Hip web site and email newsletter, Cassandra Daily, features relevant trends and cool social happenings of the day on what’s new and next in lifestyle, fashion, entertainment and technology. Recently, they picked the brain of Sarika Doshi, co-founder and CEO of Rank & Style, the first web and mobile platform of “top ten” lists for fashion and beauty products, targeting female consumers around the world. Here, an insightful Q&A on the other female-focused tech companies she admires and how brands can best use Rank & Style’s lists.
Cassandra Daily: How did you come up with the idea for Rank & Style?
Sarika Doshi: Despite the fact that females account for the majority of online retail sales and spend a significant amount of their time online researching their consumer decisions, there is no objective, technology-driven platform for conclusive, comprehensive, research-based data. In the absence of a structured, methodical tool that cross references related content on multiple websites, women often become overwhelmed and paralyzed by the abundance of choice, delayed by the fractured research process and frustrated by their ultimate purchasing decisions. We founded Rank & Style to address the need for simplified consumer research for buyers of fashion and beauty products and to empower female consumers by providing the first platform of objective, aggregated insights in a space primarily dominated by subjective, editorial and standalone content.
CD: If you had to choose one word or phrase to describe Rank & Style, what would it be?
SD: Discover the best in fashion and beauty: scientifically proven, listfully yours.
CD: How do you define success for your enterprise?
SD: We define success by achieving the following goals:
• Being synonymous with helping consumers have an improved, simplified and less frustrating shopping experience
• Being the ultimate destination for consumer-focused, objective, data-driven fashion- and beauty-related research
• Becoming a conclusive and comprehensive research platform for consumers of fashion, beauty and lifestyle products.
• Being the first to use principles of science and math and apply technology to fashion- and beauty-related content in an effective way that simplifies shopping for our consumers
• Applying the concept of our algorithm and data analysis to other consumer verticals
CD: What is the one thing you wish you knew before you founded Rank & Style?
SD: How important patience is despite our addiction to immediate results these days! It’s important to work hard, be persistent and stay focused, but starting a thoughtful, well-managed business requires patience. We live in a world of immediate results and gratification, and disrupting a crowded space in a lasting, powerful way requires endurance and patience that doesn’t always come naturally to enthusiastic, driven entrepreneurs!
CD: What is the one thing you never want to hear (or, most want to hear) from a customer/user/client?
SD: We are 100% committed to keeping our content (and business) free of our personal opinion, subjective influence or editorial bias. We never want to hear that our customers sense or assume bias in our content. We are committed to maintaining this posture in the commercial and strategic decisions we make as we grow. We most want to hear that our users find our content objective, novel, helpful, trustworthy and relevant and, of course, that they share our love for lists!
CD: What companies (other than your own) are you inspired by, and why?
SD: We are inspired by Consumer Reports, and the positive reputation they have earned as a brand in the consumer research space, and Amazon for being true pioneers in many ways but in particular for introducing and leveraging data in the consumer marketing and retail spaces in an accessible, powerful way. We are also constantly amazed by our fellow female business owners who are doing such interesting and novel things with their audiences and leaving an exciting footprint in the world of entrepreneurship. The ecosystem we exist in of female-owned and focused businesses is truly impressive. Companies like Hukkster, theSkimm, DailyWorth, and LearnVest are also working to simplify and help improve the lives of women and are remarkable innovators that inspire us and for whom we have a lot of respect. We are particularly grateful to pioneers like Gilt Groupe and Rent the Runway for being amongst the first to bring a tech revolution to the fashion space.
CD: Are there opportunities for brands to leverage the influence of Rank & Style? If so, how?
SD: Absolutely, we are really excited by brands and retailers recognizing and embracing the role data can play in terms of understanding and marketing to their target consumers’ wants, needs and behaviors, and our approach is very consistent with this relatively newfound favor for data. We believe there is a real opportunity for brands and retailers to leverage our content to bolster and validate their own marketing efforts with regards to a brand or particular product. We think this type of partnership would be really novel since all of the marketing and editorial efforts they currently have access to are purely subjective at the moment and, as a result, our data-driven, objective insights have the potential to be very impactful.
CD: What’s next for Rank & Style?
SD: In the future, we plan to apply our data-driven, algorithmic approach to consumer research to other verticals, but we are a team of perfectionists and so for now, we are focused on making our fashion and beauty content as powerful and useful to our users as possible before we expand our footprint.
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