A female-friendly space at the festival showcased a new platform that helps users out-source and crowdsource their shopping needs.
If you’ve ever been to SXSW, or even know someone who has, then you know that the famed festival can get dirty. Not dirty in a fun or sexy way, but filthy in a manner only achieved by a tiny, heat-drenched city housing thousands of happy, sweaty, music, film, and digital enthusiasts. That’s why Buyosphere offered a little respite for the ladies from the relentless testosterone clouds, with a chance to spend some time in their Beauty Bar X. According to the site’s website:
The idea of the event came to us a couple of years ago while wandering around Austin looking for a great place to get our nails done and just meet with some wonderful women in the sea of geeky guys. Beauty Bar X is all about creating a lounge for women where we can be girly AND brilliant. There will be panels on doing your own startups (Mobile + Fashion), free manicures/massages, drinks and photographs. If the idea of a good start-up is that they fill an influential niche with a much needed product, then we can already consider Beauty Bar X a success.
The woman bringing us this bit of feminine charm is Tara Hunt, former Silicon Valley tech-star turned digital style guru. The logic behind her new crowdsourced, social, personal shopping platform, Buyosphere, is that if someone is looking for some specific, say, a necklace to go with a special-occasion dress, they can come to Buyosphere and just ask the question:
“I am looking for a necklace to go with this dress.”
From there, readers can upload a photo of the dress, specify some details (long chain, no rhinestone), a price range and whatever else may help people shopping for you make a better decision. From there, Buyosphere sends your questions out to the “right people”– ie. people who have shown and expressed expertise in the related shopping category, which Buyosphere finds through a combination of interest and social graph analytics as well as style matching data (when available). As you use Buyosphere, it gets smarter and matches you to the right personal shoppers. Viewers can also automatically tweet and Facebook out their questions to bring in more interest. With the trend of online shopping growing more and more every year, we can definitely see Buyosphere filling a retail niche in the years to come.