Sitting firmly as one of the top fashion technology (FashTech) companies around, Lyst is an online marketplace that allows customers to browse more than 11,000 fashion brands, including some of the biggest names in the industry; Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, and Valentino. Back in 2014, the founder of Lyst said “the web can do phenomenal things and we haven’t even scratched the surface of what it can do within fashion ecommerce. User experiences should no longer be constrained by ideas – and the previous limitations – of retailing operations in the physical space.”
Fast-forward to 2016, and Lyst are continuing to make waves within the fashion world, enabling consumers to shop with an array of fashion brands through one platform, instead of scrolling through each designer or retailer individually on their websites. Customers can expect personalized shopping experiences online and sale/stock alerts through their unique technology – keeping you ahead of the queue for sales on all your favourite brands.
Based within the tech hub of London, Lyst’s data science and analytics teams continually stay on the ball with changing data points, which involves new products, new stock, and new pricing. Their Strategy Manager, Ollie shares insight into working within the strategy team, what this entails and what graduates can expect from working in a fashion technology startup environment.
What department do you work in?
I work within the strategy team. In the short term, we make sense of what's going on, analyse different opportunities within the market, and in the long term, we try to set out the overall direction of the company and work out where we want to be in the next few years.
What's the first thing you do when you get into the office?
Check my emails, check my to-do list from the day before and make a new one for the day.
What would you consider your most important task of the day to be?
There's not much I do the same every day. The most important part of my week is always my 1:1 with my manager - Chief Operating Officer (or COO for short), so my feedback comes right from the top. As a startup, the direction of the business is prone to change and when the COO gives me updates on changes that will influence the business, it can determine how I proceed with my day-to-day tasks.
How do you keep up to date with latest industry news/trends?
We have subscriptions to several fashion and technology sources, including HBR and The Economist for my team. Lyst has a really varied team, so I try to talk to as many people as possible in our own building – finding out about what they do and how we can work together. Working in silos is not my preferred way of producing great work, so the more aware I am of the goings-on in other teams, the better I can do my job.
Could you give us a brief rundown of your daily responsibilities?
I work across a number of different teams to evaluate and launch projects that can grow the company in some way. I will usually have 4-5 projects going on at once and my role is to progress each of them as much as possible every day via internal meetings, research, or analysis.
What’s the last thing you do before you leave the office?
Make sure I haven't left anyone unanswered or urgent tasks undone, then I get ready for the commute home.
What kind of clients do you work with on a regular basis?
I work with a range of technology or fashion clients when we have projects running, either through partnership or outsourcing something their expertise could help us with. For example, if we were thinking about launching into a new international market, we might want to speak to some retail partners there to make sure we would be able to set up efficiently in that market and anticipate any challenges we could face.
What's the best thing about working in a fashion technology environment and what do you enjoy most about the role?
It's a start-up environment and most of the company work across 3 floors in our base in Shoreditch which is great, as everybody knows everyone and things get done very quickly. Being a technology company with no stock means we can change directions quickly and launch new ideas within a short space of time to keep it fresh.
What advice would you give to a graduate looking to launch a career within fashion technology?
There are a lot of great events that go on all the time in London (meetups, talks, discussions) surrounding start-ups, fashion/tech, marketplaces etc., so get yourself to a few of those and start meeting people. Also, do your market research - it can be easy to forget that the work you're doing influences the people you find yourself surrounded by on the tube or at the pub. What do those people look for in a shopping experience? What's missing from e-commerce that would make a difference to them? Having a comprehensive understanding of consumer behaviour is invaluable.