Sydney fashion startup Mys Tyler has bagged $1 million in seed funding to build out its platform revolutionising the way women shop online, with a focus on inclusion and body positivity.
Founded in 2020 through the Antler startup generator program, Mys Tyler is a marketplace designed to help women find their ‘body double’ for fashion inspiration.
Women enter personal details such as their height, dress size and bra size, and are matched with fashion-savvy contributors who look similar to them. It means they can get a better sense of what an item will look like on them, personally.
If the items are still available for sale, users can click through to purchase. Mys Tyler takes a commission on sales, with 80% of that going to the contributor.
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Founder Sarah Neill set out to address inefficiencies in online shopping, she tells SmartCompany.
When people buy clothes online, more than 90% of items are not a satisfactory fit, Neill explains. Return rates are between 30% and 40%.
“It’s a really high return rate, which is costing the industry a fortune,” she says.
“But it also means we have all this stuff in our wardrobes that isn’t quite right, that we didn’t return.”
Now, the app has been downloaded 83,000 times, and it already has a global presence. About 32% of users are in the US, 23% are in Australia, 20% are in the UK.
This funding will be used to improve the app’s existing content, and to build out a range of new features.
But it also allows Neil herself to double down and focus on building the business. She has about 12 months’ runway now, she says, ahead of a planned Series A next year.
There’s a huge opportunity here, she says. She feels she’s tapped into something that’s been missing in e-commerce, and something that is needed.
“If we don’t put the money behind it and invest in it properly, we’re just not going to do it justice.”
“Why would you shop another way?”
While Neill set out to solve the problem of fit, the app is also serving to boost some users’ body positivity. In a recent survey, some 43% of Mys Tyler users said they feel more body confident since using the app.
Neill confesses that she personally is “not a good shopper”.
She doesn’t consider herself to be a particularly fashionable person.
“But I still have to get dressed everyday … and when I feel comfortable in what I’m wearing I feel more confident.”
She came up with the idea for Mys Tyler because she wanted to find someone who looked like her, but who was more fashionable, who she could copy.
Most women don’t see themselves represented in the fashion industry. To see someone who looks just like you, looking fabulous and confident in their style and their skin, can be powerful, Neill explains.
“I would love to say we went out there to solve body positivity,” she laughs.
“But it’s been a really amazing byproduct that has become the more powerful part of Mys Tyler.
“Now that’s a stronger part of our mission.”
As a platform, Mys Tyler is able to showcase fashion on diverse bodies in a way that brands struggle to. Even if a brand has plus-size models, for example, they can still only show a limited number of plus-sized body shapes, and there’s no guarantee for the consumer that the product will look good on them.
“Women are diverse. We’re tall and we’re short and different sizes and shapes,” Neill says.
“Because we’re crowdsourcing, we’re able to do that at scale.”
Ultimately, the founder wants Mys Tyler to be not only a household name, but the first port of call for women restocking their wardrobes.
Eventually, users will be able to filter by price, occasion, season and more, receiving only options that match their body type, style and budget, she says.
“Why would you shop another way?”