Project September: The Future of E- Commerce

By Alex Smith

It’s been described as Gilt meets Instagram meets Pinterest. About a year ago Alexis Maybank and Leah Park, two of the founding members of Gilt, launched Project September and it’s been changing the world of ecommerce ever since.

“I was searching blindly for items that caught my eye on social media, rarely finding where I could purchase it,” Maybank explained to Elle. “I knew many colleagues, friends, and fashion lovers felt that same frustration so we set out to build Project September, the first entirely visual shopping platform for consumers to browse and purchase directly from photos.”

The app allows users to follow different brands, retailers (Frame and Revolve have garnered huge followings) or even individual people and scroll through their feeds as they would on Instagram or Pinterest. Then, users are able to click images that catch their eye and get direct links that allow them to purchase items in the photos.

“[Project September] takes advantage of the rapidly growing wave of user-generated fashion content to create a beautifully immersive experience that users don’t want to end,” said the app’s financial backer and Venrock Partner Nick Beim in a statement when the app first came out.

That may sound like some good marketing, but from the first time I downloaded the app I was hooked. Scrolling through the feed, I was engrossed by the beautifully colorful images that contribute to the app’s overall alluring aesthetic. It without a doubt ignited my shopping addiction that I actively have to work to suppress. All I could think when I first downloaded this app is about how horrible it would be for my already drained bank account. I was delightfully surprised to find out that that didn’t necessarily have to be the case.

Any user can actually make money by posting their own photos. By posting a photo and tagging the retailer individual users can make 8%-15% commission if their photo sells items. In recent years, Instagram bloggers with large followings that can get paid up to $15,000 to post about brands. But on Project September, no large following is necessary. You get a commission of the profits from any item your photos sell.

Even if you’re not seeking to enter into the world of amateur fashion bloggers, (a world that already has enough white girls with camera phones taking mediocre photos), the app is great for fashion inspiration. How can I stay warm in 15 degree weather and not look like the Pillsbury Doughboy? How can I repurpose my warm weather clothes all year round? And honestly, even if for nothing else, the app is just really pretty to look at.

Courtesy of Elle

Clinton, Leah Melby. “Project September Is the New Side Hustle Fashion Girls Everywhere Are Trying.” ELLE. N.p., 20 June 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.

Zarya, Valentina. “Gilt Co-Founder Alexis Maybank Wants to Disrupt Shopping Again With a New App.” Gilt Co-Founder Alexis Maybank Launches Project September | Fortune.com. Fortune, 20 Apr. 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.


Categories: features

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