Made In Chelsea star Rosie Fortescue, along with CEO Tim Weingarten, was in London launching new fashion-finding app The Hunt last week, and shinyshiny got the chance to sit down and chat with the pair.
Originally launched in 2013, in San Francisco, The Hunt is an app, where users upload pictures of items they currently covet, for other users to track down the items, so that the original user can find out where it’s from and buy it.
Speaking to Tim, he told me: ‘It’s the age-old frustration of seeing a photo and saying ‘I love that. Where can I find it?’ Maybe that used to happen every month or so with magazines, but nowadays, with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, it happens almost every minute.
‘We thought the best way to solve this problem was to have a community made up of style experts who love to shop and make suggestions to each other. The app was a way of building this community and getting people to come together and help each other.’
While there’s no Android app until later this month, the iPhone app was launched just 11 months ago, and there are now three million users on The Hunt, 150,000 of whom live in the UK, having created over 200,000 Hunts and recommended over 100,000 products from UK stores, including ASOS, Missguided and Topshop.
While Rosie told me that she’s had one of her Hunts solved in 15 minutes, Tim said that it tends to be around just over half of Hunts that get solved, so if you start a couple of Hunts in one day, you’re pretty sure to get at least one solved.
Tim said: ‘It’s just a really active community that enjoys giving advice to each other. It’s a combination of social, in that you can interact with others who have similar tastes and style, and either be helped or help someone, and it’s this utility for finding products to buy and wear.’
Being seen every week on TV show, Made In Chelsea, Rosie, who describes solving someone’s Hunt as being ‘super satisfying’ was approached by Tim and the rest of the team, after they noticed that a lot of users were searching for outfits she’d been seen wearing on the show, but on a smaller budget.
Rosie explained to me that she solved a Hunt for someone who had posted a picture of some ripped jeans that she knew were from Rag & Bone two years ago, so wouldn’t be available any longer. Instead, she directed the user to some River Island jeans that were ‘almost identical’.
She said: ‘The Hunt is really good in that, sometimes, people don’t realise that the item they’ve posted is last season, and that there’s a similar option out there for them. Also, what could be better than a high street option that’s practically identical to a designer piece’
She added: ‘You know as well that when you’re solving people’s hunts, you’re making them really happy. I know that when people have solved mine, I’ve been thrilled. It’s just so satisfying.’
Having seen apps that use algorithms to find similar clothing to an image, such as FindSimilar by Cortexica, I asked Tim why The Hunt is superior.
He replied: ‘If you actually test those apps that use algorithms, the results are really poor. They can usually just tell you the colour, but they can’t show you things that match your body type, or give you a look for less. Ultimately, the picture’s just a starting point.
‘It’s like if you were walking into a stylist’s office, you’d walk in with some pictures of something you want, and the stylist would ask what kind of occasion you’re going to, and things like that, and the end result of that conversation would be what we’re trying to think of the community as. It’s like you’re having a back and forth, and an interaction, and that’s what makes it fun. It’s not just about the products, it’s about the people. This is more than an algorithm, it’s a community and that’s what keeps it engaging.’
The Hunt is free to download to your iPhone, or can be used via the website here.