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Career Girl: Tagwalk Founder Alexandra Van Houtte

Career Girl: Tagwalk Founder Alexandra Van Houtte

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The founder of Tagwalk, fashion’s NEW search engine, talks about swapping fashion styling for entrepreneurship, and the LESSONS learnt from launching her own start-up.

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Fashion and styling assistants everywhere are all too familiar with the struggles of manually sourcing clothing images for photoshoot. Hours upon hours are spent browsing catwalk sites, searching for the elusive pastel pink embellished coat you could have sworn you saw at Gucci, but maybe it was another show. Enter Alexandra Van Houtte, the 27-year old Parisian fashion stylist who saw a problem with an easy tech solution. “After spending approximately five years pulling my hair searching for clothes for photoshoots, I saw the digital evolution happening around me and within me,” and yet, there was no effective categorisation of designers, fashion weeks, and collections. Fashion may always run a season ahead, but innovation is lacking. And so, Tagwalk was born, the Google of fashion. Every single look for womenswear, menswear, accessories, models and street style, is manually tagged, allowing the user to search keywords for themes, colours, prints…you name it. “You can also create mood boards,” Alexandra explains. “All of your selections are in the same folder, which you can then print or save directly as PDF.” Voilà, the lengthy hours spent manually going through every collection are reduced to mere minutes.

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Career Girl: Tagwalk Founder Alexandra Van Houtte
Career Girl: Tagwalk Founder Alexandra Van Houtte

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So why take the risk of creating a start-up? “My frustration is really what made Tagwalk come to life.” Research was so time-consuming it became less thorough, and many of the smaller designers were ignored. It took eight months to turn the website into what it is today, while juggling between taking as much advice as she could, and following her intuition. “I got very muddled up at the beginning of Tagwalk, I was listening to too many people, too many opinions and I got completely lost.” In a world of tech, most of her tasks are non-fashion related, and yet it is working with new designers and new opinions that Alexandra enjoys the most. But the new is also an essential part to the evolution of the business. “Outsiders keep us on our toes,” and interviews and constant conversations with designers help the website evolve with the consumer.

Transitioning from fashion to the tech industry means a steep learning curve. While raising funds often portrays a company as successful, “if you don’t need to raise funds don’t do it” she advises. “Choose investors that will accompany you, help you, guide you and who really believe in you – it’s not ‘cool’ to raise funds, only raise if you know why you need it and how you will use it.” Alexandra was lucky to have a conviction for the project; Tagwalk was created as a tool to solve a problem of efficiency and time-management, serving as an assistant of sorts. “Psychologically if you do not believe 100 % in your project, then you won’t have the strength to fight” she says. It’s always the best ones who do.

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Career Girl: Tagwalk Founder Alexandra Van Houtten

Images via The Coveteur

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