When Tope Mitchell and her team showcased their product Reflekt Me at a tech conference, they heard audible gasps from the crowd.
The technology lets consumers input their size, skin tone and hair texture while browsing an online store, and then shows the products on models who look like them. People said they had never seen someone their own size modelling on an online store before that day.
At the end of the conference, Reflekt Me took home the people’s choice award.
“It proved that we had something consumers wanted,” Mitchell says.
She co-founded Reflekt Me with her husband, Gerald Mitchell, and the venture’s name was inspired by the “pure love” their daughter showed for her own reflection when she first learned to wash her hands.
The name is a call to action: reflect me. It’s also a purpose-driven mission, Mitchell says, to tell brands: “We love ourselves the way we are, but we’re continuously given images that don’t even really look like the people the pictures were taken of, because they’re so airbrushed.”
Now that they’ve graduated from CDL-Atlanta’s Commerce stream, Mitchell says the team plans to prove that inclusivity has a commercial benefit. With two brand partnerships already secured, Reflekt Me is poised to bring joyous moments of self-recognition to more shoppers — while increasing sales and revolutionizing e-commerce along the way.
CDL helped Reflekt Me narrow its focus and hone in on sales, the CEO says. The mentors’ advice showed Mitchell how to tell her venture’s story in a way that makes it a must-have for other companies.
“I feel accelerated in terms of our story, and definitely our visuals … It’s like doing a dissertation defence, but the committee is from all different departments.”
Reflekt Me is about diversity and representation, but it’s also about creating e-commerce experiences that give shoppers what they want.
“Speaking to the needs of consumers with digital experiences is a must-have, not a nice-to-have,” Mitchell says. “E-commerce sites are like web 1.0 right now. There’s no conversation, there’s no interaction.”
That’s where Reflekt Me comes in. The company takes a multi-pronged approach to sourcing content. Clients can send invitations to the influencers and ambassadors they already work with, or they can find diverse models through Reflekt Me’s partner network of influencer agencies. Then all of the content is housed in one API where the client can review it and add it to their online store.
The content includes photos and videos, so consumers can hear models speaking with different accents and providing tips about how the product fits and feels.
Mitchell says this is an efficient way of managing relationships with influencers. It benefits the brand more than just sending out free products and letting the subsequent content “float around on social media,” she says.
And it could lead to a jump in sales. In one case study, Reflekt Me found that their product led to a 133% increase in the time consumers spent on site.
“I think the brands that decide to ignore what we’re creating … they’re really going to be left behind.”
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