There is a joy in bringing ideas to life if you do that with love. This is a case study of MySizeFinder – from the idea to going live. You will see everything that happened behind-the-scenes including most of the people involved. Hopefully this will be useful information for people on the sidelines wanting to do something but have not taken the plunge yet. Entrepreneurship is rarely a solo sport and you will notice that as you read the story.
One reason to read the story: What is under the hood is not easily exposed. When you see the app it seems like anyone can do it. That is true in some sense but when you dig deeper, you will notice that the magic is all in the details and execution. It is a long road to bring an idea to life.
Month 1: Genesis and Shaping of the Idea
Kavitha (my wife) has had a long history of coming up with ideas and figuring out quickly why it won’t work and moving on to the next idea. This time was different. The genesis of MySizeFinder was mainly because she hates to try on clothes in stores just to find the right size. Talking to friends, she realized quickly that she is not alone. Lots of women were frustrated with vanity sizing and the only way to solve that was to try those clothes on. Her solutions to start with was to have an iPhone/Android application to help women find clothing that fits (without having to try them on).
This month was all about Kavitha thinking about what the app should do. Her high-level requirements were:
- The app should be able to lookup the right-size across a few hundred brands
- The app should be able to lookup sizes for more than one person – wife, sister, niece, friend etc.
- The size input process has to be simple. It would be awkward ask someone for their measurements. So the other option was to find out what size they wear in a particular brand. The system should be able to translate from that input to sizes for hundreds of other brands.
- The application should be simple to use
- It will be a paid app so that she can use it as a way to raise funds for her favorite charities.
There was a two-page requirements document (more like a wish list) and that was it as far as shaping of the idea was concerned.
Months 2-6: Research on Sizing Charts and App Development
Developing the application on her own was not an option. She is from the banking world (close to nine years with Citibank and Silicon Valley Bank) – so the first thing was to find a development partner. She hired our friends at Mokriya (who were awesome) to help with the development.
What came as a surprise was the unavailability of sizing charts in any one place. Kavitha took it up on herself to get the right sizing charts. But that started dragging the project along. It was not helping. So Sunil (founder and president ) of Mokriya helped us find a free agent called Shahaan in Pakistan. Shahaan helped us by painstakingly researching the right sizing chart for more than 325 supported brands for MySizeFinder.
In parallel, Mokriya team started building the app and Kavitha started testing it.
The user experience was key. Kavitha again hired our friends at Uberflock (who were awesome again) to help with that. Pragathi and Divya simplified the interface to make it dead simple to use. It was easy to get a new person added to the system and lookup their size on one of the 325 supported brands.
The App could have been easily released if Kavitha had decided to go with 100 or so brands but Kavitha insisted that the app should have broad coverage – at least 300 brands. So we had to wait until the research on sizing for these brands were complete.
Month 7: Porting to Android and Tying up the Loose Ends
Mokriya did not want to port the app into Android until the User Interface was completely finalized for the iPhone App. Once that was done, porting was very easy (according to them, of course). Kavitha insisted that both the versions of the app (iPhone and Android) be available at the same time.
Kavitha also started tying up all the loose ends such as:
- Content for the companion website
- What should be there in the “How it Works” section
- What charities to support
- Getting the bank account setup
- Creating the Apple Developer Account
- Signing up for hosting
- Reviewing and approving website designs.
Month 8: Packaging Everything
This was all about creating the accompanying website as a resource center. Uberflock too the lead to create a custom WordPress theme and build the site and an integrated blog to go along with it. They also built a feature where Kavitha could feature various charities that Kavitha wanted to support. Kavitha insisted on WordPress based site so that she can do the updates herself without having to depend on programming help.
Our friends Karen and Dana at ContentRobot helped Kavitha with hosting and setup of the website in a snap.
This was also the period when the app was submitted to Apple for approval. It took about two weeks for the app to be approved. There were no questions asked. Android app approval was easier and Sunil chose to wait until the final days of the launch date to get that posted on Android marketplace.
Month 9: Launch and More.
There are two people who quickly came back with suggestions on positioning of the application – my friends Ted Rubin (now Chief Social Marketing Officer of Collective Bias) and Liz Strauss (co-founder of SOBCon). Thanks to both of them.
Kavitha worked with Dan Janal of PRLeads to draft and send out the press release. Dan was super quick to come up with a catchy press release that got picked up by 50 or more outlets (of various sizes). That one press release created at least five press leads
A few people that Kavitha does not know directly also covered the app by posting quick reviews on their blog. A few of the reviews are here:
- MySizeFinder app attempts to take the guesswork out of clothing sizes (Straight.com)
- Helping women find clothing that fits: MySizeFinder fashion app (FashionNewspaper.com)
- For the Love of Labels that Fit (Divas and Dorks)
- Wondering which size will fit? There’s an app for that (Bay Area Fashionista)
- Digital Dressing | portfolio (mode and the like)
- Fashion Apps: MySizeFinder helps women find clothing that fit (Pepperpot.ca)
Last but not the least, the very first person to buy the app was our friend Maya Bisineer from ThinkMaya – so special thanks to her. Every act of support counts when it is a startup.
There are so many more places where the story will come out in the next few weeks as the writers are exchanging information with Kavitha related to their story angle.
What’s Next and How Can You Help?
Kavitha has so many ideas on the product extensions but her big goal now is to spread the message about the app. You can help by simply choosing to spread the message about the app, posting a quick comment or simply give her your best wishes. Everything counts.