I had the pleasure of attending the launch of an exciting new fashion curating app; VERNEZ. The name alone transports one to their favourite foreign fashion capital, not to talk about the user-friendly interface. I was fortunate enough to be gifted £100 shopping voucher AND also get a unique code (ONYXSTA) for you all on BLEURGH to use to access the site exclusively. A personal invitation, if you will. However, my interest in fashion and style stops short there. What had my knickers in a tizz the most, was GirlBoss, Co-creator and CEO Moyang's story. I speak time and again about diverse practice, and welcoming change into your life, and Moyang epitomises that vision. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to privately interview her, so please read & absorb her wisdom.
What did you study and do you think your prior study/experience had any bearing on VERNEZ?
I studied psychology and went on working as a psychologist for 6 years after graduation. It sounds very different from fashion, but actually it is so relevant that I still consider myself a psychologist now working on VERNEZ. For an app that unites different types of users and consumers together, it is all about understanding their needs and mindset, and then creating a platform that will make their life better.
What was the biggest obstacle when creating VERNEZ?
There have been so many! Running your own start up business means that you have to do so many things yourself in the beginning. And as human beings there’s no chance for you to already know all of them. Learning new things becomes your everyday life. But at the same time you simply don’t have the time to learn everything. So the biggest challenge I had to face is to find that balance of learning and working with others.
One example is that when we were working on the first version of the User Interface design, we hired a design company but the result wasn’t good enough. It was very difficult to perfectly illustrate my vision to someone else because there was nothing similar to what we were trying to create. Accepting this difficulty, and keeping a strict deadline in mind, I had to learn Photoshop (which I had never touched before in my life!) and complete a new design in 3 days. The design wasn’t great, as you can imagine, but at least we were able to deliver the right user experience there, and kept the development work moving forward. Once we had this minimum viable product up and running, it became easier to communicate with professional designers, and in the following release we managed to replace the design with a much better looking one! It had received many compliments since!
What has been your experience of being a #GirlBoss?
It wasn’t easy, but has been fun! My best reflection in the process is about understanding how important it is to be yourself, and to continue becoming a better version of yourself. By nature I have quite a soft personality - easy-going, optimistic and very understanding to other people’s perspectives. As an entrepreneur and a leader of a business, often people expect you to be tougher and stricter, as if this is the only way to get things done.
There were times when I tried to change, but that only made things worse because it didn’t feel like me and how can you expect people to follow your vision if you don’t even feel comfortable about yourself?! And that was when I realised how important it is to be myself. I believe my optimism and friendliness helped create the foundation of our team culture - hardworking but fun-driven. And my understanding to people’s perspectives allowed me to show others how their actions will bring us closer to the end goal. I believe the best team is when everyone takes control of own targets and feel that they are contributing to the business.
There's competition out there, how does VERNEZ stand apart from its fashion curating app counterparts?
We stand by our users' dreams, and help them achieve it. Other fashion apps are very much focused on shopping and finding personal styles. While I believe these are important, and we indeed overlap to an extent, we want to connect with our users deeper. I am talking about the millions of creative minds out there eager to voice their opinions on fashion, style and culture. We want to unite them as a community, and join forces to move the fashion industry forward.
Sum up VERNEZ in one word?