Daily Dress Me | Create a Community
What started as an idea for herself in high school is now her full time job post grad. Meet Nina, founder of Daily Dress Me - a platform that tells you what to wear based on the weather. With complete organic growth, Daily Dress Me receives 100K+ daily views. I sat down with Nina to get the full scoop on how to create an authentic community and how she’s using the weather as a creative hook to get her users to return everyday.
How does the backend algorithm work?
When you visit the site as a user, we detect your location, fetch your local weather forecast, and then show you five outfits you can wear for the week. Our backend algorithm was built from scratch to power this experience. Daily Dress Me works anywhere in the world, and so we have an outfit suggestion for every possible weather scenario. Essentially, we look at two different weather elements: qualitative (chance of rain, partly cloudy, clear, etc) and quantitative (high and low temperature ranges, humidity, precipitation.)
Very cool. How has Daily Dress Me grown?
All our growth has been completely organic -- I’ve never spent a single dollar on advertising. Search and word of mouth have really gone a long way. If you search for “what to wear based on the weather” (or any similar combination) we are the first result, and if you search for “what to wear” we are on the first page of results. Word of mouth has been big for us too. Our users find us, get excited, share it with their friends, and then come back every day.
What were some of your first thoughts, when it started to pick up in college?
It was all very exciting! At first when I saw our numbers picking up I could barely wrap my head around them. I also knew early on that having a popular website with a ton of traffic is very different than having an engaged userbase. I’ve spent a lot of time engaging with my audience in new and authentic ways in order to get to know them and also foster a sense of community..
Tell me about the Daily Dress Me FB Group.
I started a secret group on Facebook to get all of my most loyal users in one place. It is branded as a “no judgment zone for all your idk what to wear moments” and has quickly evolved into an incredible community of nearly 2500 members, where people chat about style advice and get honest feedback. It has been an incredible way to see my audience literally come to life. I try to keep up and comment on most posts, and I also go in and ask for feedback -- whether it’s about a new feature we’re testing out or a brand we’re considering partnering with.
What inspired you to create the group?
One of the inspiration points was emails from users. I would get emails all the time asking for specific style advice, like “I have a wedding coming up next month in San Diego, do you have any dress recommendations?” I figured it might be interesting if I opened up the dialogue and let the community help each other out. Like crowd sourced advice!
Tell me more about the Affiliate Model and how Daily Dress Me brings in the $$.
In the past year we’ve done over 20 campaigns with various brands and retailers. For affiliate deals, we work through the big networks (Commission Junction, Rakuten, Pepperjam, Shopstyle) and form relationships with the brands. Every brand is a bit different with their exact terms -- commission rates vary anywhere from 2-15%. Above all, it’s extremely important to only work with partners that make sense for your audience.
What sorts of campaigns?
We’ve done a mix of both affiliate campaigns and sponsored campaigns. Beyond working with just fashion brands, we have also tested out a few integrations to enhance your daily morning routine. For example, we did a promo with Lyft to encourage people to take a Lyft for their morning commutes if it was raining. We’ve also promoted healthy, on-the-go breakfast recipes.
Most of our users check Daily Dress Me first thing in the morning, so we are building on this angle. Weather is our hook -- it’s something that you check everyday, so we’re building an engaging and delightful experience around that.
Being an early-stage startup, what does success mean to you?
Every Sunday, I map out my week by thinking of the top three goals I want to accomplish that week. These are essentially sub-goals for my monthly and yearly goals. Then when I wake up on Monday mornings, I’m focused, prepped and ready to tackle the week. I find that if you start with a to-do list it can feel endless, whereas if you set your finish line — the goals — you build momentum and a sense of purpose. I think it’s important to define success in many different ways. It’s also incredibly important to focus on the right milestones. Many early stage startups will focus on vanity metrics and pat themselves on the back, when in reality these aren’t true indicators of success. Press and app downloads (rather than retention or active users) are both examples of this.
What has been your biggest obstacle/challenge?
You are always your biggest challenge. As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for everything. You have control over your startup and the direction you’re going, but in reality you don’t have control over so many factors. There is a lot of self-doubt involved, and dealing with that has been challenging.
Do you think this is what you were meant to do?
I’m very streamlined person. I’m very organized, I love making things quicker and more efficient. That’s the aspect of Daily Dress Me I relate to the most. This idea of streamlining your daily routine is what I’m most passionate about. I am also a big morning person, and think mornings are super important. The average woman spends 16 minutes deciding what to wear. The fact that I’m able to simplify that and expedite it, that’s definitely what I’m meant to be doing.
Is there a right time to launch a business of your own?
The best advice I’ve heard, is you’re never really ready to have a baby. No one ever feels ready. You just have to do it and run with it and you’ll be fine. There’s never going to be a perfect time. It’s like when you are having a difficult conversation, everyone always waits for that perfect moment, when really you have to create that perfect moment.
What does work / life balance mean to you?
I think that during different parts of your life, things will always be balanced differently. People forget that balance can mean different things - it’s not just work and life and they have to be equal. At times your work bubble will be bigger than your life bubble, and that’s fine because that’s your current balance.