By @SimonCocking

Maven46  @maven46 is a brand new editorial experience, an interactive fashion and lifestyle magazine that is completely shoppable. Shop our fashion shoots and trend pages. You can see them as an Alpha startup coming at the Web summit

Your background, how did you get into what you do now?

Myself and co-founder Agata Stoinska, have been working in the fashion and publishing industry for over 20 years collectively, and we’ve been working as a creative partnership for over 9 years. We knew that the next progressive step for us was to combine our skills and to create something that we had full authority of.  We also wanted to make a new space for fashion not only in Ireland but globally.

However, we knew that it needed to be something innovative and progressive; the current online market is saturated with fashion and lifestyle content so we needed to have a unique selling point. We also couldn’t understand how online magazines weren’t completely interactive, there was a large disconnect between e-commerce and editorial and why you were not able to buy directly from the pages of the magazines. After a lot of research, we realised there was large gap in the market to expand on this idea and since then we have continually worked on developing the online experience for both the reader and consumer.

Your company, the 1 min pitch, what do you do, and why are you awesome?

Maven46 is a technology enabled curated fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazine featuring shoppable and soon to be personalised content created by industry leaders in our field.

Maven46 gives our readers the unique opportunity to have a 360 degree experience with shoppable, credible and personalized content, video tutorials, and shopping choices based on our soon to be launched big data analytics.

We created this platform to give our readers a unique online experience, whether you are in entertainment mode or in shopping mode, we want to give you a cohesive experience by embedding shopping seamlessly into existing content. We are not seeking to change how online shopping works but aiming to improve on it.  We are currently working on furthering the unique experience by integrating big data analytics into our business. The aim being, that our readers will come to us for daily style inspiration, enriching lifestyle choices and personalized recommendations based on their profile and visual discovery. We will derive big data analytics to capture and engage our readers’ interests so the editorial is more relevant for them.

Automated content generation is taking over the internet but we are looking to bring a human driven experience into a technology enabled magazine. All content is unique and created in-house, sourced from industry professionals.

What are you excited by at the moment?

We have so many developments happening on a daily basis which give us new incentives to push forward, but I think the thing right now that we are most proud of, and of course extremely excited about, is being selected as one of the 2000 start-ups from the 20,000 applications globally to participate in the Class of 2015 Alpha Program in this year’s web summit. To get accepted into such a hugely recognised and competitive program was the best news.  We had worked very hard on our pitch and plans, and it meant that global leaders are also endorsing what we are doing and our plans for merging data with publishing. It is going to provide us with an incredible opportunity to meet with the best tech thinkers in the world and hopefully be the next ‘tech success’ story from Ireland. We all know the infamous Uber story and everyone attending the Alpha Program is no doubt thinking that could be them.

Any of these that will help in your day to day work also / what sort innovations are you looking to introduce?

We are currently co-operating with an IT consultancy to convert the set of identified business requirements for the big data analysis implementation system into the set of technical requirements. Our plan is to implement analytics tools which will be able to conduct some highly targeted campaigns based on advanced segmentation models for individual readers/customers. We will be able to track each and every customer as they move across various channels (mobile, tablet and desktop) and identify their browsing and buying patterns. Essentially maven46 is about understanding each customer as an individual and going that extra mile to make them feel special. Analysing big data can help with uncovering such granular by building useful insights about our customers.

How was the last 12 months for you?

The last twelve months have been a rollercoaster ride for us, we have been moving at such a fast pace with constant improvements, developments and expanding our content. Because aesthetics and the visual appearance of the site is equally as important to us as the functionality, we are in a constant state of flux trying to better each in a simultaneous way. Because we need to engage our reader/customer first with first impressions but we also need them to return due to our enhanced functionality and easy user experience. On top of these, we have content to create, produce, shoot, film and edit and we have a small, hugely motivated team at the moment with all hands on deck.

Once we have additional funding and HR resources, we’ll be in a stronger position to grow much faster.

What are you most happy about?

How much we’ve achieved in such a short space of time, juggling the tech, business development and content, and to be endorsed and accepted into the Alpha Program this year means we might just be doing something right. I am also very proud of the site and how it looks, we have come a long way from how it looked when we first launched and it gets better every day, and with that our traffic and followers are increasing, which means they also like what they see.

Anything you would do differently if you could?

Other than play the lotto a lot more so we could have all the money we needed to create something without limitations, I think being careful with who you align yourself with in the beginning and believing everything developers tell you. It definitely pays to get second opinions on things if it is not your area. There was a lot of time lost in the beginning as we did not have full admin access to our CMS which means our content and upload of content was slow and limited. With our new team of developers, we have full autonomy and control over content and this has improved our workflow significantly.

Where do you hope to be in next 1 – 3 years?

We would love to be financially backed so we can secure our position in the publishing data market, to have a large team of people that can help turn our data into human driven content. To become the Refinery29 of a new generation with the value added benefits of data driven decisions and because the wave of data innovation is only hitting its stride, we intend to continually develop and evolve our business practices to give our readers the ultimate personalised experience. And to be one of the speakers at the web summit as one of their success stories.

Have you been to the Dublin Web Summit before?

No, last year we were preparing to launch the site.

What will you be speaking about when you attend this year / who might it appeal to?

We won’t be speaking but attending as part of the Alpha Program but we are looking forward to listening to so many speakers attending this year. I have no doubt we will come away with even more ideas on how to enhance our business model.

What tech do you wish was already invented and available to make your life easier?

I might have to keep that to myself as we might just do this down the line.

Life / work, online / offline, what are your strategies for managing it?

Although I would like to be able to say delegate, do one thing at a time, try not to micro manage, however, these are all things that just happen organically when you are trying to do so many things in a day. I am however, a strong believer of lists, plans and SWAT analyses. They help with sorting in order of importance and subsequently delegating with specified timelines to follow. It can be hard for us at times juggling as I have a four year son and Agata has two other businesses, but it is important for my son to understand why I am doing this and that he not only has a good understanding of the importance of working hard but that I am hopefully building a legacy for his future. Meditation and yoga is of huge importance to Agata to help deal with the stresses of working in a start-up and I find spending quality time with my son cathartic.

How / where do you create time for yourself to be a dreamer and a thinker?

In the quiet moments – I came up with the idea for maven46 and shoppable content while on the third day of my holidays three years ago, and because I am not a great sleeper I find the night time and any dark quiet time the perfect time for thinking. Sometimes I have to force myself to take time to lie down for 15 minutes in the day so I can quieten the noise of the days’ demands, so that I can think about strategies or ideas that need further thought or solutions. It is so important to make the time to dream because it is in these moments you can think of creative plans that can be developed further.

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