A LaunchTN Portfolio Company: Couture Technologies, a software development company for the retail industry, exists to help apparel brands embrace the digital revolution and change consumer behaviors in ways that allow them to not only survive, but thrive. For this unique organization’s team members, Couture exists to provide bright minds with the opportunity to work together in building tools that solve complex business and technological challenges that have the potential to change the way entire industries operate.
Based out of Gallatin, Tennessee, Couture is revolutionizing retail by developing software solutions to solve the most pressing challenges in retail, with a current focus on the fashion industry.
We caught up with the team (CEO Deanna Meador, COO Danny Pippin, and CTO Marcelino Rodriguez Cancio) to hear about their vision, mission, and favorite local businesses in Middle Tennessee.
What do you plan to achieve with your LaunchTN funding?
At Couture, we are so excited to have received support from LaunchTN. As we have exited our stealth R&D cocoon and our solutions are out into the market, we are using funds from LaunchTN to cut costs and speed up the development of new machine learning models. We are also using the funds to leverage the amazing talent at Vanderbilt’s Data Science Institute.
How did you hear about the LaunchTN funding program/grant?
Shawn Glinter made us aware of the opportunity.
What inspired you to start your business?
Couture’s founders met when they worked on a project together to develop a technology to help turn a non-revenue generating department within a large, fast fashion company into a revenue generator. It was through that experience they realized all the disruptions coming in the apparel industry and how as e-commerce grows, solutions would be needed to enhance the online shopping experience and enable customers to find their perfect fit. We also wanted to build a people-first company that empowers its employees to own their domains and stretch their skills to bring innovative ideas to life in ways that change the state of the art.
What need is your business currently solving or seeking to address?
High rates of returns and challenges for apparel customers to get the right fit for their bodies. As e-commerce becomes a rising force in the apparel landscape, it faces a major, costly challenge: online purchases are subject to a much higher rate of returns (30-50%) compared to the rate for items purchased in-store (8.9%). Clothing is returned three times more often than the next two closest categories- electronics and shoes. Retail customers cite sizing and fit issues as the top reasons for returning items. Last year, these returns cost U.S. apparel brands more than $100B dollars, roughly one-third of their total revenue (including brick and mortar sales).
Couture Technologies has developed a sophisticated technology suite to enable apparel companies to deliver personalized fit and sizing visualizations that allow their customers to get the ideal fit for them the first time.
For workwear and uniform companies, fittings often take an average of 20 minutes per employee and cost thousands of dollars. Couture is able to cut this down by 80-90%. A poor uniform fit can stifle an employee’s confidence and unlike consumer apparel, often has to be worn every day.
Describe your company in 3 words?
Innovative Virtual Try-On.
Your favorite local business, restaurant in your city?
From Deanna (CEO): My favorite restaurant in my hometown of Gallatin is Garcia’s. In Nashville, we’re huge fans of Kay Bob’s. We think the Nashville Fashion Week team is amazing, and we love the innovative workwear produced by Nashville-based Workwear Outfitters.
Anything else you think we should know?
Couture was one of the Top 9 tech startups during the 2020 Collision Conference, which is known as the Olympics of Tech. We received a Phase I NSF grant.
Date founded: 2019
Company based in: Gallatin, TN
Capital raised: $356,000 in SBIR/STTR Grant + LaunchTN SBIR Matching Funds
You can check out the innovative offerings of Couture Technologies and view demos at: http://couturetech.io