them to read the plot as it develops in real-time, as well as any editing and reworking the author chooses to do. The fantasy fiction – titled The Dragon Lords after suggestions from readers – will also take into account feedback given by those watching the work take shape. As well as using new media to bring audiences closer to the process behind writing a novel, the project also offers a unique experience for reading – the words are not dead on the page, but constantly evolving. How else could platforms such as Google Drive be used for greater transparency, or used as a simple way for the crowds to give feedback on projects – media, entertainment or otherwise – during the creation process? Spotted by: Murtaza Patel We recently covered Japanese researchers’ efforts to help children too young to use a wheelchair with the Magic Carpet device, aiming to provide mobility to a group usually overlooked. Now the Coming Up Short Handed project hopes to develop open source prosthetics, enabling access for those who can’t afford commercial products. US-based Ivan Owen originally developed a working mechanical hand to be used as part of a costume, but when he uploaded a video of the device onto Youtube he was contacted by South African Richard Van As, who saw how the home-made prosthesis could be beneficial to both himself and others with mobility problems. The two formed the current project, which aims to use basic techniques to create low-cost mechanical aids as an alternative to expensive professionally-designed options, as well as provide instructions on how others can build them themselves. The first design is a mechanical finger, demonstrated in the video below: Coming Up Short Handed isn’t the only project of its kind – the Open Prosthetics Wiki is also doing similar work in this field. Both projects could help victims of disease, war or accidents – especially in poorer countries – to regain full use of their body. Spotted by: Murray Orange Crowdsourcing has already been used to good effect to help provide potential solutions to social issues, such as unemployment in ireland or helping businesses go green. Now, the Egyptian government is calling on citizens to come up with a way to solve the capital’s traffic problems through its Cairo Transport App Challenge. There are 17 million people living in Cairo and traffic is a problem that affects both residents and businesses, and is set to get worse over the next few years. According to the organizers, some 90 percent of Egyptians own a mobile phone and the aim of the new contest is to use these devices to enable a better flow of information about congestion. Backed by academic, government, NGO and private sector stakeholders, the challenge is calling on the tech community in the country to come up with solutions to alleviate traffic, pollution and accidents on the road. The specifications for apps are broad, but it is hoped that creators will tackle safety, help improve the unregulated microbus system, encourage car sharing and raise awareness of poor driving. Registrants have until 29 October to get involved and 16 November to submit their ideas. The three finalists will get cash rewards, while the overall winner will be nominated for a 2013 Mobile Premier Award. The project should encourage the creation of apps that otherwise may not have been made and aims to give backing to tech workers coming up with solutions that could made a big difference to quality of life in Cairo. Could other countries tap the crowds in a similar way? Spotted by: Murtaza Patel We’ve seen numerous technology-based efforts aimed at giving citizens the power to monitor their environment, including the Montre Verte project for assessing air quality in Paris. Taking an airborne approach to much the same problem, FLOAT is an initiative to teach residents of Beijing how to build and use kites equipped with air pollution monitors. Beijing is infamous for its extremely poor air quality, so the topic is of particular concern to residents there. The brainchild of two students from the Harvard School of Graduate Design and Carnegie Mellon University, the FLOAT project aims to use the playfulness of kite-flying to spark dialogue in the city on urban environmental health issues. The basic premise is to build air quality monitors that can be attached to kites and flown in the city. Instructions and code for building the necessary components are published on the FLOAT site, and the project team has been conducting workshops within Beijing to teach residents how to do this themselves. The end goal is to empower city dwellers “to map, record and engage actively in the monitoring of their environment,” in the project’s own words. Here is a video that describes the project in more detail. Between today’s smartphones and inexpensive DIY components, there’s virtually no limit to the monitoring citizens can take part in. One to emulate in a congested urban area near you? Spotted by: Murray Orange Code for America initiatives have appeared on our virtual pages on several occasions before, including wildfire warning system Prepared.ly just earlier this month. Now joining the list of the nonprofit’s civic-minded efforts is Textizen, a system by which citizens can respond via text message to quick polls posted around the city. Targeting city officials, community leaders, and local organizations, Textizen aims to help collect feedback from the public via SMS so that leaders can make more data-driven, representative decisions. Civic users begin by setting up an account with Textizen, giving them access to an online portal that can be used to create surveys, see responses, and export data. They then create a survey and decide where they want it posted or advertised. A phone number is assigned to each, allowing passers-by to respond to the poll by simply texting in their response. As replies come in, a dashboard offers civic users easy access to responses and graphs; data can also be exported in .CSV format. The video below explains the premise in further detail:

Mobile technologies are transforming the way consumers live, so it’s up to government bodies to catch up with them. Leaders in cities large and small: one to try out for your own opinion-gathering purposes? Spotted by: Murray Orange There have been a couple of innovations to bring computing power to home appliances in the recent past – from lights controlled through touch enabled wall paint to cookers activated by text – but so far the home remains fairly analogue. Aiming to change that however, is plug-in-the-wall device Ubi, which enables homeowners to control their house and access the internet through vocal cues. The product is a box equipped with a wifi connection that is plugged directly into a wall socket. It also has a microphone, speaker and color-changing light that are used to communicate with the user and sensors which monitor the light levels, temperature and humidity of the room. Much like the Siri function on Apple devices, Ubi responds to voice commands – the Ubi can be used to search the internet vocally, play music located on another device, set an alarm, record and playback voice memos and generally interact with other computer devices. The light can be linked to weather, stocks or email feeds, changing color dependent on the information received. Homeowners with multiple devices can link them up to each other, allowing for monitoring of the whole home. Smartphone push notifications can then be set up when activity is detected in another part of the house. The Ubi has successfully raised enough funds to begin production through Kickstarter, where early backers could purchase a single device for USD 149. The campaign is now finished although there is no word on how much the Ubi will retail for once it becomes available. The following video shows the device in action: The Ubi is a step closer to making the home more digital, connecting it to the tools we already use on our computers and mobile devices. How else can the home be brought into the 21st century? Spotted by: Smith Alan Pedal power has proven to be a versatile way for businesses to add an eco-friendly touch to their operations, with hotels, cinemas and even prisons employing the idea. Designed in London, the Velopresso is now offering mobile coffee, powered by the bicycle wheels the machine rests upon. The startup was created by former Royal College of Art students Amos Field Reid and Lasse Oiva, who developed a customized trike and coffee machine hybrid. While the device can be used to ride the espresso maker around the city, it is also set up so that the gears can be switched from powering the bike to powering a grinder which produces fresh grounds. Hot water comes from an onboard gas-powered boiler, meaning that no electricity is used during the process. Velopresso aims to make its coffee even more eco-friendly by finding a way to re-use old grounds at some point in the future. The duo have already won the Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Enterprises for their design, which takes into account both practicality and aesthetics. Could pedal power improve your business? Spotted by: Raymond Kollau Fashion goes in cycles and what’s hot now is bound to come back around again before too long. To a certain degree, this makes it easy to identify patterns and predict trends within the sector. However, it also means that examples of innovation can be hard to come by. This is what Zahra Aljabri noticed when she first explored the idea of setting up her company Mode-sty, a fashion label for women who prefer to wear more conservative clothing than you’d find on most high street rails, at an affordable price. Working as a young attorney Zahra noticed that it was difficult to find fashionable clothes that she felt comfortable wearing. Most styles were too revealing or unflattering. Zahra realised that there must be many women who faced the same dilemma every day and decided to start catering for them. Convincing the fashion industry to change their perception of women’s fashion has been a challenge, but Zahra now feels that Mode-sty is providing a valued alternative. We quizzed Zarah about the first few months of getting Mode-sty off the ground.

Thanks Zahra!
You can read more about Mode-sty here, or visit the Mode-sty website here.
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just a few months ago I was an ‘aspiring’ entrepreneur. Do your homework, find companies you like to emulate then take the plunge while minimizing your (financial) risk as much as possible. You should focus your initial energies on finding a problem lots of people want to solve and find a way to solve it in an economically viable manner. In most cases, when you really think about it, you have little to lose! Worst comes to worst you’ll go back to what you’re doing today.
Thanks Zahra!
You can read more about Mode-sty here, or visit the Mode-sty website here.
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
Before starting Mode-sty, I’d never bought clothes online!
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just a few months ago I was an ‘aspiring’ entrepreneur. Do your homework, find companies you like to emulate then take the plunge while minimizing your (financial) risk as much as possible. You should focus your initial energies on finding a problem lots of people want to solve and find a way to solve it in an economically viable manner. In most cases, when you really think about it, you have little to lose! Worst comes to worst you’ll go back to what you’re doing today.
Thanks Zahra!
You can read more about Mode-sty here, or visit the Mode-sty website here.
9. If you weren’t working on Mode-sty, what would you be doing?
Probably working on another startup!
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
Before starting Mode-sty, I’d never bought clothes online!
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just a few months ago I was an ‘aspiring’ entrepreneur. Do your homework, find companies you like to emulate then take the plunge while minimizing your (financial) risk as much as possible. You should focus your initial energies on finding a problem lots of people want to solve and find a way to solve it in an economically viable manner. In most cases, when you really think about it, you have little to lose! Worst comes to worst you’ll go back to what you’re doing today.
Thanks Zahra!
You can read more about Mode-sty here, or visit the Mode-sty website here.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
We want to become the premier destination for fashion-forward conservative women. We want to re-imagine the way women shop for clothes on the internet and recreate the experience of shopping with a best friend. We’ll get there by gaining the trust of each and every woman that purchases a garment from us. We offer each women the option that if she isn’t happy with the coverage, fit, or quality of the garment she can return it no questions asked.
9. If you weren’t working on Mode-sty, what would you be doing?
Probably working on another startup!
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
Before starting Mode-sty, I’d never bought clothes online!
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just a few months ago I was an ‘aspiring’ entrepreneur. Do your homework, find companies you like to emulate then take the plunge while minimizing your (financial) risk as much as possible. You should focus your initial energies on finding a problem lots of people want to solve and find a way to solve it in an economically viable manner. In most cases, when you really think about it, you have little to lose! Worst comes to worst you’ll go back to what you’re doing today.
Thanks Zahra!
You can read more about Mode-sty here, or visit the Mode-sty website here.
7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would trust myself more. In the beginning all you really have is your instinct. You do market research, customer discovery, read industry publications and talk to potential mentors. But because what you’re doing is new, at the end of the day you have to go with what you think feels right and makes sense. In the beginning I second-guessed myself a lot and put too much weight on what others thought. I then learned that what I had thought was the better option. Going back I’d still do all the research but then I’d go with my gut.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
We want to become the premier destination for fashion-forward conservative women. We want to re-imagine the way women shop for clothes on the internet and recreate the experience of shopping with a best friend. We’ll get there by gaining the trust of each and every woman that purchases a garment from us. We offer each women the option that if she isn’t happy with the coverage, fit, or quality of the garment she can return it no questions asked.
9. If you weren’t working on Mode-sty, what would you be doing?
Probably working on another startup!
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
Before starting Mode-sty, I’d never bought clothes online!
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just a few months ago I was an ‘aspiring’ entrepreneur. Do your homework, find companies you like to emulate then take the plunge while minimizing your (financial) risk as much as possible. You should focus your initial energies on finding a problem lots of people want to solve and find a way to solve it in an economically viable manner. In most cases, when you really think about it, you have little to lose! Worst comes to worst you’ll go back to what you’re doing today.
Thanks Zahra!
You can read more about Mode-sty here, or visit the Mode-sty website here.
6. What motivates you to keep going?
The emails I get daily from women thanking me for starting Mode-sty. They, like myself, are fed up and frustrated by how difficult it is to find a fashionable and conservative outfit without the couture price-tag. I am always encouraged and grateful that thousands of women know that I have them in mind.
7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would trust myself more. In the beginning all you really have is your instinct. You do market research, customer discovery, read industry publications and talk to potential mentors. But because what you’re doing is new, at the end of the day you have to go with what you think feels right and makes sense. In the beginning I second-guessed myself a lot and put too much weight on what others thought. I then learned that what I had thought was the better option. Going back I’d still do all the research but then I’d go with my gut.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
We want to become the premier destination for fashion-forward conservative women. We want to re-imagine the way women shop for clothes on the internet and recreate the experience of shopping with a best friend. We’ll get there by gaining the trust of each and every woman that purchases a garment from us. We offer each women the option that if she isn’t happy with the coverage, fit, or quality of the garment she can return it no questions asked.
9. If you weren’t working on Mode-sty, what would you be doing?
Probably working on another startup!
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
Before starting Mode-sty, I’d never bought clothes online!
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just a few months ago I was an ‘aspiring’ entrepreneur. Do your homework, find companies you like to emulate then take the plunge while minimizing your (financial) risk as much as possible. You should focus your initial energies on finding a problem lots of people want to solve and find a way to solve it in an economically viable manner. In most cases, when you really think about it, you have little to lose! Worst comes to worst you’ll go back to what you’re doing today.
Thanks Zahra!
You can read more about Mode-sty here, or visit the Mode-sty website here.
5. What drove you crazy when building your business?
I would say just learning how the fashion business operates. Fashion is one of the oldest industries and it can be hard to convince people to change their ways even if the alternative you are proposing is better. So it has been a long trust-building phase where we try to show respect to the industry while trying to gently question the status quo.
6. What motivates you to keep going?
The emails I get daily from women thanking me for starting Mode-sty. They, like myself, are fed up and frustrated by how difficult it is to find a fashionable and conservative outfit without the couture price-tag. I am always encouraged and grateful that thousands of women know that I have them in mind.
7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would trust myself more. In the beginning all you really have is your instinct. You do market research, customer discovery, read industry publications and talk to potential mentors. But because what you’re doing is new, at the end of the day you have to go with what you think feels right and makes sense. In the beginning I second-guessed myself a lot and put too much weight on what others thought. I then learned that what I had thought was the better option. Going back I’d still do all the research but then I’d go with my gut.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
We want to become the premier destination for fashion-forward conservative women. We want to re-imagine the way women shop for clothes on the internet and recreate the experience of shopping with a best friend. We’ll get there by gaining the trust of each and every woman that purchases a garment from us. We offer each women the option that if she isn’t happy with the coverage, fit, or quality of the garment she can return it no questions asked.
9. If you weren’t working on Mode-sty, what would you be doing?
Probably working on another startup!
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
Before starting Mode-sty, I’d never bought clothes online!
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just a few months ago I was an ‘aspiring’ entrepreneur. Do your homework, find companies you like to emulate then take the plunge while minimizing your (financial) risk as much as possible. You should focus your initial energies on finding a problem lots of people want to solve and find a way to solve it in an economically viable manner. In most cases, when you really think about it, you have little to lose! Worst comes to worst you’ll go back to what you’re doing today.
Thanks Zahra!
You can read more about Mode-sty here, or visit the Mode-sty website here.
4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?
I think it’s constantly looking ahead at people who are where you want to be and pushing yourself to emulate them, execution-wise. But at the same time you need to be mindful of the broader trends to be ready to leap to the next “frontier” before you become irrelevant.
5. What drove you crazy when building your business?
I would say just learning how the fashion business operates. Fashion is one of the oldest industries and it can be hard to convince people to change their ways even if the alternative you are proposing is better. So it has been a long trust-building phase where we try to show respect to the industry while trying to gently question the status quo.
6. What motivates you to keep going?
The emails I get daily from women thanking me for starting Mode-sty. They, like myself, are fed up and frustrated by how difficult it is to find a fashionable and conservative outfit without the couture price-tag. I am always encouraged and grateful that thousands of women know that I have them in mind.
7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would trust myself more. In the beginning all you really have is your instinct. You do market research, customer discovery, read industry publications and talk to potential mentors. But because what you’re doing is new, at the end of the day you have to go with what you think feels right and makes sense. In the beginning I second-guessed myself a lot and put too much weight on what others thought. I then learned that what I had thought was the better option. Going back I’d still do all the research but then I’d go with my gut.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
We want to become the premier destination for fashion-forward conservative women. We want to re-imagine the way women shop for clothes on the internet and recreate the experience of shopping with a best friend. We’ll get there by gaining the trust of each and every woman that purchases a garment from us. We offer each women the option that if she isn’t happy with the coverage, fit, or quality of the garment she can return it no questions asked.
9. If you weren’t working on Mode-sty, what would you be doing?
Probably working on another startup!
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
Before starting Mode-sty, I’d never bought clothes online!
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just a few months ago I was an ‘aspiring’ entrepreneur. Do your homework, find companies you like to emulate then take the plunge while minimizing your (financial) risk as much as possible. You should focus your initial energies on finding a problem lots of people want to solve and find a way to solve it in an economically viable manner. In most cases, when you really think about it, you have little to lose! Worst comes to worst you’ll go back to what you’re doing today.
Thanks Zahra!
You can read more about Mode-sty here, or visit the Mode-sty website here.
3. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on Mode-sty?
I try to spend as much time as I can with my 18 month old son, reading to him or taking him to the park. Also, my husband and I always try to have dinner together and watch something short on Netflix – we love the show ‘Parks and Recreations’!
4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?
I think it’s constantly looking ahead at people who are where you want to be and pushing yourself to emulate them, execution-wise. But at the same time you need to be mindful of the broader trends to be ready to leap to the next “frontier” before you become irrelevant.
5. What drove you crazy when building your business?
I would say just learning how the fashion business operates. Fashion is one of the oldest industries and it can be hard to convince people to change their ways even if the alternative you are proposing is better. So it has been a long trust-building phase where we try to show respect to the industry while trying to gently question the status quo.
6. What motivates you to keep going?
The emails I get daily from women thanking me for starting Mode-sty. They, like myself, are fed up and frustrated by how difficult it is to find a fashionable and conservative outfit without the couture price-tag. I am always encouraged and grateful that thousands of women know that I have them in mind.
7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would trust myself more. In the beginning all you really have is your instinct. You do market research, customer discovery, read industry publications and talk to potential mentors. But because what you’re doing is new, at the end of the day you have to go with what you think feels right and makes sense. In the beginning I second-guessed myself a lot and put too much weight on what others thought. I then learned that what I had thought was the better option. Going back I’d still do all the research but then I’d go with my gut.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
We want to become the premier destination for fashion-forward conservative women. We want to re-imagine the way women shop for clothes on the internet and recreate the experience of shopping with a best friend. We’ll get there by gaining the trust of each and every woman that purchases a garment from us. We offer each women the option that if she isn’t happy with the coverage, fit, or quality of the garment she can return it no questions asked.
9. If you weren’t working on Mode-sty, what would you be doing?
Probably working on another startup!
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
Before starting Mode-sty, I’d never bought clothes online!
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just a few months ago I was an ‘aspiring’ entrepreneur. Do your homework, find companies you like to emulate then take the plunge while minimizing your (financial) risk as much as possible. You should focus your initial energies on finding a problem lots of people want to solve and find a way to solve it in an economically viable manner. In most cases, when you really think about it, you have little to lose! Worst comes to worst you’ll go back to what you’re doing today.
Thanks Zahra!
You can read more about Mode-sty here, or visit the Mode-sty website here.
2. Can you describe a typical working day?
No day is typical, and that’s what’s so exciting about running a start-up. The night before, I try to set a few tangible goals that I want to achieve the next day in addition to simply dealing with my day-to-day duties. Usually, I am woken up by my son, get him ready for daycare, then either my husband or I will drop him off. I spend a lot of time meeting with designers, buyers, and potential partners (bloggers, fulfillment companies, etc). I also have to keep our members enaged on social media.
3. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on Mode-sty?
I try to spend as much time as I can with my 18 month old son, reading to him or taking him to the park. Also, my husband and I always try to have dinner together and watch something short on Netflix – we love the show ‘Parks and Recreations’!
4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?
I think it’s constantly looking ahead at people who are where you want to be and pushing yourself to emulate them, execution-wise. But at the same time you need to be mindful of the broader trends to be ready to leap to the next “frontier” before you become irrelevant.
5. What drove you crazy when building your business?
I would say just learning how the fashion business operates. Fashion is one of the oldest industries and it can be hard to convince people to change their ways even if the alternative you are proposing is better. So it has been a long trust-building phase where we try to show respect to the industry while trying to gently question the status quo.
6. What motivates you to keep going?
The emails I get daily from women thanking me for starting Mode-sty. They, like myself, are fed up and frustrated by how difficult it is to find a fashionable and conservative outfit without the couture price-tag. I am always encouraged and grateful that thousands of women know that I have them in mind.
7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would trust myself more. In the beginning all you really have is your instinct. You do market research, customer discovery, read industry publications and talk to potential mentors. But because what you’re doing is new, at the end of the day you have to go with what you think feels right and makes sense. In the beginning I second-guessed myself a lot and put too much weight on what others thought. I then learned that what I had thought was the better option. Going back I’d still do all the research but then I’d go with my gut.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
We want to become the premier destination for fashion-forward conservative women. We want to re-imagine the way women shop for clothes on the internet and recreate the experience of shopping with a best friend. We’ll get there by gaining the trust of each and every woman that purchases a garment from us. We offer each women the option that if she isn’t happy with the coverage, fit, or quality of the garment she can return it no questions asked.
9. If you weren’t working on Mode-sty, what would you be doing?
Probably working on another startup!
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
Before starting Mode-sty, I’d never bought clothes online!
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just a few months ago I was an ‘aspiring’ entrepreneur. Do your homework, find companies you like to emulate then take the plunge while minimizing your (financial) risk as much as possible. You should focus your initial energies on finding a problem lots of people want to solve and find a way to solve it in an economically viable manner. In most cases, when you really think about it, you have little to lose! Worst comes to worst you’ll go back to what you’re doing today.
Thanks Zahra!
You can read more about Mode-sty here, or visit the Mode-sty website here.
1. Where did the idea for Mode-sty come from?
The idea began to take shape when my husband curiously asked me about why I got so excited when I found a cute, high-neck top. I explained to him that my shopping options were: a) Go to the mall and sift through thousands of items only to find a handful that meet my coverage requirements usually with limited style and fit, b) Buy things I like then layer or have it altered to get my desired coverage, or c) Shop at a ‘modest’ boutique and face a limited (usually vintage) selection or unflattering pieces. So whenever I was able to find something that met both my style and coverage requirements I felt it was a huge accomplishment! I knew that modest fashion shopping shouldn’t be this difficult! After some research, we realized that it was always difficult to find stylish modest apparel, but with the internet, the problem has become amplified: today, there are hundreds of fashion retailers online yet they all sell to virtually the same demographic: the fun and hip twenty-something. We also learned that most independent designers face a lot of uncertainty and risk when designing collections in their ateliers with little to no customer feedback. We figured we could help these designers by bringing them customers with clear needs to reduce their risk and generate predictable income. So, after nine months of discussion and research we made a decision to begin building Mode-sty!
2. Can you describe a typical working day?
No day is typical, and that’s what’s so exciting about running a start-up. The night before, I try to set a few tangible goals that I want to achieve the next day in addition to simply dealing with my day-to-day duties. Usually, I am woken up by my son, get him ready for daycare, then either my husband or I will drop him off. I spend a lot of time meeting with designers, buyers, and potential partners (bloggers, fulfillment companies, etc). I also have to keep our members enaged on social media.
3. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on Mode-sty?
I try to spend as much time as I can with my 18 month old son, reading to him or taking him to the park. Also, my husband and I always try to have dinner together and watch something short on Netflix – we love the show ‘Parks and Recreations’!
4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?
I think it’s constantly looking ahead at people who are where you want to be and pushing yourself to emulate them, execution-wise. But at the same time you need to be mindful of the broader trends to be ready to leap to the next “frontier” before you become irrelevant.
5. What drove you crazy when building your business?
I would say just learning how the fashion business operates. Fashion is one of the oldest industries and it can be hard to convince people to change their ways even if the alternative you are proposing is better. So it has been a long trust-building phase where we try to show respect to the industry while trying to gently question the status quo.
6. What motivates you to keep going?
The emails I get daily from women thanking me for starting Mode-sty. They, like myself, are fed up and frustrated by how difficult it is to find a fashionable and conservative outfit without the couture price-tag. I am always encouraged and grateful that thousands of women know that I have them in mind.
7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would trust myself more. In the beginning all you really have is your instinct. You do market research, customer discovery, read industry publications and talk to potential mentors. But because what you’re doing is new, at the end of the day you have to go with what you think feels right and makes sense. In the beginning I second-guessed myself a lot and put too much weight on what others thought. I then learned that what I had thought was the better option. Going back I’d still do all the research but then I’d go with my gut.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
We want to become the premier destination for fashion-forward conservative women. We want to re-imagine the way women shop for clothes on the internet and recreate the experience of shopping with a best friend. We’ll get there by gaining the trust of each and every woman that purchases a garment from us. We offer each women the option that if she isn’t happy with the coverage, fit, or quality of the garment she can return it no questions asked.
9. If you weren’t working on Mode-sty, what would you be doing?
Probably working on another startup!
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
Before starting Mode-sty, I’d never bought clothes online!
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just a few months ago I was an ‘aspiring’ entrepreneur. Do your homework, find companies you like to emulate then take the plunge while minimizing your (financial) risk as much as possible. You should focus your initial energies on finding a problem lots of people want to solve and find a way to solve it in an economically viable manner. In most cases, when you really think about it, you have little to lose! Worst comes to worst you’ll go back to what you’re doing today.
Thanks Zahra!
You can read more about Mode-sty here, or visit the Mode-sty website here. Citizens don’t often get a say in the major building developments that populate their city, mostly because they are usually funded by wealthy architects or investors. However, we recently saw residents in Copenhagen called upon to determine the construction of a new bridge through crowdfunding, and now the BD Bacatá project in Colombia aims to hand over power to the future inhabitants of a skyscraper by getting them to invest in its development. Those interested in putting money into the project are enabled to do so through what is known as a Figura Internacional de Inversión Inmobiliaria (FiDi), a type of share that gives the investor ownership of part of the property as well as a stake in the company. The team started offering investment options in 2010 and already have 3,000 people investing a total of USD 145 million of its USD 240 million target. The BD Bacatá will eventually house apartments, retail spaces, offices and entertainment venues. The scheme shows that cities can erect a major building without the backing of wealthy patrons as a prerequisite. The following video shows how the campaign worked: When completed in 2014, the building will become the tallest building in the country, as well as the first owned by the people who use it. Those who believe in crowdfunding as a business model are finding success even in lofty projects such as this one. Is there a niche yet to be discovered? Spotted by Murtaza Patel In a world where information is power, truth can be a valuable commodity, especially when it comes to politics. We’ve already seen the Bribespot app enable crowds to geotag corruption when they see it, and now TruthMarket is a platform where users can pledge to pay for others to find evidence for or against the unverified statements of public and influential figures. Users logging on to the site can explore existing claims being contested – currently ranging from specific arguments such as Obama’s real birthplace to broader questions surrounding the causes of climate change – and support those they think need settling. Users can set up a campaign to support a true statement (TS) under attack or to dispel a bogus statement (BS) being peddled as truth by a public figure. A funding target is set and supporters of the campaign can pledge to contribute to a bounty to entice others to challenge their position with verifiable evidence. Once the target is reached, detractors have a limited time to find proof that the campaign is wrong. If they do, they win the bounty; if they don’t, 20 percent of the pot is awarded to the campaign creator, with the remaining 80 percent distributed back among the sponsors. Although the site perhaps won’t be settling every dispute, TruthMarket rewards those working on the side of truth and offers a way for others to fund campaigns backing their opinion with facts. How else could people be encouraged to educate themselves before taking a firm position on one side of an argument?