Yesterday I was at Hackney House’s Fashion Day and got the chance to see some innovative, independent fashion businesses, all based in Hackney and covering a range of education and training, as well as design, manufacturing and free business support.
What caught my eye was a social shopping network startup called Nuji. Users ‘tag’ pictures of shoes, clothes and accessories they like on to their profiles – a simple white wall. Users can also follow other users with similar tastes and can tag images from their friends’ profiles, as well as directly from any retailer website.
Looking at the site, and judging by that description, you might think as I did, doesn’t it all look and feel a bit like Pinterest? Well, yes, but Nuji incentivises its members with discounts, as users can earn points that go towards discounts at participating retailers – mostly luxury boutique stores.
For every item tagged, a user earns points towards the store the item is from and then at the end of the month, the points are turned into discounts of between 5 and 20%. If someone retags an item from a user, they earn even more points.
Though Pinterest may have already cornered the space for social image tagging (you say pinning, I say tagging, yep, there is probably more social jargon to come) online, I think the rewards system as well as the narrow focus on high-end fashion may set Nuji apart. There could be a market for a niche social fashion, but it’ll just have a lot less users than the big, well-known social networks – it currently has around 20,000 users.
However, Nuji’s future will not be determined by how many users it can get, but by how many of the right fashion-conscious users it can pull in and just as importantly, keep active.
David Brooks, Deputy Special Projects Editor