App addiction: shopping with Kwoller
Photography by Nicole McLaren & courtesy of Kwoller
What happens when you combine the swiping functionality of Tinder with the adrenaline rush of getting a really good deal? Shopping addiction, that’s what.
Kwoller co-founders Brian Louko and Tim Bernal realized this when they set out to create the pocket-sized window shopping app. Kwoller feeds a personalized photo stream from your favorite brands—swipe left if you don’t like it, swipe right if you’re in love. Liked items are automatically added to a cart for easy check-out and, unlike Tinder, you don’t have to worry about never hearing from your matches again— you’ll receive a push notification when an item you’ve liked goes on sale. Putting yourself out on a limb has its payoffs though: a match may mean a surprise flash sale pop-up—a perk without the risk of heartbreak.
Louko and Bernal created the app out of love for clean design, simplified search and a streamlined user experience. Following their graduation from Columbia University’s business school, they set out to change the way that commerce was conducted on mobile.
“We wanted to offer shoppers the ability to consume fashion the same way that they consume social media: casually and accessibly,” says Bernal.
“There’s something about the tactile experience of touching something aesthetically pleasing,” adds chief creative officer Noel Tabora. “The ability to physically push away something you don’t like is a powerful component of choice.”
Instead of the four (or more) step process of desktop-shopping on a single brand’s site, Kwoller catalogs multiple brands’ offerings in one place. You can easily filter by type of product or brand, and the algorithm learns your shopping preferences over time, optimizing the best selection for your style. The company has already partnered with many large brands, including Club Monaco, J. Crew, Zara, Urban Outfitters, Nasty Gal, ASOS and Forever 21.
The app made its debut at TechCrunch Disrupt (“the debutante ball for start-ups”) this past spring, with their official public launch on May 6. The team currently works out of the We Work co-working space in lower Manhattan, surrounded by other Columbia business school grads.
“We really benefit from the hardworking energy here,” Louko beams.
In regards to the Silicon Valley versus Silicon Alley debate, the team agrees that New York has been beneficial for the connections in both the tech and fashion industries that are headquartered there.
They’ve already taken the tech world by storm. Have they cracked the code to millennials’ shopping habits?