After receiving a healthy round of investment through Shark Tank Vietnam, RMIT Vietnam alumnus Kinh Van Quan Dao is now working hard to scale her fashion e-commerce startup.
The Bachelor of Communication (Professional Communication) alumnus came up with the idea for Phleek, an app which aims to help women dress better, during her last year at university.
“Phleek does not simply sell clothes using an application; it also provides customers with personal stylists and mix-and-match recommendations,” Ms Dao shared.
New users begin their experience by filling out a profile including body type, style and other preferences.
“We then match them with one of our stylists based on their profile, and then their personal stylist will send them five outfit recommendations weekly,” she explains.
“Customers can browse and purchase their favourite pieces with no styling fee, and all their outfits will be stored on the app as a virtual wardrobe.”
Ms Dao, 21, quit her job at a well-known advertising agency to fully concentrate on developing her business after testing demand and seeing a gap in the market.
“The first year of developing Phleek was really rocky,” she recalled.
“I spent two months looking for angel investors but got none. I worked full-time without pay and spent all my savings setting up the business and hiring staff for a year.”
She then won over two “sharks” during episode 12 of the TV show Shark Tank Vietnam and received three billion VND (roughly US$131,000) in investment, even though her application was still being built at the time.
In an interview with Tuoi Tre newspaper, Mr Pham Thanh Hung, Vice Chairman of the real estate corporation CENGROUP and a “shark” who decided to invest VND2.27 billion in Phleek, shared his confidence in the application.
“I believe Phleek is following the trend of developing information technology on the foundation of technology 4.0. The rapid change of technology has changed customer behaviour dramatically, and fashion is no different,” Mr Hung said in the interview.
“Phleek solves some issues related to user experience by collecting and analysing customers’ information, and then sending them to stylists for consultations and the best mix-and-match for each individual.”
Now in the seed round of improving logistics and operations, Ms Dao is positive about Phleek’s growth.
“We have connected with around 40 brands and have 2000 newsletter subscribers,” she said.
“And hopefully with the investment from the two ‘sharks’ and integration of new technology such as AI, Phleek can take off this year.”
As a professional communication graduate, Ms Dao has had to teach herself finance, human resource management, logistics, operations and more.
“I have to learn from the internet and other people while trying over and over again after making mistakes,” Ms Dao said.
“I believe Phleek is the future of shopping and it’s a smart way to shop, and that it will inspire women to embrace their style and appreciate their unique beauty and personality,” she shared.
Story: Ha Hoang