Daniel Jaems and Julian Gregory are the founders of F.TAPE.
What is F.TAPE?
Launched in January 2009 F.TAPE is an Online Fashion Resource created with a view of connecting and showcasing creative talent on a beautiful platform.
We cover several aspects of the fashion industry such as Shows, Models, Photographers, Magazines… and have the largest database of creatives online.
What are your biggest challenges as an Online Fashion Resource?
Many aspects of F.TAPE are unconventional in both front-end and back-end design. This visually allows us to present information in an alternative way and we enjoy the point of difference that it gives to the look of our site. The site is growing rapidly and it is a balancing act between adapting to meet our users behaviour and educating a user to adapt to our way of thinking. A LOT of design goes into our content, which sometimes means that creating content takes a little longer. Our main priority is the user experience therefore the site is constantly evolving. We believe that users are getting tired of websites that are thrown together; so I guess our biggest challenge is a visual one.
F.TAPE is becoming known as a one stop shop for finding talent. What are your plans for expanding the F.TAPE brand?
An F.TAPE strength is in our promotion of students and graduates to industry professionals (ROAR TALENT). Although we are used by many students, we are not a ‘student site’. Our Industry focus keeps our professional audience entertained and ultimately provides better exposure to the students that we promote. The industry do not have time to search through disorganised student-promo sites so we had to design F.TAPE’s ROAR TALENT with a certain gloss.
A real issue for young talent is the cross-over from education to the professional arena. Most courses are not set up to promote industry experience until the final year and for many, there are just not enough connections to make a smooth transition.
For 2010 we are going to extend the power of ROAR TALENT to provide some additional services for our student following, but again, with the focus on the professional arena. Instead of creating a community for students to network we will build tools that will encourage the interaction with established people in the industry. We will also partner with some exciting companies to help extend our platform into the offline environment.
The A-Z LISTING is an amazing tool on F.TAPE with the ability to locate international creatives just by typing a few characters of their name or gliding through 1000’s of names and agencies. We call it ‘Google for the Fashion industry’ . In 2010 we will launch v2 that will push the technology further, quicker and more visually and introduced several tiers of presentation. We are also developing a brand new side to F.TAPE that will involve all the top model agencies in an unprecedented way. This is something we are very excited about.
Will F.TAPE ever do a print magazine?
This is something we are asked constantly! The answer is Yes, and No. We work closely with the leading style magazines and over the last two years we have had an interesting insight into the performance of these titles.
There is a real concern with Online vs. Print at the moment and F.TAPE believe there is definitely room for both. Right now, Online magazines are not good enough. They are duplicates of their printed issue and the revenue models are really going to effect advertising. Volt and V Magazine are two two publications that we would definitely prefer to read the hard copy. The size of the Magazines are the USP that cannot be reproduced online.
F.TAPE would create a visual magazine that supports the website, acting like a promotional tool and ideally free. We deal with many photographers who have beautiful imagery, I think news and articles work effectively online.
How have things changed for FTAPE during the recession?
F.TAPE launched in the height of the recession back in January 2009 so things haven’t changed drastically. The run-up to the launch was quite daunting as we spent just under 2 years developing the website (and our business plan) which is very layered. It was scary mapping out 4 years ahead knowing that the effects of a recession were going to be around for at least 2 years.
We are privately funded so it was a case of creating a realistic timeframe for when we will roll out all the segments of what F.TAPE will be.
For more information please contact F.TAPE.